June 21, 2009

My Cookbook Philosophy

Hey Kitt, you're thinking, why don't you just crack open a cookbook and stop taking up space in the blogosphere with your "learning?" Well, reader, that's a good point. But you're assuming that I have the attention span and the respect for authority necessary to use a cookbook.

I own three cookbooks, all given to me by my grandmother (a woman who believes firmly in butter) when I moved into my first apartment in September. Ready?

Everyday Cooking with Jacques Pepin, a nod to the years of French class our family has endured. Aside from being just absolutely cute as a button, Ol' Jacques shares dishes like "Sautéed Whiting Grenoble Style," a title that makes my brain wander off to visit Jonathan Papelbon before I can even turn to the recipe.

The Colorado Cache Cookbook, a nod to the years my parents spent living in Colorado (Go Buffs!). Features recipes like "Potato Chip Cookies." Damn hippies.

And, finally, the 1979 Dorcas Cookbook, a nod to the years my grandmother spent as a dorm mother at Westover. Features such gems as "Saucy Carrots and Celery." I've never met a saucy carrot, but I can dream, can't I?

Basically, my experience with cookbooks and recipes has been this: no matter how good the recipe looks, I always change something. This is not because I think I know more than Jacques Pepin or Bobby Flay (whose Jicama Slaw I corrupted tonight), but because I am slightly too lazy to trot over to the cookbook (or computer) to double check that it was, indeed, one tablespoon of cinnamon and not one teaspoon that the recipe called for.

My advice? Buy a cookbook or two that you skim for ideas. But if you never alter the recipes, never make them your own, you'll never remember them.

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