Howdy, folks! ‘What gives?’ you’re thinking. ‘Last Monday of the month means comic day! What are these word things doing here??’ But uh oh, boy do I suck at technology! So while I struggle to exorcise the demons from my drawing tablet, I’m gonna have to swap in next week’s post for now. Hopefully I’ll have a shiny new comic to puke onto the internet next week. Thanks for your patience!
I am a creative person. This shows up in my life in a lot of different ways. I like to sketch and paint. I like making up languages. I enjoy building things, like my chicken house and ever more bookshelves. But my two main creative outlets are writing and cooking.
Anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love writing. And anyone who has set foot in my home for more than ten minutes knows how much I love making food. If I hold any affection for you at all, I will have spent time daydreaming about the foods I could make especially for you. (I’m looking at you, internet friends. Pie-Pal Madison can vouch for this.)
That said, it should come as no surprise at all that I am just as addicted to cookbooks as I am to any other book. Every time I get a new one, I read it like a novel. I sit down and go through it page by page, ingesting it from introduction to index. I stare at the pictures- for it must have pictures- and I tally up ingredients and I start crafting menus and planning dinner parties and imagining tweaks and adjustments right then and there. I stay up late reading them, desperate for just one more recipe before I collapse.
One of the many (many, many, augh, so many) books that I picked up while traveling this summer was Lukas Volger’s Bowl. While books like 1000 Vegetarian and our 1974 edition of Joy of Cooking are regular workhorses in my kitchen, I really love a glossy, photo-packed cookbook with an itsy-bitsy, super narrow theme. Bowl is filled with vegetarian recipes for ramen, pho, and their soupy one-dish kin. Likewise, the other darlings of my kitchen are all very specific. Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Foods is about crafting seasonally appropriate eco-conscious menus. Wynnie Chan’s Fresh Chinese is about healthier alterations to traditional Chinese dishes.
Another kind of cookbook that sings to my soul is the narrative cookbook. Like Herreid and Petersen’s Recipes from the Bun, which tells about how each recipe came to land on the menu of this iconic little food truck in Fairbanks. Or Arevalo and Wade’s The Mac + Cheese Cookbook, which talks about the inspirations for every recipe, and the experimentation that went into their creations. Or David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, which probably has more stories in it than actual recipes.
When I get a tightly themed, visually gorgeous, narratively transporting book all in one package… *swoons* So you can imagine, I’m always on the hunt for a good cookbook. I’ve got a dedicated wishlist (Plenty, Charcuterie, 100 Days of Real Food, etc), but nothing in the world can stop me when I spy a cookbook that just has to come home with me.
This probably goes without saying, but all of this ogling over beautiful recipes in my shiny new copy of Bowl got me thinking: what kind of cookbook would I produce?
I cook a lot, and I joyfully muddled around through quite a few ideas over the span of days. (I pestered my husband about it for like an hour before he firmly asked me to please stop, and then I festered on in gleeful silence.) Burgers! I could do a whole cookbook about burgers. Ooo, or breads, I love baking bread. Or maybe I could make like an Around the World in Eighty Recipes sort of cookbook, and feature something from everywhere. Or dairy-free desserts, I can always do with more dairy-free desserts.
And then it came to me, and one word stole my every thought:
A whole cookbook of crepe stuffings, all healthy, all flexible in their ingredients, and all with fifteen minutes or less active prep time. I can already picture it! *squeals* Maybe the table of contents would look something like this:
Quick Cassoulet- Tomato, Canelli Bean, Sausage, and Herbs
Garbanzo Tajine- Garbanzo Bean, Winter Squash, Raisin, and Spices
Chowderhouse- Clam, Potato, Carrot, and Cream
Chicken Caprese- Chicken, Mozzarella, Tomato, and Fresh Basil
Indian Dal- Lentils, Onion, Paneer, and Chutney
Ratatouille- Tomato, Eggplant, Winter Squash, and Herbs
Spanakopita- Spinach, Feta, Egg, and Garlic
Chocolate Mousse- Chocolate, Whipped Cream, and Crushed Chocolate Wafer
Honeyed Stone Fruit- Nectarine, Peach, Cherry and Honey-Cinnamon Glaze
Dita degli Apostoli- Ricotta, Dark Chocolate, and Orange Liqueur
Lemonbars- Lemon curd, Shortbread cookie, and Whipped Cream
Of course, I’d need five to ten times this many recipes to fill out any self-respecting cookbook. But still. I think it’s a good start. Anybody wanna be a recipe tester? 🙂