Cooking my way through cookbooks: part 1

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a glorified Internet foodie. When I have a specific ingredient that I want to use up or have a sudden craving for Indian food or no-knead bread, I will run a quick Google search or scroll through my NY Times cooking app for inspiration.

I follow everyone under the sun that is worth following when it comes to food influencers on Instagram, and I even ventured into Instagram foodie territory myself by creating a separate account last year dedicated to sharing my “quarantine” creations (56 followers and counting!).

This past year has taught us all the importance of hand sanitizer and a healthy back-stock of toilet paper and canned goods, brought new meaning to the word “pod” as far as friendships go, and, I think it’s safe to say, re-prioritized how we spend our time at home —aka the new “bar, restaurant, safe space, movie theater, gym” combo. “Home” took on a completely different meaning in 2020.

For my fiancé and I, 2020 was a year spent from our tiny Ikea futon watching Guy’s Grocery Games (thank you, Guy), drinking PBR, celebrating our engagement, and eating. A whole lot of eating — eating the random concoctions, preparing the more calculated, labor-intensive ones, eating takeout from various local restaurants, and our personal favorite, what we now term “hode podge” meals (roasted potato + vegetable + oat-like side).

In short, cooking, and eating, saved me this past year, as I imagine it has for many. During a year when our greatest purpose was simply getting out of bed each morning, it was important to find new hobbies and ways of occupying free time without going absolutely stir crazy, and the easiest way to do this I think was experimenting in the kitchen. Cue the sourdough bread craze, the “no-recipe” recipe phase, where you made do with what was on hand, adventures in homemade pasta, and so much more. I’ve always been a home chef aspiring to learn new techniques and experiment with new recipes but suddenly in 2020, it became a way of salvation and a hobby I desperately leaned on.

Going into 2021, I’ve decided to pivot from my usual cooking style and finally tackle the stack of cookbooks ogling back at me from my bookshelf. If 2020 was the year for introspection, 2021 is the year for action.

It’s time to reacquaint myself with cooking before the Internet was a thing by preparing a new recipe each week (or let’s be real, probably once every two weeks) from one of my many cookbooks — some passed down from my mom given to her by her mom, some gifts from this past Christmas, and some inherited from roommates over the years.

It’s also time to ditch Instagram in favor of reading more, cooking more, and also maybe practicing a little mindfulness.

Up first: Indian Cauliflower Potato Stir Fry.

From…

I’ll admit that I did cheat a bit here by not following the recipe to a T and added some extra ingredients inspired by my shameless Googling habit. But, isn’t that what recipes are for? To act as a jumping off point; to ignite the fires of crafty cooking within; to provide inspiration for using up other ingredients in the fridge or pantry. Who says you can’t “play” with your food?!

Overall, it was pretty darn delicious and I would most definitely recommend.

8/10 (the 8 is because I didn’t feel like spending the extra $6 for caraway seeds and used coriander seeds that I already had— I’m certain it would be even better with caraway!).

I’m 29 years old and here is what I know about myself: word enthusiast, dog lover, new-found cat lover, over-committer, and oftentimes, loyal to a fault.

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