Monday, April 26, 2010

Starting a New Project... Need Your Input!

So I think I want to change things up a little... I started this blog in 2006 in order to keep in touch with assorted friends and family across the country, and in an effort to get back to my writing roots.

And for quite a while all went well; I wrote, you read, we chatted. Most of you sent emails to me to comment on my posts though - instead of hitting the COMMENT link, where you can post your COMMENT for everyone else to see that you're making a COMMENT on my post. COMMENT, people, COMMENT! So few comments makes me look like a big fat loser like nobody was reading my blog - but I know you guys were reading because I had a counter on it - and you were emailing me about it.

And then I discovered Facebook. Yes, Facebook killed the Blogger Posting. Facebook killed the Blogger Posting. In my mind and in my car. We can't rewind, we've gone to far! Facebook killed the Blogger Posting. Whatever. My generations gets it without asking. For those of you who don't get it - it was the first video ever played on MTV! How could you not know that?!?

Yes, I was alive before MTV. I'm not old, it's retro. Duh. Now get off my yard, you damned kids!

Okay, I totally just wasted an entire hour watching old MTV stuff on YouTube. Martha Quinn, Martha Quinn, Martha Quinn! I miss you, I love you, I wanted to BEEEE you!

Where was I? Oh yeah - I want to change things up a little bit and get my butt back to blogging. But just getting on to talk about myself isn't going to get me in gear, I'm doing that on Facebook. So I decided I needed to be inspired about something new to blog about... It's not that I'm bored - between working full time (and we're severely understaffed right now so I'm totally under water) and going to grad school full time it's not like I have a ton of spare time to fill, but I want to do something creative.

In early 2007 I discovered Carol Blymire's blog - she was cooking her way through The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. My fellow amatuer foodies will know that The French Laundry is the finest restaurant in the nation and Thomas Keller (owner and chef) is the best chef in the nation. I loved reading her blog, and it inspired me to start taking some cooking classes at The Kitchen Conservatory to take my own skills up a notch. Then I heard about the Julie/Julia Project and that it's being made into a movie with Meryl Streep (love her even more than ever since her impromptu makeout session with Sandra Bullock at the Critic's Choice Awards), about a woman cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. (Yes I read the book, no I haven't seen the movie - but I will.)

So I'm sure you can all see where I'm going with this, I've decided that I want to cook my way through a challenge. It's obviously not an original idea and if you google it (which I just did) you'll see that about half a zillion people are cooking their way through one cookbook or another. So apparently I'm a big fat copycat. Whatever. Seems there's even a name for doing this (cook through blogging) and even a blog dedicated to the concept itself! Geesh.

But I have to decide which cookbook to work my way through - and that's where you all come in! Now keep in mind, friends, that I will be forcing you to eat most of this stuff, because there's no way Jeremy and I would be able to dispose of it all ourselves, so choose wisely. Here are my nominees:

The Joy of Cooking Not an option, I changed my mind. But I will mention it and mention why - I already have the 1975 version. My mom used to work with the daughter of one of the writers. She bought it in 1975 and then gave it to me when I moved out on my own. So I've had it since I was 18 or so and have used it now and again. It's a monster. (Irma Rombauer, the original author, was from St. Louis.) But there are nearly 5,000 (FIVE THOUSAND) recipes in The Joy of Cooking. So it would probably take me pretty much the rest of my life to get through it! (Thank goodness I googled others that had done this and found that they all regret choosing The Joy of Cooking!)
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook I love Ina Garten, Mom and I watch her show (The Barefoot Contessa) together and ooh and aah over everything she makes, and her amazing home in the Hamptons! I can't have her house in the Hamptons - at least not until I win Powerball, but I can have her delicious menu on my dinner table. I've made some of her recipes in the past and they've all been stellar. This one would be pretty accessable...
The French Laundry Cookbook I bought this a couple of years ago while Carol Blymire was in the middle of cooking her way through it. I've already done the gaspatcho - which was delicious. There are certainly some new experiences in this one - tripe (ewwww) and um... cooking a pigs head. Includes 150 recipes - definately doable.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking So of course this one has to be an option - the one that started it all. It includes cooking calf brains and lots of aspic, which sounds... really kind of gross, but I'm game if you are! And it includes about three metric tons of butter so Jeremy and I would have cholesterol and high blood pressure problems all in the name of french cooking. There are about 500 recipes in this one, but I'd probably prepare more than one at a time (a protein, a side, a sauce, etc).Bouchon This is another one by Thomas Keller. I bought it when I bought The French Laundry Cookbook. Bouchon is French bistro cooking. I've yet to prepare anything out of this one, so it would be a completely new experience for me. It has about 200 recipes in it.

Ad Hoc at Home Soooo, yeah - another Thomas Keller, can you tell I'm a little obsessed with Keller? This one is aimed more at family-style meals for the home cook. I don't have this one yet but it's already on order (of course).

So leave a COMMENT and tell me which one you think I should tackle and I'll get started!


John Bailey said...

I like "Ad Hoc at Home". The dishes are familiar and have the ring of "just like Mom used to make". That said I think you could push yourself a bit more and try "Bouchon". This choice is purely selfish on my part. I have always wanted to try bistro style cooking. I like that it has it's roots in the working man. Sorry, my blue collar is showing. I love the idea these yummy dishes evolved from the simple stuff that was at hand. Big portions of sturdy food that would fill you up at the end of a hard day.
On a side note and to head off you yelling at me, when I said "working man" I mean "man" in the generic, all inclusive way. Although when bistro's started popping up all over Paris back in the day, it was the men that went to work outside the home. Just sayin'.

Annika said...

Ad a Hoc at Home sure caught my eye with the big hog on the cover. Ben is now raising pigs. He had a couple butchered right before Easter, and we have been feasting on brats, pork steaks, ham, etc. If you wanted a large quantity of pork, you would at least know where it came from. And you can't go wrong with family style meals. Fun project! Good luck with that. Enjoyed the "Video Killed the Radio Star" video. Takes me back...

The Neukomm Family said...

my vote is for either Ina Garten or Ad Hoc at Home. This is another totally fun blog idea:

Sally Soulier said...

Was one of these Joy Of Sex? Now that would be an accomplishment!

The Adventures of Baby Daniels said...

Okay, first off, WOO HOO! I'm so glad you're back. You're the one who started me in blogging, and I'm just thrilled that when I went to your page this morning there was a post - I saw your email later. I check your blog every morning - yes since last August - hoping that you've updated it.
I'm also extremely happy to add you back on my blog roll that's listed on my blog!
Okay, with all that being said, I'd do the French Laundry. It just sounds appetizing, doesn't it? But, if it were me, I would do a project called "I'm gonna watch AFI's Top 100 Films and review them for you so I can sit on my ass and eat brownies all day." I'm not sure a cookbook project would do well for my BMI. (But that's just me, I'm sure you have a much better BMI than I do.) Anyway, I only say The French Laundry, because I've been so tempted to by that book a million times and haven't done so yet. I would be interested in hearing whether or not it was worth it. Also, if you have any leftovers I'd be more than happy to be your guinea pig.
Glad to have you back!

Juliet said...

My vote is for Barefoot Contessa, though I will happily sample any of the above. Another thought: you could create your own recipes and win the Pillsbury Bake Off. $1 million. I'm just sayin.

Janie said...

I am torn between Barefoot Contessa & Bouchon. Having prepared several of Ina Garten's recipes, I've yet to find one I don't like. Reading the review for Bouchon, I am impressed with the degree of precision he evidently takes in each recipe for each ingredient. Of course, I thought of southern cooking, but that's what you grew up with. New Orleans cuisine would be amazing...maybe problems with ingredients? Whatever you choose, I have my knife & fork in hand!

Kim V. said...

My vote is for Ad Hoc...although French Laundry could be very interesting!