Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cook A Book–Introduction

DSC_9746 -1BWNoise

How many cooking books do you have?

My view on this is:

  • 0 – 5 – Some of your friends don’t really know you very well, do they? Otherwise they wouldn’t give you cooking books as a present. Or maybe they don’t cook themselves and needed to get rid of some cooking books they got as a present? I assume you see boiling an egg as cooking?
  • 6 – 10 – Your mother served home cooked meals. You see cooking as a necessary chore. Sometimes you enjoy cooking for others.
  • more than 10 – you are on the way to become a foodie. You watch cooking shows on TV. You might even own a proper chef knife.
  • More than 20 – I don’t believe you when you say you cook every night. I think you are addicted to colourful pictures of food. We call this Food Porn.

This is by far not scientific and probably not even realistic. I own over 40 cooking books. I stopped counting at 40 and I didn’t even count my bread making books.  I rest my case.

How much do you use your cooking books?

What’s your guess? How many recipes do you do out of a cooking book. Grab your favourite one or even the one you think you use most. Count all the recipes. Now go through it and count the ones you made at least once. I just got Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy off the shelf. It has just over 100 recipes. How many did I ever make from them? Take guess….. Four! And I honestly can’t name a cooking book where I think I get a better result. I find that sad. What a waste of resources. Here I have thousands of great recipes on my shelf and I don’t use them. They must be great recipes because there is a reason why I bought every single book. What do you guess? How many books do we have on our shelves we never made even one recipe from them?

That has to change. Hence I set myself a challenge. The  ….

Cook-A-Book Challenge

So that’s the idea: I chose one cookbook from my vast collection. I count the recipes in them and I set myself a goal. First I thought I will do every single recipe in the book. But I have one factor in my life which is a bit a limitation: I live with a vegetarian. No meat, poultry or fish. Which doesn’t mean I won’t do any meat recipes. I have done so in the past. But I always make sure that the side dishes are good enough to make a meal for a vegetarian eater. Some recipes in some books will not provide this opportunity. I might have to skip those.

I will then write about my experiences and adventures. I will not post the recipes. If you want to cook the recipe, get the book. I think it would be unfair to post a big number of recipes from a cook book online. The author has to live from something. We have great public libraries which have a huge pile of cooking books. That’s where I got a lot of my cook books from. Then I bought the ones I liked. A great way to test before you buy.

I will not set myself a timeframe. This has several reasons. First of all I don’t want to put myself under pressure. Cooking is fun and should be enjoyed. I also fear I would fail if I say for example I do 80% of Jamie’s Italy in 3 months. No time pressure. The other reason is that I don’t want to cook anything which is out of season.  Some recipes will have to wait until i.e. asparagus is available.

I will put the statistics into the header of each report. When I started with the book, how many recipes I have done etc.

Recipes I have done already before the challenge will not count against the actual percentage. I will have to do them again.

So these are the rules I set myself.  Let’s see how I do.