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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Cooking While You Surf

Heidi Swanson, Muir ’95


When you own over 100 cookbooks, it is time to stop buying, and start cooking. That’s what Heidi Swanson, Muir ’95, realized when she launched 101cookbooks.com, a website that chronicles her cookbook collection, one recipe at a time.

Besides keeping track of recipes, Swanson says she started the cooking diary to experiment with new techniques, explore unfamiliar ingredients, document successes and failures and inspire other cooks to do the same.

The site, which she envisioned as more of a personal notebook than a public forum, now receives about 2 million hits per month. 101cookbooks also won the 2005 people’s choice award for best personal web site and the 2007 award for Food Blog of the Year.

“I write about the recipes that intersect my life, my travels, and my everyday interests,” says Swanson. “Often they are from my cookbook collection, sometimes not. They might come from a friend or family member, or I might write about a recipe I created myself.”

Her food blog is breezy and informal, covering everything from veggie burgers to purple jasmine coconut rice and home­made, thin-mint cookies. Swanson is a strict vegetarian but her recipes often showcase Mediterranean favorites, using pastas, beans, eggs, whole grains and the produce she picks up at her local farmer’s market.
In addition to blogging, Swanson ­recently wrote her own cookbook, Supernatural Cooking, which encourages readers to ditch processed ingredients for more “natural” foods. Through tips on assembling a natural pantry, embracing grains and cooking with attention to color and super-foods, she opens up the possibility for eating healthy—and doing so in style.

And that is what she also hopes 101cookbooks will encourage people to do. Eat healthy, and do it in style.
—Serena Renner, ’08


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