Mail-order cookbooks…

Normally I’m not one too go for the “buy mail-order stuff from us and we’ll give you a cheap introduction and then you just have to buy lots more later” deals. But… one popped up in my e-mail recently and I admit, I jumped.

The Good Cook offered four cooking-related books for what ended up being $13 once shipping was added, and a decent discount on future purchases. Oh, hell yes, where do I sign up?? So I’m a sucker. But I love cookbooks. I love pouring over them and getting ideas from other people, seeing how recipes evolved. I rarely follow a recipe exactly, sometimes I don’t follow them at all, but it’s nice to have. And I picked up a few that had good stories to go with the recipes. What’d I get? Three for me, and one for my roommate who is wanting to get a better handle on “what you can do in the kitchen.”

So what did I get? I started with Crust and Secrets of a Jewish Baker, which were my “I’m a baking geek!” pick-ups for the week, and The Best of Gourmet because I love things that lend themselves to both simple (well, in my world, but I am my mother’s daughter, and believe it’s simpler to bake bread than to go to the store and buy some…) dinners at home and those nights I want to impress someone with a little something extra special.

I also picked up The Elements of Cooking, mostly for J to look at and learn some things, but I’ve been giving it a glance and it’s kind of amusing. Like a basic cooking school in a book.

But what I’m loving the most right now is Crust, and I’ve been pouring over it, knowing I need to bake something, just trying to decide what. I was sort of amused the other day, I stumbled across someone who is just learning to bake complaining that they don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer, so how can they learn how to make bread?? I didn’t say anything, but I got a chuckle out of it. I can see the reasoning for the stand mixer if you’re making a giant batch of bread, or if you have bad hands, or just because some days, but I have bad hands, and I still get in there and do it all by hand. It’s how I learned, and I can’t comprehend learning any other way. Once you master it, then hand it over to the toys if you’re in a hurry.

Secrets of a Jewish Baker has instructions for using a mixer, and a food processor, while Crust is all hands-on. And his breads are beautiful. Only a little more involved than I’m going to be able to tackle tonight, I’m afraid. I think I’m going to borrow from my Jewish roots, and maybe go simple, with some biscuits to go with some stew since it’s still bitingly cold ouside these days.

But I have to find some Cabernet grape flour, because Crust’s recipe for Cabernet grape bread looks amazing. I’ll see what I can come up with this weekend, and if I can’t find it here, then hey, I need an excuse to take an overnight trip to Canada. I need to go get my hands dirty in some dough, though, tonight, because they’re itching to make something. Having new books to inspire is only making it stronger


One Response to “Mail-order cookbooks…”

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