Here’s the deal: I really like food, I really like reading, and I really really like reading about food. Hence, Bookcook.
I cook for myself and A, my partner in crime, four or five nights a week, and we eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. I plan the menu ahead of time and shop accordingly once a week, because I’m not really an improviser. I like to know where my next meal is coming from, and I need to be following a recipe. Sure, I’ll make small adjustments to the recipe, but I’m not one to whip something together out of whatever’s in the fridge on the spur of the moment. So I’m constantly scouring cookbooks from the library and cooking sites on the Internet for recipes, but I’m pretty particular about the kind of food I like to make. I’m not a big meat eater, but I don’t like hard-core vegetarian things involving tofu or imitation meat (and A’s a carnivore, so we eat meat at least once a week). I like to eat healthy, but not at the expense of flavor—so please, no margarine substituted for butter, no Mrs. Dash in place of salt, no Egg Beaters instead of eggs. I’m relatively scornful of convenience foods and avoid any recipe that calls for garlic powder instead of real garlic or a can of Campbell’s soup and a jar of spaghetti sauce, but I’m also cheap and a pragmatist and can’t stand anything too fancy or fussy. I refuse to use a mortar and pestle, a food processor, parchment, pancetta, capers, cheesecloth, or duck. (Note from May 2006: I have since used a food processor, parchment, and cheesecloth. To my great shame, they turn out to be useful tools.)
There are plenty of recipes out there, but there are a lot of bad ones—I’ve accidentally tried some of them, and there is nothing that depresses me more than carefully handcrafting what turns out to be a disappointing dinner. In my constant search for new recipes, I was really hoping to find some site, blog, or diary where someone whose taste I shared and trusted would personally recommend recipes and write something more about them than just a list of ingredients and steps. Something like the fabulous Julie/Julia Project, but more useful (sorry, most French cooking may be beyond me). I never really found what I was looking for, but I figure I could at least try to make something similar myself. Because did I mention I like thinking about food? I read menus and cookbooks and food essays, and if you tell me you went out for dinner last night, I will always ask you what you ate and how it was. Also, I know that I keep promising various people (hi, mom) I’ll give them the recipe for this or that, and now it will all be handily available online. I think this could be handy for me, too, since I’ll have a virtual cookbook to consult on the go. And maybe, if you have a recipe you like, you can send it to me and I’ll try it out, and if I like it I’ll post it.
So it’s sort of a food diary. My plan is to post, with comments, the recipes I make on the nights I cook. Eventually all the recipes from my usual repertoire will get entered, so thereafter I suppose I’ll only post if I try something new. Who knows? Let’s eat already.