Sunday, January 04, 2009

You better do what she said

My other New Year's resolution that is blog related is to improve my cooking skills. The basics. I thought a good way to do this is learning to make classic dishes and refining my skills through practice as well as learning new skills and techniques.

For help in this endeavor I turned to an old friend. You see, when I first moved out on my own, my mother entrusted me with her old and worn copy of The Fannie Farmer cookbook. It has proved invaluable to me. The first time I had my parents over for dinner I served a roasted pork - the first time I'd ever worked with pork, or roasted anything. I remember how nervous I was, and yet, reading the recipe, along with the introduction explaining all the parts of the pig and what they're used for, I felt a sense of reassurance.



I still turn to Fannie Farmer whenever I have anything new come up. You may remember it was my go-to when I had to figure out how to cut a chicken into 8 pieces. And then I got this month's Bon Apetit. I love reading through this magazine, especially since they began to include submissions by Molly Wizenberg, perhaps better known as Orangette. This month, Molly writes about a love affair with Pate de campagne. As usual, after reading anything she writes, I knew I would have to find a way to make some of my own. And instead of trying her recipe, which face it, is a little intimidating, I decided to turn to someone who I know and trust. Fannie Farmer. Sure enough, there's a recipe that's pretty much the same, except it has the addition of chicken! It was then I came up with the idea to cook the book.

So my goal over the next year is recreate the recipes from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. A couple caveats:
1) I'm not going to kill myself by trying to complete the book in a year. There are over 365 recipes and I just don't have the time to make 15 recipes a day.
2) There will be some modifications. For those new readers to the blog - I don't make what I don't eat, but I will make some reasonable substitutions. For instance - I don't eat asparagus, so any recipe that calls for aspargus I will sub in broccolli. Fish dishes will transform to chicken dishes. Scallops or clams will magically become shrimp. And anytime you see "milk" just know I'm using skim.
3) I'm not going to make every recipe in the book. While I will do substitutions for the fish chapter, I'm pretty much going to skip the chapter entitled "other organs." I honestly don't think I can convince myself or Thatboy to eat calf brains. I know they're a delicacy in many cultures, but frankly I get a little closed minded when it comes to eating brains. (hahahaha - I crack myself up). Likewise, if I can't think of a reasonable substitution we'll eat, I'm probably going to skip that too.

So stay tuned for the fun! Tomorrow we start appetizers!

17 comments:

  1. Good luck! How's "the search" going?

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great challenge! I can't wait to see how it goes. My mom is a long-time Fannie Farmer enthusiast and I thought she might disown me when I decided I'd rather use Joy of Cooking. But who knows, maybe this will inspire me to return to my mom's favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It does sound like a lot of fun. My go to Bible of the time would have been The Joy of Cooking. I still go back to it for failproof recipes. I look forward to all your tasty dishes from FF in 2009!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Will be a fun journey!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't wait to see what all you do. And I love that your subs are the ones I would make :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am cracking up at the "other organs" chapter! I can't wait to see what you make!

    ReplyDelete
  8. wow! like PP, my go-to book was always joy of cooking.

    i can't believe YOU need to "refine" your skills. psh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. how fun! i'll be cheering you on :)

    oh, and i agree, i <3 molly's articles.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'll be following along as you share your experiences and new found techniques!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm excited about this. I love when you blog through a book! yay! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good luck on your New Year's Res! I was also wondering when you would be posting the Round Up for Platinum Chef. I emailed you my submittion a while back and you never responded. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Other organs?? There's really a chapter on that? Yikes. This is going to be fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nice! Sounds like a fun undertaking. :) Can't wait to see what you make!

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a fun idea. Too bad I would never get through something like that on my own. I'll have fun watching you though.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good for you! It's already been fun to watch what you've made so far.

    ReplyDelete