Open Thread Thursday: 641 Edition

At lunch on Tuesday at the conference, the conversation was dominated by cooking. Perhaps it is only natural to be that hungry and wanting nothing more than to talk about food, perhaps it was the tasty Greek food we were going to devour. It wasn’t so much a recipe swap as it was about cooking philosophy and what foods people love. Hell, the conference even had a session called “Recipe Reference 101”. It might be my own hunger right now as I get ready for work that is guiding this topic right now, but I think something a bit on the lighter side (no pun intended) would be good.

For myself, I take the Anthony Bourdain approach as I read it in his book, Kitchen Confidential: simple, good ingredients. Not too many, just enough to bring out the flavors that you are looking for. I’ve taken this approach to heart by picking up The Flavor Bible and using that as my starting point for cooking. I’ve discovered many simple and fun flavor pairings while doing my own experimenting. It turns the cooking experience into a creative experience.

So, do you cook? If so, what do you love to cook? If not, what food moves your soul?

As always, this is an open thread. That’s the starter topic, but if you have something else in mind, go for it.

13 thoughts on “Open Thread Thursday: 641 Edition

  1. I guess I more often bake rather than cook…. but my favorites (to cook and eat) are my mom’s secret banana bread recipe, oatmeal cookies and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

    As far as cooking goes – spicy ginger chickpeas over rice is a staple when I need some GOOD food.

    • I’m not really into baking, but I have been lately with the cookies. Baking seems more science than art at times because of the precision of measurements. Maybe it’s just me, but I like throwing stuff into the frying pan and letting it all happen.

      But I will admit that the spicy ginger chickpeas has been all intrigued.

  2. I collect cookbooks.. not just any old cookbook, ones that I find unusual, interesting, etc. So, it’s a very personal collection. (best find? A 1920’s PA Grange Cookbook – actually a collection of recipes from women all over the state. Most are only a few sentences long and assume you know how to gauge the temperature of your wood/coal stove!)

    My go-to cookbook is Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything. Although, I’ve just discovered Niki Segnit’s The Flavor Thesaurus. For my approach to food, in general, Polan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    • If I recall correctly, there is a cookbook only store up in Maine that has tons of rare and older cookbooks. Have you heard of it? (I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, I have to go digging for it. I read it in the magazine ‘Maine’)

  3. I love to cook more than just about anything else. My dream as a newly minted librarian is to either find or create a position as a Food and Cooking Technology Librarian where I will spend my days immersed in cookbooks and spend my evenings cooking from them. However, what I love to cook best does not come from a cookbook–it comes from my imagination and my experience. I, too, love to play with ingredients. An original recipe is the best recipe. It is my goal to create the perfect pasta dish and/or the perfect macaroni and cheese. I just know they’re out there still waiting to be concocted.

    Cooking is cathartic, creative, and rewarding for me. Cooking itself moves my soul rather than any particular food. Thanks for asking. : )

    • You should turn this in a program! I think it would be a giant hit based on that infographic chart I was skewering, er, talking about the other week!

    • It sounds delicious! And similar to one that I make, but yours sounds even better. I will definitely be giving this a try. I don’t know though….I still think perfection eludes us…Thanks for posting your recipe!

  4. Like Victoria I collect cookbooks but my collection has formed because of my goals. One like Bonnie is to find the perfect mac and cheese recipe but the other is to find the perfect meatloaf recipe. Also like Bonnie I like to just throw things together and experiment when I cook, it doesn’t always turn our right.

    My favorite things to cook are recipes my dad used. Some of them are original and some are modified recipes from some of the cookbooks in my collection.

    • I have some family recipes, but my grandmother was deceptive about her cookies. She never gave the TRUE recipe, even to her children. She took that one to the grave.

      • Don’t even get me started on family recipes…for my daughter’s 21st birthday this past August one of my presents to her was a binder filled with copies of my standby recipes–some are handwritten, some printed offline, some torn from cookbooks. All have silly, meaningless-only-to-me (and maybe her) notes written on them, grocery store lists, etc. In a letter at the front of the binder, I told her that these recipes ARE our family and they represent our whole life together. See? Don’t get me started… : )

  5. I used to cook professionally, and have very high standards for food, recipes, and cookbooks and cookbook authors.

    I am also a passionate reader. (Or I wouldn’t be here. I also agree about “badass librarians.”)

    Most of my “desert island 10″ cookbooks are by Jean Anderson. She is an underrated treasure. Her recipes always work. Her introductions are well-written and fascinating. Her Food of Portugal is the definitive work in English. Her food processor books have not been equaled.

    My other “desert 10″ include the newest (75th Anniversary) Joy of Cooking, not the 1996 travesty, and the 1979 Marion Cunningham revision of Fannie Farmer.

    For baking, it is Rose Levy Beranbaum. Bread, cake, pastry…..

    For food prose, it is John and Matt Lewis Thorne.

    Thanks to Search Ohio/InterLibrary Loan, I have been on a Jane Grigson kick. She is as good as Elizabeth David, and rather more companionable.

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