To write or not to write,
That IS the ???
So I have hit the 100th person to ask me: Are you going to write a cook book?" or "When are you going to write a cook book?" I am celebrating this milestone (like celebrating the 100th person to cross the threshold of a new store or business) by chatting about it here.
Cook book or not?
I have to say, "nah, not in my plans." I thought about it for a bit and here are my issues... issues, we always have issues!
1. I am a "just throw it in a bowl" kind of gal. For example, foods like cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and pancakes all have the same basic ingredients. Some have more liquid, i.e. pancakes, while others have more flour, i.e. cookies. What I throw in the bowl depends on the consistency of the batter or dough I am trying to make.
So, to make a chocolate cake I do something like this (and hope for the best!):
- 2-3 eggs whipped up and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup melted butter (these two ingredient amounts depend on whether I am making a one or two layer cake)
- 1/2 cup sugar, unrefined, of course (I may use 3/4 if making 2 layers and it is not for my kids, most people like sweeter cakes.)
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- 1/2 to 1 cup milk, again depending on the layers
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 to 3 tbsp. baking powder depending on the flour (oat flour and I use less b. powder, if it is millet / quinoa / teff / amaranth flours I use more b. powder)
- 3-6 tbsp. cocoa powder depending on # of layers and how chocolate flavored I want the cake
- Enough flour to create a cake batter consistency, which is thicker than pancakes but more liquid than cookies
Set batter aside for 5 - 10 minutes to see how the flour soaks up the liquid. After 10 minutes, if the consistency is cake like, good to go. If it is too runny, I add flour a tiny bit at a time. Too thick? I thin with a bit of milk.
So, that is how I cook everything. A little of this and a little of that. Who wants a cook book written like this? I would get boo-ed and rotten tomatoes thrown at me! Most people want exact measurements.
2. Meal cooking is a process of looking at the local, seasonal produce on hand and having fun with it; playing with the ingredients, herbs, and spices. When you play with food for long enough, cooking and creating in the kitchen becomes second nature.
I suggest picking up a couple of good vegetarian cook books* (cook books that show case seasonal produce) and then read them like novels. Next, get cooking. After a bit of practice in the seasonal kitchen, I will say it again, cooking becomes second nature. It is an art work. Relax, breathe deeply, and let your creative nature just flow.
Add your favorite protein sources and whole grains to the yummy seasonal veggies and voila'... you have dinner (suggestion: make enough for lunch leftovers!).
If you have blood sugar control challenges (diabetes) eat whole grains in serious moderation, not at every meal, and up the intake of veggies instead.
3. I visited the SLU book store and checked out the cook book section. It was scary! There were 5 shelving sections of cook books with 7 shelves in each section. 35 shelves of cook books and only 2 of the cook books on the shelves had more than one copy. One was the original MoosewoodCook Book the other was a smoothie "recipe book", I believe. All of those 35 shelves were loaded with single copies of cook books on every topic and health promoting diet imaginable! That was a huge wow for me!
The 5 rows of cook books at the SLU Book Store:
3. I am all about making food an art form. The kitchen is your studio, food is your medium, and the kitchen utensils are your artist's tools!
Watch for my follow up post: How to Cook Like an Artist
Be well, have fun in the kitchen! Paula
*Cook Books you might find useful:
- Home Gardener's Month By Month Cookbook, Marjorie Page Blanchard
- From Asparagus to Zucchini
- Recipes from the Root Cellar, Andrea Chesman (She also wrote Serving Up the Harvest)
If the cook book uses refined ingredients (refined, all-purpose flour, bleached or not)... use your whole food kitchen skills and swap out the refined ingredients and add in 100% whole food ingredients. Need help with this? Give me a shout, read that section in my book (Hands On Health: Take Your Vibrant, Whole Health Back Into Your Healing Hands), or zap me an email and I will send you my educational handout.
If you do not like the high fat ingredients in the Home Gardener's Cookbook, swap out for ingredients with fat contents you are comfortable with. Myself, hey, bring on the butter! (From Pasture Raised Cows, Please!)
Get cooking like the seasonal kitchen artist you can be!
PS My second book, a book of inspirational words to help you put the action steps in my first book, well... into action, was picked up by a publisher yesterday! Stay tuned as I keep you informed of the publishing process!
I call this book of words my "yoga poses" for the body, mind, and spirit book. No, that is not the book's title... that secret will be released at a later date!
Today, to celebrate, I am off to climb a high peak in those amazing ADK Mountains!