Long-time readers will know that #1 gets the bulk of her excitement in life from food. While some people enjoy eating the same (excellent) ~14 meals on rotation, I am too much of a food dilettante. On top of that, we live in a relatively small town, so even going out can’t bring excitement to my life because we’ve already had everything our town has to offer until places go out of business and get replaced with the new crop of restaurants. (And our latest and best beloved CSA went out of business a few months ago, so no being forced to try new veggie things.)
Which means that cook-books are a lifeline. Yes, the internet is great, but the internet takes effort if you want to find something *new* and *different*. It’s easy to use the internet to say, find the “best chocolate cake recipe” but not so easy to find something that you don’t yet know exists.
Some cookbooks are really amazing. Here’s a list from 4 years ago of cookbooks we have loved. I love taking a cookbook that is ~100% winning recipes and just trying them all, even if some of them sound a little weird (example: egg and onion soup from Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen! turned out to be quick, simple, and delicious, much to our surprise).
Recently I’ve been on kind of a new American/comfort food kick. (Part of this is because DC1 has started being a pickier eater for no good reason and DC2 has responded by being unable to handle even the smallest bit of spiciness. American tends to suit both palates so long as we skip cheese and tomatoes.) I just retired the Better Homes and Gardens 10 years of best recipes book I’d been digging through after realizing we had marked every recipe we’d tried from that book in the number of years we’ve owned it with “ok, nothing special” except for their cake recipes and a single chocolate chip cookie recipe (the other cookie recipes we tried all say, “meh” or “too cakey” or “nothing special”). Better Homes and Gardens has good cake, but we don’t make cake that often. Now I’ve dug out the Cooking Light book with the same theme– 10 years of five star recipes. So far it’s been giving us better luck, especially when I cut down on sugar and switch out the non-fat ingredients with full-fat alternatives.
It’s possible that we need to get more kids’ cookbooks. The Disney Princess Cookbook has surprisingly good meals, but not very many of them. Kid Chef has more difficult recipes, but they’ve almost all been winners (we weren’t that crazy about the sesame bar cookies, but there are a number of recipes that were so amazing that they made our “make for other people” list). We’ve had the kids’ fun and healthy cookbook for years and it’s been a reliable go-to.
Because DC1 is the pickiest eater, zie is now in charge of menu planning and we have been pushing hir to do more cooking (today the kids made monkey bread from the Disney cookbook… it uses an excellent buttery biscuit dough for the balls which are then dipped into butter and cinnamon sugars)… so I hope I’m passing some of this cooking excitement on to the next generation. Maybe no-knead bread will be more enticing than drugz for them too. ;)
What cookbooks do you think are worth cranking through? Where do you find new recipes? How do you deal with getting out of a cooking rut? (Or do you prefer repetition?)