One of my personal goals this year was to cook more. I really like baking, and I had never felt like I really had “cooking” under my toolkit. My roommate last year would often gently tease me if I had my go-to waffles, pasta or eggs too frequently. There’s also a ton of free food at business school, so I could get by without contracting scurvy.
I found a really basic cooking forum that had a list of basic tools and recommended cookbooks. I started looking at Marc Bittman’s How to Cook Everything series. From what I’ve read, his cookbooks are wonderful. That said, his writing doesn’t get me excited to cook. It reminds me more of an abstract algebra textbook of flavors.
Once I read Chrissy’s recipe on noodles, I was hooked. She was unapologetic about her love for Stovetop Stuffing, and she explained the entire recipe step by step without any condescension. Most importantly, I felt like I could actually do this!
I also knew I had to start small. In case you don’t know me that well, I can be very “all or nothing”. My first reaction was to try to go out and buy every cookbook. After more rationally deciding that I should start with 1, my first reaction was to get the ingredients at once to try every dish. Unsurprisingly, this approach can lead to completely inaction.
The first recipe I cooked was the cacio le pepe. I had never cooked pasta with any more specialization than adding salt to the water. After cooking her way I literally had to get out my storage containers to restrain myself from eating the whole shebang.
My other favorites are the drunken noodles and the hot dog and lentil soup. I’ve also tried and liked spicy tomato eggs and creamy skillet eggs. (I replaced any mentions of heavy cream with blended cashews.) The cheesy cheeseless scrambled eggs, though, were time-consuming with marginal payoff.
Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to mention this cookbook to anyone who is looking to improve their cooking skillset. Get cooking! 🙂