Monday, February 14, 2011

The Joy of Cooking

In the past year or so, I've really become enamored with cooking and culinary craft. There's so much comfort and sensuality there, and you get this thrilling sense of accomplishment when you successfully make a delicious, if not beautiful, chocolate fudge pie, or you try your hand and succeed at making pesto for the first time. There's also so much room for experimentation and "happy mistakes" in cooking.

Because there are a million cookbooks and recipe sites out there, it can be hard to know where to start. Recently, I've found that large chain bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, have really low-priced cookbooks in their bargain sections. I was looking today and found some great books on everything from vegetarian to gluten-free to great cocktails to 100 best Mexican recipes, priced mostly between 6.95 and 9.95, which is great if you're the person who wants to start a nice collection of cookbooks without the expense that can come with such a venture.

Or, if you're the person who just wants a good foundational cookbook for recipes, reference, and food philosophy, cookbooks like More With Less are a great, reasonably priced initial investment for about 19.99. Something like this is perfect for someone who wants basic, healthy recipes and who cares about food consumption as a global act.

Another idea for an economic and personal way to get into recipe-acquiring is something I've implemented lately: I bought a three ring binder (just like the one you used for Chemistry in high school) and dividers, and I'm collecting recipes to organize inside it. For example, I will pull a recipe out of a magazine, then photocopy it and cut out the color photo of the dish itself and paste it onto the photocopy. Then, I can take the particular recipe, be it Russian Black Bread or Cheesy Jalepeno Grits and file it accordingly in its proper section of the recipe binder. Another thing I like is that a lot of sites like Food Network and Real Simple will give you the additional option to print their recipes as recipe cards for either 3x5 or 4x7 recipe cards, which is a great option if you want to keep an old-fashioned style recipe card collection in a recipe box.

In conclusion, discovering great recipes and how to start and organize your own collection can be a truly satisfying and fairly inexpensive pursuit if you know your options.

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