Prior to having my son, I didn't cook. I had a standard circuit of about five recipes: chicken cutlets, spaghetti and meatballs, ziti, tuna slop (family recipe, courtesy of my Grandma), and hamburgers. If we wanted something delicious, my husband cooked it. I had absolutely no confidence in the kitchen, and yet I began to accumulate cookbooks.
My son was the fussiest newborn I've ever met. Eventually, doctors determined that he had acid reflux, but the real-world meaning of that was that he would cry, on average, for eight hours a day. At least. It was the most trying and exhausting period of my life. I couldn't have cooked, even if I wanted to.
At eight months, his reflux began to settle down. I could snag a peaceful forty minutes to cook dinner. All of a sudden, the opportunity to cook felt like a luxury. Now that I had the time, I didn't want to fall back into my rut of boring stand-by meals. If I was going to bother cooking, I might as well use that time learning to make food that I wanted to eat. I could have any meal in the world, if I could only teach myself to cook it!
I ordered Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, and was instantly hooked. I wanted to cook every recipe in the book. I began this blog when I began her book, and I didn't realize until later, that there was already a cooking club - French Fridays with Dorie - dedicated to cooking their way through the book. I've continued to cook with them, once my experiment was over.
Cookbooks only ask one thing of us, and that is to be used. They have no purpose on a shelf.
They've asked to be cooked from, and so I will. This is their chance to win me for life or lose me forever. There isn't room in my house for books that don't produce delightful food. I don't care if the recipe is complicated or includes hard-to-get ingredients. I don't care if the book has pictures or a beautiful layout. When the recipe is completed, there better be delicious food on my plate.
If I can cook, so can you. Don't let your own dusty cookbooks just sit there. Try something new, and you may find your new favorite recipe. Cook what makes you happy!