The Art of Eating In, by Cathy Erway is an autoblogography set in print. What I mean by that is that Erway's blog about not eating out in New York landed her a book deal about her life. Erway commits to not going to restaurants for food for a year (a very tough thing to do in a city that accommodates every diet and taste imaginable), and chronicles her experiences along the way. But don't expect the book to be like the blog, because it's much more personal with far fewer recipes (sadly!). The parts I really enjoyed were about her adventures with the Freegans, learning how to forage for food in NY's parks, sustainable dining, and the "underground" supper clubs. I also liked reading about her eating experiences with her family.
It was sad to read of her relationship challenges, especially the one fellow who didn't support her not eating out habit. But, she's better for it. I think it could have been somewhat shorter and included less of the minutia of her life (I ended up skipping over those portions when they appeared because I preferred the parts listed above). However, the majority of the book is carefully written and demonstrates that anyone can make these changes.
Since 2006, John and I have been saving money by limiting the number of times we eat out per month. It's not that big of a sacrifice, especially if you love to cook (and have dietary restrictions). It just requires a little planning and time management. Since I volunteer at a local co-op, I also have access to very fresh, organic foods on a regular basis. Along with the economic savings, the results have included spending more time exploring all my cookbooks, improving our cooking techniques, having more meaningful dining experiences, and savoring the times when we do eat out.
I was disappointed by how few recipes there were in Erway's book, but I did make an altered go of her Peppercorn, Potato, and Parmesan No-Knead Bread (sans cheese). The resulting bread was way too peppery for all the folks who tried it, but I would definitely try the core recipe again, perhaps with herbs. A short video of my experience follows.