1.23.2013

Cooking and Cookbooks

I've just come from Pinterest. Can you tell? I braided my hair special and crocheted a baby blanket and made some homemade ranch dressing while I was there, so you should totally be able to tell.

No, seriously, I've been reminding myself of the Acorn Squash Soup recipe I pinned a few days ago when I pulled the acorn squash puree out of the freezer and decided it was time. Time to find a use for that goodness. Hopefully, it hasn't been sitting in there so long as to have had a religious experience and changed its name (to badness. see what I did there?).

I'm sure I'm not alone in admitting that Pinterest has become a go-to spot for recipes and all sorts of other ideas. In fact, I never have been much of a cookbook person, preferring magazines with all their deliciousy food p-o-r-n and photos. I have my Joy of Cooking and my grandmother's copy of an old church-created collection, with her notes ("very good" or "ok") next to the recipes she tried. There are a few more, but none of them stack up against the high-gloss, super-visual, coffee-table-worthy titles of late. But. BUT. Just before Christmas, I came home with Tart and Sweet, a gorgeous book about canning with lots of information and tips and just as many beautiful photos. I read it cover-to-cover, and it fueled my urge to finally use the canning system I picked up last year. It is smart and well-written, and the recipes sound normal enough while still stretching beyond what my grandmother can teach me. And the idea for a Butter and Bourbon party, complete with bluegrass, bourbon drinks, and lots of apple and pear butter was well-worth whatever I paid for this book. I'm a fan.

Another cookbook I recently purchased definitely follows the high-gloss, super-visual formula, and I've been anticipating it for months. I've mentioned before how much I love the blog smitten kitchen. It is serious genius at work, folks. The author/cook is Deb Perelman, a down-to-earth and witty artisan in all senses of the word. From the food she creates to the photos she captures, she is the real deal, so when I heard she'd gotten a book deal, I knew I wanted to support her. Whenever we can translate blog love into real dollars, we should, right? Yes.

So, when I didn't receive the smitten kitchen cookbook for Christmas, I just bought it for myself. Not uncommon, I'm sure. And then.

I'm not sure how to say it. I love Deb. I love her blog. I love her food. And at first read-through, I don't love her cookbook.

Don't get me wrong - it's gorgeous. It's smart. It has good tips and Deb's distinct and approachable voice. It's all there. But. BUT. The food doesn't feel as approachable as what she creates for her blog. I'm not even sure why. It is true that the book itself is bigger than I expected. But shouldn't that be a good thing? More smitten kitchen bang for your buck? And though I want to say the recipes are fancier than her traditional blog fare, another glance through proves they aren't.  For instance, right now on her blog is lentil soup with sausage, chard, and garlic. This is week-night glory, y'all. In fact, if my son weren't possibly allergic to lentils (who's allergic to lentils????), we'd be having it instead of the acorn squash tonight. But one of the book's recipes is a slow-cooker black bean ragout, which looks to be the answer to my prayers, so why am I convinced it's somehow less accessible than her blog? I think my gut reaction is wrong. I think I need to sit down with this book and a beer tonight and read it cover-to-cover. And then, I need to plan next week's menus because I'm certain Deb's cookbook is going to be involved.

Phew. I'm glad I got that worked out.

Now, I have to go make some soup.

6 comments:

  1. I totally agree about the Smitten Kitchen cookbook! I love the blog, but the cookbook doesn't offer anything...really...that I must cook NOW, you know? I made the chocolate cake in the back and it was a flop--literally. But i still love the blog and totally want to make that lentil soup! Miss you!

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    1. I feel like such a traitor not loving it though. I'm definitely going to give it a real chance and report back after I make some stuff. Miss you, too! I need an address!

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  2. your introductory made me laugh out loud...literally. Also, I'm going to be checking out this Smitten Kitchen blog from now on, so thanks for that!

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    1. Thanks! It's awesome. The blog, I mean. Not my introduction. Well, maybe a little awesome....

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  3. Have you seen that meme (don't think that really is the word I want) about what happens when you try to cook/craft from Pinterest and it's all a total disaster? I use it (Pinterest, not the meme!) for ideas, but am terrified of what might happen if I tried to hot-glue various things together. But it is so pretty...! Off to have a look at yours (this is me: https://pinterest.com/skiourophile/)

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    1. Yes! Pintrocity or something, right? I am terrified simply by the idea of a hot-glue gun. Somehow, I didn't get the memo on how to use one. Oh well.

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