Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner Talk Favorite Cookbooks and Baking Bad Brownies for Nora Ephron
It's hard to imagine that the outspoken feminist and "Girls" star ever felt she wasn't able to express herself, but in her bestselling book of personal essays, "Not That Kind of Girl" she revealed that she struggled with severe anxiety over her diet and body image. In the magazine's new issue, shipping today, she shares what she keeps stocked in her fridge, an epic kitchen failure, and her favorite cookbooks.
"I drink so much, I do pee all day long. And I order like six beverages at a meal. And then we have pears and Babybel cheese and salami. That's the fridge," she tells Cherry Bombe. "I eat like a 3 year old — a not-super-advanced three-year-old. Jenni is always like, 'Come over. I made chicken fingers and quesadillas for the kids.'" It's Konner who has more culinary interest and expertise: "I started collecting cookbooks probably 20 years ago. I read them like they’re novels. I always have. They relax me."
Both women are huge fans of the cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin, a Los Angeles chef with a charity project the girls support called L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, which helps raise funds to fight children's cancer. Konner also loves "A Platter of Figs" by David Tanis: "I learned to cook by reading books like this one. We entertain most Sundays and these recipes are great for group meals. I always thought lasagna was basic and collegiate until I tried his green lasagna."
Other books in Konner's large collection include "The River Cafe Cookbook," and "anything Ina" (Garten, that is).
Dunham's favorite food tomes include "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey (Dunham calls her a "culinary legend," and her actress daughter Sakina Jaffrey has appeared on "Girls"), "The Real Food Daily Cookbook" by Ann Gentry (when Dunham was a vegan back in high school she was "obsessed" with this cookbook and begged her parents to take her to L.A. to visit the restaurant), and Gluten-Free Girl American Classics Reinvented by Shauna James Ahern (she loves Ahern's blog and helped the Kickstarter campaign her Gluten-Free Girl product line).
Then there's the time Dunham attempted to make a batch of black-bean brownies for Nora Ephron's Thanksgiving dinner inspired by a recipe on Heidi Swanson's blog. (Swanson also wrote "Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel.") They were a disaster, and Ephron hid them away while telling Dunham, "This is gonna be a really good story someday."
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Photo Credit: Vogue/Cherry BombeGetty, Knopf, Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt