Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find a recipe buddy. (What’s a better word for that? “Buddy” sounds a little too kindergarten for me. Maybe “collaborator” or “cohort” would do better?)
What’s a Recipe Buddy?
It all started with a gift. My dearest friend who pulled off this gift and that one (the veto jar and the jammies for Paul) picked another perfect one this past birthday. She got me a book, but not just a book, a book with recipes, and by a blogger to boot! I started devouring A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (aka Orangette) right away. It’s delicious.
The recipe buddy thing started when we decided to choose a recipe and cook it during a month’s time, then gab about it. You see, my friend feels like she knows what’s going on in our household because she reads the ol’ blog every day, but sometimes that means we talk far less than the far less than we already should. She has a copy of the book as well (which is how she knew that, as a lover of both reading and cooking, I’d love it too).
Cooking the same recipe reminds me to contact her for real and gives us a fun connection. I think about her while I’m planning to make the dish and wonder what she thought about it when I serve something new to my family. Last week we tried the Fennel Salad with Asian Pear and Parmesan, her choice, partly because it’s hard to dive into Wizenberg’s book while remaining grain-free.
That’s three strikes on new ingredients I don’t usually buy (or have never bought), and the salad sounded so “unique” that I wasn’t sure anyone would go for it, including myself. I also reminded my friend that she has it a bit easier than me, because she doesn’t have to worry about comments from the peanut gallery, including husband and the little peanuts, who I expected would skip this one.
Boy, was I wrong.
I adored the new flavors all blending together in their bath of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and my son, jealous that his dad and I were munching on something he couldn’t have, asked for a taste and deemed it his “favorite salad EVER!” He asked for seconds when I served it again with the in-laws the following night.
Why Cook Recipes with Someone Else?
Let me count the reasons:
- You might try something you otherwise wouldn’t.
- You have motivation to try new recipes, even if you’re comfortable in your old rut.
- It makes cooking social.
- It can keep you connected to an old friend.
- It might get you connected with a new friend.
- It’s way fun. 🙂
The Who and How
You might meet someone new via social media and embark on this challenge, you might connect more deeply with an old friend, like I did, or you might develop an acquaintanceship into something more…around food.
Would I love it if some KS readers hooked up in the comments here and decided to cook recipes together? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that would totally rock. Just think about people in your social circle or old friends from high school and college who might either already share your passion for real food or be someone you really want to pull into the fray with you (Mwaa haha hahaha!).
There aren’t many rules. You could choose a recipe once a week, once a month, or whenever you get around to it. You might use the same book like I did or just individually mutually decided upon blog recipes (I know of a great place to find real food recipes, ahem).
Maybe you could try the eBook I’m giving away in today’s other post, or follow the Whole Foods for the Holidays: Real Food Progressive Dinner if you’re up for a new recipe every week. We’re kicking off tomorrow with soup at GNOWFGLINS, and I’m hosting next week’s appetizer course. Click HERE to see all the hostesses and courses. It’s going to be a rocking good time!
The only rule is that you enjoy your kitchen and be a social person. Have fun with it!
(There now, friend…what is that, seven, maybe eight times you’ve made it into KS? Are you still counting?)
A Brief Review: A Homemade Life
I can’t really mention Orangette’s book without telling you a little more about it. Far from ordinary, this unique blend of memoir and cookbook takes you into the fascinating life of Molly Wizenberg, where you’ll meet her food-loving parents, strict host-mother from study abroad in France, a few vegetarian boyfriends, and finally follow her husband from introductory email to wedding day. They met through her website, which is a love story any blogger easily goes ga-ga over.
Each chapter, more of a thematic essay than a simple piece of the story, is capped with a recipe that fits seamlessly into the text. It’s hard to imagine reading Wizenberg’s life story without ravenously devouring a recipe here and there as well. Each recipe reads like the tale that it is, and I can almost taste the dish she presents for each stage of her life. The hardest part about reading A Homemade Life is not being able to leave a comment after each post chapter.
Wizenberg is more than just a food blogger, but a true writer, words dripping from her fingertips like honey. I read with a touch of envy and a heavy dose of admiration, as I could easily compare her with my favorite fiction author, Jodi Picoult, who writes amazing books because I never have to consider whether or not she’s writing well. It just happens.
I can’t wait until grains come back so I can adapt more of her white flour recipes for whole grains and/or soaking. I added some whole wheat to her banana bread recipe before the change, and oh, bliss! Her addition of ginger and dark chocolate is divine. She is the kind of gal who, being childless, can afford to toss around crystalized ginger like I use cinnamon, but that makes the reading all the more delightful since it carries me to a distant, fantastical place where special ingredients become run of the mill.
My friend and I have also tried Cream Braised Cabbage together, and she’s done the Butternut Soup with Pear, Cider and Vanilla Bean (another example of fancy ingredients – do you know how much a vanilla bean costs?). I already lamented my husband’s dislike of orange, squishy things, so unfortunately we won’t be trying that one. However, my friend says:
Yes, the Asian pear is still resting comfortably in my fridge. However, its little friends contributed to a truly amazing dinner last night, again courtesy of Molly Wizenberg. We had our belated dinner for the Feast of St. Francis last night, and it seemed only fitting to do something simple (soup and salad) and dress it up a bit. It was a feast after all. Lauren brought over a delicious salad filled with all kinds of Italian-ish things (fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pancetta, artichoke hearts) and I made Molly’s butternut squash soup with pear, cider, and vanilla bean. It was incredible. This is the fourth soup I’ve made from scratch in the last two weeks, and it’s a close contender for my favorite, right up there with the phenomenal vegetable soup that Ina Garten taught me to make.
Thanks, A Homemade Life. Four recipes, and not one that haven’t loved.
See what I mean? Great conversations spark over food, don’t you think?
As a recipe book and as a highly enjoyable read, I definitely recommend A Homemade Life. (Neat interview with the author at that link to Amazon.) The only drawback is Wizenberg’s firm plant in the secular culture, which results in some uncomfortable scenes for the Christian woman. Some KS readers may want to avoid the book like the plague for that reason alone (more on that right here).
Be sure to check out the giveaway post today and the Whole Foods for the Holidays: Real Food Progressive Dinner schedule! If you’re a blogger, you may want to prepare some recipes (or even search your archives) for some good stuff to link up.
What do you think, dear KS readers? Will you consider doing a recipe collaboration? Where will you find your partner?
See my full disclosure statement here.
Having a recipe buddy surely works for me!
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and made a printable checklist so you can track your progress.
Sign up to get the checklist and weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.