I love a good cookbook—I’ve got a shelf full of some of the best—but how I use them probably isn’t quite what the culinary authors had in mind. Cookbooks are good for inspiration, and for preparing shopping lists; but when the blade hits the board, it’s free-style time in the Howe house (have you guessed yet that I don’t do much baking?).
The hubby and I received gift-cards for Christmas from his grandparents, and we quickly put them to good use. I bought Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy (which hasn’t arrived yet), and a cookbook called The Flavor Bible. The purpose of this book embodies the spirit behind my theory of cooking: it’s not a collection of recipes, instead, it serves to “inspire the creation of new ones based on imaginative and harmonious flavor combinations.”
The book is lovely, as you can see, and is essentially a book of lists (I love lists!). It’s set up in an alphabetically fashion, for example, “Lemons” is followed by “Lemons, Meyer” which is followed by “Lemons, Preserved.” For example:
When you are using different kinds of lemons, you need to treat them as different things. A Meyer lemon is different from a regular lemon. If you are using a Meyer lemon, you may want the perfume, aroma, and subtlety of it. Yet when you taste it, you may want to add a touch of regular lemon to give it a little more acidity and a little kick.
—Emily Luchetti, Farallon (San Francisco)
This weekend I’ll be curled up with The Flavor Bible, and a cup of coffee.
(Just to horrify you, I’ll add that it’s decaf instant coffee **wicked grin**)