My ex-boyfriend Spencer was the first guy I ever dated that cooked me dinner, a revelatory sundried tomato pesto pasta that made me realize that there are few nicer things in the world that a good-looking guy making you a delicious meal. He’s a terrific vegetarian and vegan cook, one who regularly bamboozled me into being happily sated without any meat whatsoever (no small feat). He grows much of his own produce in a community garden and is really committed to healthy, locavore, minimal-impact living in a way that I deeply admire. Well, most of the time. Actually, it really got on my nerves that he refused to use the air conditioning in his car. And I felt pretty lousy about myself when I would just be waking up and he would have already biked forty-six miles and cooked an entire batch of buckwheat pancakes made from flour he ground himself that morning. I joke. Sorta. But at any rate, a few years ago Spencer sent around a cookbook that he had compiled of his best recipes and holy shit have I used it a lot. He has a great knack for punchy spice combinations and making ho-hum vegetables into something sublime. He now has a blog, the aptly named Spice Island, which you should visit if you are in a dinner slump. Bonus points: he’s funny and has excellent politics. Can you believe I let him get away?