Briefly: I post about which cookbooks yield tasty food, and which don’t. I’ll post at least three recipes from each book and whether they were successes, failures, or required adaption.
What you’ll find here: I love to bake, but a person can’t survive on bread and chocolate. I like all food, as long as it tastes good. Comfort food, Thai, Indian, Italian, French, Burmese, Vegetarian, Allergy-sensitive – I cook it all and I make it from scratch.
Details: I grew up with two parents who are amazing cooks. They made family meals from scratch a priority, sometimes trying new recipes they’d found in Gourmet (back when it was a great magazine), other times referring to dependable classics from Julia and Fannie Farmer. As a result of their influence, I’ve been clipping interesting recipes and stockpiling intriguing cookbooks for years. One of the coolest moments of my life was receiving the complete set of “Modernist Cuisine” for my birthday. Honestly, that moment might have been more exciting than getting my PhD.
If it weren’t for the local bakery telling me they didn’t have an opening when I applied as a teenager, I probably would have wound up a baker, not a chemist. I love cooking, especially new dishes. I am happiest cooking for a group of friends, and people keep coming over and asking for recipes, so I must be doing something right. My boyfriend has been urging me to start a cooking blog for years. In grad school, I was too embarrassed by my kitchen to take any photos in it. As a postdoc, I was too embarrassed by my food photography. It hasn’t gotten any better, but my kitchen has gotten a lot nicer, and practice always helps.
At last count, I had over 600 cookbooks, which is excessive for someone who cooks as a hobby. They range from oddball cookbooks to classic favorites, from celeb vehicles to early 1900s editions, from hard-to-find Australian to haute cuisine. It is so satisfying to try a new recipe and discover it turns out perfectly. Sadly, this is not often the case. I often find myself frustrated with reviews when deciding on a new cookbook to buy, because the reviewer talks about everything but how the food actually turns out. I like pretty pictures and relate-able storytelling as much as the next person, but I don’t buy cookbooks solely to adorn my bookshelves. I buy them because I like to eat delicious food and I (generally) would prefer to cook it for myself than pay someone else to make it for me. The idea behind this blog is to share which of those cookbooks are worth using, and which are destined to be given away. To make a fair judgement call, I will cook at least three recipes from each of the cookbooks I own and post about them here. I’ve written a few cookbook reviews on Amazon with this idea in mind, and people commented that they wished more reviews were like mine. So, here we are…