This post is mostly to let everyone know that I will be out of my kitchen between today and Monday, as I have a previously planned appointment with Mickey Mouse.
Since I will be away, I thought that this was also a good time to give a bit of a “progress report” of my thoughts on this project so far.
First, I will say that the exercise of going through the book and making one recipe per section has been a really good experience for me. I have a lot of cookbooks, and many of them are bursting at the seams with great information. Alton Brown’s three tomes from his show Good Eats are among my favorites for pure referral quality. As much as I love my cookbooks (and I have many), I have cooked precious little directly from them, and not at all without my habit of “tweaking” the recipes found within.
I think that one of the biggest lessons I am learning so far is that my habit of tweaking recipes, while not a bad thing, is perhaps something I really should employ less often than every single time I cook. Chefs (or cooks, as it were) write cookbooks for a reason. In most cases they are imparting information and recipes that are not only delicious, but fabulous exercises in cooking techniques.
Granted, some might be a bit more worthwhile than others, but even the most basic of cookbooks can be used as learning experiences. My practice of tweaking the recipes can sometimes get in the way of some of the finer lessons available in a book like Ruhlman’s Twenty. The exercise of working with onion alone taught me things about how onion behaves that I would have never otherwise picked up on a first-hand basis.
I do wonder if I’m secretly meant to be a food blogger rather than a book blogger. I still don’t plan on changing focus entirely, but I think that I will make a better effort to feature food-related posts on a more consistent basis than I have been. I find that I am more inspired and less afraid of writing what I feel when working on this, and I feel that is something I should pay attention to. Books will never stop being a passion of mine. I think I’m just realizing that I do have other passions that deserve a bit more spotlight.
As for the project at hand, I’m excited to move through the remaining ten sections. It just now hit me that I have arrived at the halfway mark. Wow.
I am keeping a small list of some recipes that I wanted to do but decided not to for one reason or another. When I finish with this initial phase, I will let everyone know what recipes I will do sporadically through this year. It will be nice to work with some of those when I have less fear of burnout.
Anyway, have a lovely weekend and I will see you all back on Tuesday, January 15th. On the schedule: Sauce.