Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Veering Off in a New Direction for a Month or Two or....

When I first began this blog 2 years ago, I had infant twins and a two-year-old. I was fully committed to feeding my little family healthy food within a realistic time and budget constraint. I was frustrated with the lack of realism in some blogs and cookbooks I'd consulted: costly ingredients, ridiculous lengths to disguise veggies, extreme health food ingredients, etc. So, I decided to start cataloging my own favorite recipes (and those of my family) in one place and just did it in blog form so others could benefit. Lots of people asked me for my recipes when I brought stuff to pot luck dinners or had people in my home. The blog was an easy way for me to post the requested recipe and then whoever wanted it could access it whenever they wanted to.

My life is very different now than it was then in some key areas. Number One: I have twin two-year-olds and a four-year-old. I thought I was busy THEN. It was nothing compared to the need for Mommy NOW. Oh, for those multiple naps during a day! Oh, for the lack of mobility that has since been acquired in abundance. Oh, for those nonverbal days. I don't really want to go back, but the development of my children into the exuberant, charming, very verbal children they are today demands much more Mommy time and interventionthan I used to need to give.

Number Two: I was introduced to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I own the 10th anniversary edition and always specify that because it's different than the original (not necessarily better--I don't really know). At any rate, Bittman's approach has freed me up from having to consult a specific recipe, plan specific meals, and create a specific grocery list. Before I "met" him, I'd been influenced positively by Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner program. Following that for a bit freed me up from the labor-intensive side dishes I'd been trying to create every night in addition to a main course. She recommends such easy things as steamed broccoli, baked sweet potatoes, etc. So, in the past year or so, I've relied less and less on my more traditional cookbooks for my daily cooking and am sort of "going with it" more and more. What's on sale? What do I have leftover that we need to eat up? What is the garden suddenly producing in abundance that we need to eat? Then, I look to Bittman's book and/or tried and true recipes already on this blog and go from there. Our food is tasty, easily obtainable, straightforward to cook, and is perfect for nightly family fare. When I entertain, I sometimes look to my other favorites (America's Test Kitchen Family Favorites and others like it) for a specific recipe/feel that I want to create.

All that to say, I'm veering off in a different direction from my original purpose in cataloging recipes that I wanted to have at my disposal. In an effort to streamline my cooking/baking/etc., I've challenged myself to stick with my How to Cook Everything cookbook, my Fannie Farmer cookbook in a pinch, and this blog (where I already have so many favorites stored!). So, I won't be adding tons of new recipes in the coming weeks. Sorry, folks. Bittman's recipes are simply too wordy to copy all of them out; besides I have issues with copyright requirements (something like 10% or so can be copied for personal uses and such). So, I can't put everything from that cookbook on here :).

What's the new direction? I'm going to keep a running tally of the Bittman recipes I've tried as well as some from my other favorite cookbooks and rate them. If you are ever interested in trying out one of these cookbooks, then you'll have a good place from which to start--a good recipe or two that someone out there has already tried, fed her family, and called a success. Why do I recommend cookbooks when so many people use the internet? The internet is a great place to get a recipe from. However, the printed pages start creating clutter AND staring a computer screen is NOT very interactive in terms of being with the family. You can sit down on a couch or wander outside with your kids and bring a cookbook with you to browse.

In the meantime, if you still want recipes tied to the internet, feel free to browse around on this blog for some recipes that might be new to you. I've added a search feature that should help. There's a recipe index in the top navigation bar that's also handy (especially because the search feature keeps leaving certain recipes out; when I search for "greens" or "stir-fried" or "Asian", it keeps NOT listing "Stir-Fried Asian greens"... go figure).

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Ah a lovely spring walk with a cookbook under the arm. Sounds delightful.