Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cooking with Me

My cookbook collection.
I love cookbooks, and have been collecting them for over 30 years.  Some of my favorites are the one published by the Nebraska 4-H Clubs, which my aunt and cousins gave me as a wedding shower gift.  That's the one with the binding falling apart to the right of the Gordon Ramsey cookbook .  I also love my Pillsbury Baking cookbook, which is out of print, so I make sure to take really good care of it.

The problem, though, is that while I love looking through them and thinking of all the wonderful things I'd like to make, I never seem to have the time to actually make all the recipes in them.  Add to that the fact that my husband is a somewhat picky eater, and there are just the two of us, plus my own weight issues, the cookbooks are really just kind of taking up space.
I also enjoy cooking shows on TV, particularly Top Chef.  The thing I like about them is their skill in creating new dishes out of nothing, except their own talent and knowledge of food. This is an ability I do not possess.  I'm a skilled recipe follower, and enjoy cooking and baking, but there's no way I could be given a challenge involving scallops and quinoa and have any idea what to do with them.

Which is also why TV cooking shows are so frustrating.  For cooks like me, I look at them and admire them, but they really make me feel incompetent.

So, here's what I think I should do.  I think that what the Food Network needs is not one more chef coming up with new and exciting recipes.  I think it needs a show where a competent, workmanlike cook prepares a meal each week using the recipes in her collection of cookbooks.  It would show those of us whose own self-esteem takes a beating during each episode of Iron Chef or Top Chef that cooking can be fun and rewarding even if you're just following a recipe. And, it would give me an excuse to actually try the Beef Wellington recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

I think a show like that could be a lot of fun, even more so with a wacky sidekick.  Let me know if you're interested.

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