This blog has been an idea in my mind for quite some time now. My inspiration for this project was Julie Powell’s book: Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. In this book, Julie cooked her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 in only a year. While very inspirational, I have no desire to eat cow’s tongue or sweetbreads, so I decided that Julia Child’s cookbook was not really for me.
I fell in love with cooking when I was a little girl. I have fond memories of assisting my mom in the kitchen. I vividly remember my first solo cooking experience (with ample help from my father). It was Mother’s Day and I was about 9-years-old. I planned the menu using one of my kid’s cookbooks (I wish I could remember the name—it was yellow and I think it had a bear on the cover). I made cinnamon raisin bread (the real kind—it had to rise and not using a bread maching), roasted chicken and twice baked potatoes. It was a success and I was hooked.
Over the years, however, I seem to have lost some of my zest for cooking. I can’t exactly put my finger on it—perhaps because my time is so much more valuable these days, the lure of takeout is so strong or because my less-than-gourmet apartment kitchen is less-than-inspiring–probably a combination of all these. But whatever the reason, I found that I do not cook very often and I do not have the same level of enjoyment. I have all the necessary supplies—gourmet pots and pans, a Kitchenaid standing mixture, cupboards full of cookbooks and recipes jotted down from friends, and a fully stocked pantry. I also have a fairly decent skill level and confidence in the kitchen. But that hasn’t seemed to be enough for me over the last few years.
Recently I was looking for a fairly classic pumpkin bread recipe so I turned to my staple cookbook–The Joy of Cooking. It was written in 1931 by Irma S. Rombauer. I always remember it in my mom’s kitchen and was one of the first cookbooks that I purchased for myself. It doesn’t have a flashy cover or a famous chef or Food Network personality associated with it. In fact, when you look at it—the cookbook is somewhat daunting. With 1136 pages of recipes and cooking techniques, it looks more like a college textbook than a cookbook. When I found it in the back of the cupboard recently, I was immediately drawn to the title—the JOY of Cooking. That’s it—that’s exactly what I want! I want to start finding joy in cooking again! Thus, I have embarked on a new cooking journey.
I don’t have a time frame, or a specific schedule. But I went through the cookbook and picked out what I consider to be the “essential” recipes. This translates into a 12-page Word document of all the recipes that I want to cook and master in this cookbook. This doesn’t mean that I won’t still be regularly cooking Kraft mac and cheese (had that for dinner last night) or running down the block to Bollywood Cafe or Sushi Dan and getting my favorite take-out. This just means that I want to start incorporating cooking back into my life and finding the happiness in it that I once had.
So keep reading and help keep me accountable. I hope to include pictures as often as possible—and I will definitely include recipes.