Use Your Cookbooks!

17 Dec

Have you looked at cookbooks lately?  They’re so nice.  So beautifully done. So comprehensive.  So filled with poignant anecdotes about why the author chose the recipes that he or she did.  I love modern cookbooks, so full of promise and crisp mid-century modern type style.  You probably do, too.  Maybe you, like me, will have a stack under the tree in about ten days or so, if you’re lucky.     I usually ask for the ones I find whilst perusing the end of the year best-of lists, all fancy like, at places like the New York Times, Epicurious, or NPR.


So then what?  You get the latest, coolest cookbooks.  You’re excited.  You read the introductions and you drool over the photos.  You stack them on your bedside table, reading them before bed, visions of yourself making these amazing dishes all throughout the upcoming year.  You tell you significant other of all the amazing dinners they’ll soon be eating.  You maybe even stock your pantry with the basics mentioned in your new tome.  You cook a recipe or two from them.  Then, at least for me, the cookbook usually finds its way back to the shelf, often not to be heard from again.

It doesn’t have to be like that, friends!  How about an impetus to really get acquainted with some of the best cookbooks of the last few years?  How about taking the time to get intimate with the stories and the ingredients and the tools and the recipes?  How about seeing what your friends did with the book?  You know, a famous band once told me that I can get by with a little help from my friends.  That I could at least try with a little help from my friends.

Ringo finally tried that breadstick cookbook that had been collecting dust on his shelf.

Ringo finally tried that breadstick cookbook that had been collecting dust on his shelf.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a new cookbook, and know that your friends (friends who are cooking fools!) got the same cookbook, and that you were all trying recipes from that new cookbook and sharing what worked and what didn’t work?  You would use your new cookbook!  You would learn how to cook things you didn’t previously know how to cook!  Wouldn’t it be great if you could share in community, seeing what your friends (virtual and non-virtual) made?  Wouldn’t it be cool to learn what you wanted to make next in your new cookbook, and maybe even learn modifications to the recipes in your new cookbook that would make the recipes even better?  Answer: Yes!

My pal Meg over at Grow and Resist and I started talking about this exact idea last weekend.  We both have a blog.  We had both participated in blogger challenges before.  Blog challenges are fun!  They can be a good incentive to start a blog or to keep writing one, as well as to learn new techniques.  We had been dutiful Can Jammers.  We had done a little Charcutepalooza, till we realized we got in over our heads.  We had learned some new kitchen basics in Grow It Cook It Can it.  But we had always wanted to do something together.  We’ve done craftapaloozas.  There was a LOT of decoupage.  We’ve infused alcohols and made bitters.  We even collaborated on fruitcakes.  Hey!, Meg said! What about all the cookbooks we were always getting from the library?  We love the library, we both exclaimed!  Seattleites are passionate about their libraries.  Yeah, what about those cookbooks?!  We got excited.


After a few drinks and probably some other gossip, we decided that we wanted to use our cookbooks in 2013.  We decided to pick a dream team list of cookbooks and cook them together in 2013.  We’d cook and learn, then we’d get together with our (lucky) dear partners and share what we made.  No big whoop.  Then we decided that what would make it even better was a community.  So, we want to ask, would you like to join us in cooking from some pretty awesome cookbooks in 2013?

Ok, so you probably want to know more before you commit.  Fine!  In brief, we’ll pick the cookbooks.  Spoiler Alert: We already picked them and you will not be disappointed.  We’ll give you plenty of advance notice of said cookbooks so you may obtain them from your local bookstore, favorite purveyor of printed material on the interwebs, or your local public bibliotheque.  On the first (or so) of every month, we’ll introduce the cookbook for that month.  We’ll post about our endeavors with the book throughout the month.

And, see, we wanna see what you do with the book too!  You read the book and try a recipe or three and tell us what you think. We’d love it if you posted (if you have a blog, and if not, now’s a perfect time to start.  I started mine with 2010’s Can Jam) or commented either here or at Meg’s blog about what you made and how it turned out.  We’ll give you the deets on that later.  Did you change anything?  We want to know about it!  What did you drink while you cooked?  What did you listen to while you cooked?  We’ll do a roundup of  all of the recipes of everyone who joined us by the end(ish) of the month.  You get ideas of other things you want to make in the book.  Finally, you cook your books!


Sound fun?  We hope so!  Stay tuned!  We’ll be back next week with the title of January’s book.

And if you’re not already one of our subscribers or you don’t have us on your reader, do so now so we can keep you posted!  Oh, and check out what Meg has to say about all this!


2 Responses to “Use Your Cookbooks!”


  1. 12 Days of Xmas in ’12! Day Six! « oh, briggsy… - December 18, 2012

    […] Meg’s dog ate over the years.  Oh, and while you’re at it, read up on our Cookbooks blog challenge for 2013! Join […]

  2. Cook the Books Challenge! « oh, briggsy… - December 21, 2012

    […] I’ve told you for the last week or so, my pal Meg and I are kicking off a cookbook challenge for 2013!  […]

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