Tuesday, March 13, 2012
What I've Been Up To
In case there's anyone still wondering about this blog - and there might well be - my only excuse for not writing here is that I am usually too busy doing other things, foodwise - namely, cooking, shopping, planning, eating or searching for yet another cookbook for my ever-growing/bookshelf-ingenuity-challenging cookbook collection. It grows and grows, people, as I fall, it seems perpetually to me, for one right after another. That said, there are only a few books I ever actually want at any given time, and this makes things easier. Not better, but easier. (I should also point out that my husband had a stroke just over two months ago and that has also, understandably, delayed my posting anything here.)
Of the making of cookbooks it seems there is no end; my only defence is my pickiness, which means that sometimes I just don't find anything, even in a good charity shop where there's more than one shelf. It takes an indefinable something to make me say yes to a book - and there's lots of ways a book can turn me off, including being too big (Ad Hoc at Home, I'm looking at you), being too much a restaurant-style food at home book (too many to mention but the cooking has to suit my modest kitchen), using Marmite (no explanation needed), being mainly about seafood (I don't really eat it, nor do I have much interest in it, frankly), and so on. Encyclopedic tomes with no discernible author, books with 'fabulous' in their titles, books published by a corporation (like Marks & Spencer or Sainsbury), books by anyone on tv that I am not familiar with...as a North American I naturally stray away from anything too "British" as I am not part of the "we" or "our" these books are so concertedly pitched towards.
What do I like? I am quite partial to pretty books; American books; books where the author (and again, I don't really care if the author of the book wrote it or not; the voice has to be consistent and trustworthy though, which means I want it to be well-written) seems to be on my side as opposed to the side of the food. Books by non-chefs are fine with me, as they will actually explain whatever it is that needs doing with a bit more care. Simplicity and charm always work; I am not, like some, in search of perfection or wanting to master every cuisine known to mankind. Humor is needed in the kitchen and is needed in cookbooks, whether they know it or not.
Above are some of my newer editions, all trustworthy books that I got in various places. My aim is to cook from them all, as you know; and I will write about what I've cooked (and give you the recipe, of course) when I do.