I began my cooking adventure five years ago this month. To date, we’ve sampled ~1,500 new recipes from 10+ cookbooks, a handful of magazines and websites, and recommendations from friends. Suffice it to say, I’m feeling rather comfortable in the kitchen.
I’ve learned that there’s no end-all-be-all cookbook. Each has its relative strengths and weakness. I’ve generally found no more than 25-35% of the recipes in a given cookbook worth repeating. The others weren’t bad. (Only two recipes proved inedible and wound up in the garbage disposal!) Rather, we opted to set the bar high with respect to taste and level of effort in preparation. Nonetheless, I remain a proponent of cover-to-cover cookbook exploration. That commitment creates an opportunity to explore a lot of ingredients and recipes that you otherwise might bypass. It makes dining more interesting and improves skills and confidence in the kitchen.
With all this experience under my belt, I’ve ventured into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) this year. These arrangements support local farmers by providing advanced funding for a weekly allotment of fresh fruits and vegetables, generally over the course of 18-20 weeks. By looking at posts from past seasons, you can get a pretty good idea of what you’ll get each week. However, things may vary a bit depending on how the crops fare during the current season. As such, it has been helpful to have a lot of proven recipes on which to draw when each week’s bounty comes in.
Given this year’s pandemic quarantine, I’ve opted to be less adventurous with cooking. I’m limiting visits to the grocery store to every other week. And, of course, we can’t entertain as we once used to do. I miss cooking for others and the companionship that came with enjoying good food. I’ll admit that the rigors of eating every meal at home has worn a bit thin, too. But I’m grateful for all the farmers, wholesale distributors, and retail grocers who make it possible for us to continue eating healthy food. Thank you so much for your hard work!