Cooking up a storm

12/23/2015 07:11:00 pm

I can make masking sauce from memory, and crumb-coat a cake, but I'm not really an adventurous cook. I stockpile recipe books and magazines, imagining the fantastic and delicious things that I will cook... and then.... I finish work late, or it's very hot in the kitchen, or I just can't be bothered figuring out how to fold the rice paper so that the filling stays put. And so, Margaret Fulton and the Women's Weekly stay on the shelf, the KitchenAid gathers dust, and the slow cooker stays in the cupboard.

But there are so many possibilities...I sometimes listen to a wonderful podcast called The Splendid Table (infrequently now, because they changed the format and I hate the new theme song), and recently heard an interview with the author of a book called Voracious, Cara Nicoletti. In it, she cooks her way through literature; the wonderfully described meals of your favourite novels, brought to life and to the table. I'd like to see a Regency table, myself. Some lobster patties, perhaps a raised pigeon pie, and some ices, a la Gunter's. Mmmmn, nuncheon.

I don't have enough friends to start a cookbook club, and even if I did, I think my competitive streak would dampen some of the fun. I mean, how does one even begin to compete with someone who can not only stuff zucchini flowers, but is such a proficient gardner that they actually grow the zucchinis? Although, I would love a reason to buy many themed paper place settings from IKEA.

And so, come 2016, I have devised a little challenge for myself:

Every month I will choose a book, or a magazine, and every week of that month, just once so as not to give up (too quickly), I will cook something from the book. And slowly, perhaps I will overcome my fears of overcooking the meat, or setting myself on fire whilst deep-frying.

I'm going by the book. The cookbook, that is.

By the Book starts next week. Why don't you try it too? Share the fruits of your fruit and vegetable labours on facebook or instagram (#ByTheBook), and then we can all feel bad together about the poor quality of our food photography. 

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