Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Call off the search party!

Call off the search party! Bring in the blood hounds! I'm here. I'm okay.

Since the beginning of the blog I have posted everyday- 107 days in a row to be exact- and yesterday was the first break in this perfect streak. LK warns that my OCD is showing in this run of postings but I just call it being thorough in my new little hobby (though there was a certain amount of twitching going on come 11:45PM and me not having a post listed for the day but I've calmed down a bit more now).

Yesterday was a day full of cleaning, working, laundry-ing, (which is different than laundering), strawberry picking, guitar-lessoning, cooking, hosting a dinner party for some close girlfriends and then collapsing in bed just before midnight after the guests had all left- and since I hadn't lined up a post autopublish my perfect streak was broken- really I'm okay with it, well getting okay with it.

So since I didn't do it yesterday, I'm going to introduce the new cookbook I'm using this month: Cartwheels in the Kitchen by Tanya Leckie. Those who attended the Mother of a Brunch and my dinner last night (pictures to come tomorrow and Friday) have already raved about the success of this cookbook- I think I sold 5 cookbooks last night just by serving dinner.

Why did I switch from Rachel Ray?

Well for starters, my food budget can only had so much of her exotic little extras, and after while I found the flavors to run together. She has good flavor, but it just started to taste all in the same vein. But most of all I'm the type of person who rearranges furniture often, the person who likes to shake things up a bit- so changing up the cookbook selection is really just par for the course with my nature.

So then, why Tanya?

I decided to go with Tanya because I've had pieces of this cookbook (in it's less healthy form) since LK and I married. Tanya and her husband Doug were friends of my family while I was growing up. I attended church with them as Tanya went through her cancer treatment, was there when they adopted their lovely daughter, Scarlett, and LK had to prove himself worthy of my hand in marriage to Doug by passing a series of New Testament exegetical questions. And when LK and I married, Tanya shared some her best recipes with me- a person who previously never really cooked- to get me started on the right foot in the kitchen.

But beyond the personal relationship factor, I've chosen Tanya's cookbook because following her battle with cancer, she began to rework her recipes to make them healthier. As Tanya says in the opening of her book:

... my friend Barbara gave me some very useful information on ingredients I should and should not be using. MSG has such an adverse affect on me, I steer clear of it. (As Barbara so politely said "It's just not something you should put in your body.") Smoked meats and bleached flour contain carcinogens I'm just not willing to use. That's what makes this book different from any other.

And I love that she has stories to go with each recipe- where they came from, why they're good, how to make them if you don't have the right kitchen tools lying around. And she has useful information at the beginning of each section such as varieties of apples, how much of what you'll need if serving crowds (like 25, 50, 100 servings type crowds), substitutions for missing ingredients (we all know I need this one!), microwave hints, and a handy spice and herbs guide. Plus she had the most amazing dessert section- I mean seriously! I might just have to spend the next while cooking and (sigh) eating desserts.

It is a little scary though, cooking through a book written by someone you know. I doubt Rachel Ray will ever read my blog and see all the ways I've misread and messed up her recipes- but Tanya. Well she just might come down here and revoke my cooking privileges after she reads about some of the things I do.

But it's these "experiments" of mine that I hope give you all courage that if I can misread and mess all these recipes up and the food still turns out pretty much edible most of the time- anyone can do it. I mean, I once had a friend who said she would never try her hand at arranging flowers because she was too much of a perfectionist. Good for her to know her hang ups, but what a way to live-- too afraid to mess up that you never even try. I guess I take the same approach with cooking, decorating, anything really, that I do with parenting. I figure I'm bound to screw this up somehow (I consider it job security for the future therapists of the world), but that's not what's important. What's important is the reaction to the screw up and what you do with the end game.

Wondering what my neighbor who watches me through my kitchen window will think of me now when he see me start doing my own cartwheels in the kitchen,


Michelle said...

I may have to pick that cookbook up, I've run dry on my RR recipes, after a year that happens!

Michelle said...

can't wait to see more of her recipes! I'm still dreaming about that butternut squash dish...

Luke Hartman said...

Glad to see a new streak has resumed :-)

As for cartwheels in the kitchen, that could be fun, though the island may prove challenging.

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