Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Oh, Joy. Oh, Rapture.

My one man shopping tour de force continues unabated.

Today, during my lunch break, I purchased something I have always wanted!

The Cooking bible, The Joy of Cooking - 75th Anniversary Edition. I needed a good cooking resource, one that explains that cumin and cardamon are different spices. Now, cumin and coriander ... I'm not so sure.

Over my Xmas visit with the fam, we were talking about cooking. My mother didn't know how to cook when she married my dad. She bought (or was given?) the red and white checked Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. She only made recipes from that book, following them exactly. Only later did she realize that she could reduce measurements to make smaller serving sizes. Poor Dad having to eat a week of Spaghetti - serves 8!

40+ years later, Mom still has that cookbook in her kitchen, and she still follows recipes to the letter (although she does know how to reduce the measurements now). I remember watching her make cookies awhile back. The recipe said it made 4 dozen cookies. So, she before spooning the batter into balls, she took the batter and divided it into 48 equal parts.

"Don't you think that's a little weird," I asked.

"What's weird," she responded.


I, on the otherhand, am a bit of a freehand cook. I like to substitute and make up recipes in my head. Of course, this usually means I have problems recreating dishes that I like. It's also one of the reasons I don't enjoy baking: It's too precise.

Now, at least, I'll have a reference when I need it. YAY!


  1. I cook the same way you do ... creatively ... with added flourishes, substitutions, and improvisation. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they are spectacular failures.

    I collect cookbooks and one thing I love to do is curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, and read them. I've been doing this since I was a little kid (well, not the wine part). I'm probably the only eight year old who used to enjoy reading recipes.

  2. Some shows on TV (I used to watch PBS, no cable) were very good. After watching them for a while you also get a sense of how to improvise and substitute things. Love cooking!

  3. cakes are one of the things that are very difficult to play around with if one doesn't know what they're doing.

    however, everything else is up for alteration, adding, taking away, substituting, and other fun things. recipe books are good for basics and for getting recipes as a base for what ends up being cooked. :)

    i have an absolutely wonderful vegetarian cook book that talks about nutrition of various veg, grains and such was well as herbs and spices. it totally rocks and is where i've gotten several yummy recipes.

    speaking of recipes, have you found the veggie burger recipe i sent you? we still haven't found our copy and we'll be going mostly vegetarian again soon.

  4. cooper: I was totally reading Joy last night with a glass of wine. So much fun!

    bala wala shi: I loved PBS cooking shows, especially The Frugal Gourmet and Nathalie Dupree's Kitchen.

    dykewife: I'm pretty sure I have the recipe shoved in a cookbook somewhere. I look when I get home tonight.

  5. That totally is the cooking bible and I'm SO glad you now own a copy!

  6. Honey, cumin and coriander are different. Coriander and cilantro are different parts of the same plant, both used in cooking. You'll be fine.