One of the first things to grace the doorstep of our new apartment was this amazing housewarming gift from my wonderful mother, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I wasn’t expecting it – my mom can be great at keeping a secret when she wants to and she has a knack for picking out presents I never knew I wanted until I get them, and then wonder why I hadn’t wanted them before.

When the package showed up I tore off the paper, with more gusto than I would have had I known the contents, and caught my breath.  Both the boy and I love to cook and I have a weakness for baking. I am an extreme romantic with a deep appreciation of traditions, warm cookies, an overstuffed chair and an epic cookbook… well, I am now a lover of epic cookbooks, I just hadn’t known that yet. I promptly watched the movie Julie & Julia again, anticipating giddily the moment when Meryl Streep would hold up the copy of the cookbook at the very end – it looked just like mine. And now the question is, what to make first? I’ve decided on the “Reine de Saba,” a chocolate almond cake.

Thank you mom