I have cookbooks—hundreds of them, bookcases of them. I read them like novels. Today, there are 10 cookbooks and food magazines lying on the floor beside my bed. Another 10 are on the kitchen bench, and still more are stacked on a chair in the dining room. A little while ago, I tripped over a few propped up against a cupboard in the hall.
Do I cook out of them? Sure! But not nearly as much as I should.
So I’ve set myself a challenge, a plan to get me—and you—into my cookbooks.
To get me started, I ran a pick-a-number competition in February. Emma Bickley won—oven mitts down—with her choice of the number 32 (in conjunction with 33). See why!
So that’s where I’ll be cooking—on page 32 of my many cookbooks and magazines.
But, I hear you ask, what if there is no recipe on page 32? Sometimes there are pictures, or explanations of ingredients or background on a country’s cuisine.
Not to worry. I’ll move on to page 132, 232, 332 or beyond.
If all those pages have no recipes, or if a cookbook doesn’t go up to page 32 or 132, I’ll try page 16 (half of 32) or page 64 (32 doubled and also Poor John’s age). I might also try other pages because I’ve already made too many recipes of the same type, such as appetizers (a common dish in the front of cookbooks).
Fortunately, I like almost all foods, so I don’t plan to back out of making a recipe simply because of the ingredients.
That said, there will be ingredients I simply cannot find. For example, I bought a 48-page cookbook in Kyrgyzstan. The recipe on page 32 calls for airan (a beverage that I’m unlikely to find). The recipe on page 16 calls for grease from a fat-tail sheep!
Plenty of American recipes will have me struggling. I can’t get refrigerated biscuits, concentrated orange juice, Bisquick, Cool Whip, instant pudding, monterey jack cheese and so much more.
When, after all attempts, there is no recipe to make, I’ll write about what I find on the relevant page or pages. Heck, it may be too good not to share.
An entry will include the name of the cookbook/magazine and publication details. I’ll transcribe the recipe as it appears in the book (but will remove any errors I detect), and will explain what, if anything, I did differently. I’ll also add a verdict—namely, what we thought of the end result.
I plan to include a photo of the book/magazine cover and of the completed recipe (unless the quality is sub-standard). I’ll add interesting notes too.
So I hope you will have fun getting to know my cookbooks. I think I will.
Feel free to add comments and questions. You can even ask me to try my hand on certain cuisines or ingredients. I’ll do my best to accommodate.
And if I ever run out of cookbooks, I can always go to the library or get you to submit recipes from your page 32s.
P.S. Please check out Where to next?—my blog on our overland travels.