This all started on Christmas day 2013 at my friend Meera’s house. I decided to spend my winter break hanging out in Berkeley, and I went on a run with Meera, a chemistry graduate student, on December 24. We came back sweaty and famished, and as we were preparing some food to eat I discovered the Jerusalem cookbook at her house. As we were fawning over the cookbook in her kitchen, I serendipitously got invited to a Mediterranean feast by her roommate for Christmas day. Her roommate Jackie prepared an amazing feast of dolmas made from scratch from her Lebanese grandmother’s recipe accompanied by some delicious mezzes from Jerusalem. Having never made such fancy food before I was super impressed and everything was amazingly mouthwatering. Later that week, Meera and I spontaneously decided to cook some recipes from Jerusalem around 6pm. We quickly found some recipes that sounded delicious, snapped some photos of the ingredients list, and headed to Berkeley bowl before it closed at 8pm. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into! We had chosen to last minute cook and find ingredients for four complicated recipes, two of which included breaking down enormous butternut squashes on a sunday night. We ended up finishing our feast at 10:30pm on Sunday night and taking most of the food home as left overs. However, the food was amazing and I couldn’t get the book out of my head. Later in the week I went to a potluck birthday party at my friend Rachel’s house, a microbial ecology grad student, and discovered the book Plenty. I soon returned home, bought Plenty and Jerusalem, and embarked on the task of cooking my way through these delicious and amazing books.