Saturday, May 14, 2011

Project Cookbook

For my darling little sister's 21st birthday, I promised to make her a cookbook full of her favorite recipes from our childhood. Sweet, huh? I mean, isn't this what every 21-year-old wants? A cookbook instead of a trip to the bars? This gift and its proximity to her 21st is truly coincidental. It just so happens that she'll be moving into her first apartment just days before. The move is the true motivator for the gift, but I do like the idea of telling people that's what I did for her 21st. Kind of like telling the story of how the Vegetarian took me to the dump on my birthday the first year we were dating...

Last year when I pledged my intent to create this gift, it seemed totally manageable. I mean, I had 365 days to pull it off. I was including fairly easy recipes, all of which were familiar and some that I could make in my sleep. All I have to do is snap a couple of pictures and throw it into a snapfish album and bam! Instant awesome big sister birthday present!

Now I am t-minus 90ish days out from said birthday and I have a little bit of a confession...I haven't really started.

I'm totally on it now. I swear. I have dedicated the blog as the location of all of my cookbook-related happenings. Either my throngs of readers, or the illusion of their presence, will surely keep me on task.

Here's the lay of the land:
  • I'd like to give some instructional/informational copy in the book. A resource for the basics is never a bad thing.
  • The photos are a must. Photos of both the process and the finished project. Have I mentioned having a freelance photographer best friend and boyfriend is perk of my life?
  • The book will be broken up into meal types: Breakfast, Lunch/Sides/Soups, Dinner, Dessert. (Cooking Information will also have its own section). The book will not have enough recipes to break it down by ingredient and sorting by meal probably makes the most sense for a beginner cook with not too many recipes. I am nearly convinced it is a perfect plan...
Recipes that shall be included:
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Sandy's Chicken Stuff 
  • Mom's Homemade Pizza
  • Westview Chili
  • Poppyseed Noodles
  • Manicotti (Though to her credit, she could probably make this one in her sleep.)
  • Spaghetti Carbonara (Like she had in Italy)
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Potato Pancakes
  • Pancakes
  • Popcorn (Again, could make it in her sleep. I guess I dream her roommates will love this cookbook too.)
  • Corn Casserole (Mom's way)
  • Cinnamon Rolls (Also Mom's way)
  • Sugar Cookies (You guessed it...Mom's way)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies (Not Mom's way. Because that involves walnuts.)
I'm also working on a couple of original recipes as well based on ingredients I know she likes.

I should mention the major challenge of this project is that little sis and I could not be more different in the foods that we like. I could go vegetarian tomorrow and (almost) never look back. She won't touch green foods with a ten-foot-pole.  I'm nearly certain our mother hid veggies in her food as a child, but when you're cooking for yourself that whole "I'm just going to put this zucchini puree in here and I'll never notice!" trick doesn't work as well.

So, Spoonful of Something, meet Project Cookbook. Hopefully by the end of summer I'll have both a fabulous beginner's cookbook and a curriculum for beginning cooking classes and lessons. It'd also be a nice birthday present for me, provided I can crank out a first version of both without sprouting any gray hairs.

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