Food for Thought

Lately, I’ve been doing recipe reviews to expand my own culinary skills and to share my mistakes with others, thus hopefully preventing them from repeating my errors. It’s almost a public service! I mean, not really, but I am feeling a little self-aggrandizing. This week, I do not have any recipe review, though, because I have spent the past week and a half getting pizza so I can cook Thanksgiving food, then making Thanksgiving food, then eating Thanksgiving food, and then shot-gunning salad to make up for the fact that everything I’d eaten for a week had been doused in butter (yeah, I know, I can’t believe I’m complaining about it, either).

Today, instead of being consistent within this weekly post, I will be consistent between two posts. On Wednesday, I wrote about making time for reading, even when working in a super reading heavy field. I argued that the value of making time for reading for pleasure is that it can introduce new perspectives and ideas.  To some extent, I wonder how that same idea can be applied to the kitchen.

A few years ago, I picked up the most excellent cookbook, the Veganomicon. My copy is now both destroyed and replaced thanks to some aggressive use and a lack of spatial awareness when moving cake batter from one corner of the kitchen to another. As much as I like the recipes on that book, what I really loved the most was reading about the how-to in the introduction. The book covered everything from cooking tips to food tips, and it was a joy to learn about technique and new foods.

Normally, I am not one to sit down and just read a cookbook, something that I’ve ever heard or read of real chefs doing. I am not sure why it does not appeal to me. There is something poetic in the way the ingredients are listed and then synthesized in short, quick directions, and I really like poetry. There is something delicious of lists of food ““ they capture the imagination and sometimes when I dream of pecan pie, I can almost taste it.

I have not enjoyed it when authors include recipes in works of fiction. I am not sure why, but perhaps because I hate the weird disconnect between a story that isn’t true but speaks to things that are and a recipe that is true but doesn’t necessarily speak to much. I do not think that I will be seeking out any fiction with recipes, but I do think it could be fun to try out reading some cookbooks, or even books about cooking. Perhaps it will provide me with the inspiration I need to make some magic happen in the kitchen.

How about you? Do you read cookbooks? If so, which ones?

4 replies on “Food for Thought”

Have you read Like Water For Chocolate? Fiction with recipes. But the recipes matter to the plot. I, too, love reading recipes, there’s so much “scope for imagination” in them. As soon as I read a new recipe, I’m going “But what if I did…” When it comes to food, I have to play with it!

I don’t read physical cookbooks, but I love to skim food blogs & online recipe repositories like,, etc. I think that the write ups that go with the recipes on blogs & food sites are really fun & insightful. Also, most of these sites are free, so I can browse them to my heart’s content.

Speaking of the Veganomicon, Terry Hope Romero’s blog, is probably one of my favorites. I want to revert back to vegetarianism (maybe even transition to veganism), so I’ve been visiting her site for inspiration for the last few months.

Yes! I totally read cookbooks, especially when I’m stressed. I love Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks — she really has a way to describe food and I love how she is very, “Oh, do this if you like, but you can also do this!” I really love the cookbook Plenty, which is vegetarian, and it’s GORGEOUS! And don’t even get me started on Smitten Kitchen! :)

Leave a Reply