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?