Although it has been brewing for quite a while, I have recently felt a resurgence for wanting to do more cooking. Not just the regular stuff. New stuff. Trying new recipes and techniques and actually picking up some skills is what is really appealing to me right now.
It is highly likely that this cooking bug has been fueled by my recent trip to Italy and France. The food in both places was TO DIE FOR and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I also feel the need to get into the classics rather than just looking for fun recipes on-line the way I usually do. There is something about working from a good cookbook that just feels right.
I have a copy of The Joy of Cooking written by Irma Rombauer (her family also makes my favorite chardonnay). Actually, I have two copies. One that my Mom gave me in 2006 (the 75th anniversary edition) and the copy she got when she was married back in 1970. Sadly, I must admit that other than looking to it for a few basic technique questions, I haven't used either much. Today, however, I can't pull myself away from it as I'm discovering all of the treasures inside. From 'Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew' to 'Skillet Corn Bread' to 'Spicy Chinese Slaw', there seems to be an endless suply of delicious things to work on.
What I don't yet have is the quintisential Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the immortal Julia Child. Have no fear, I bought a copy yesterday on eBay that was printed in 1967 which is also the year I was born. I should have it in my hot little hands in the coming week. I wanted a used copy instead of a new one. I think, perhaps, they have more soul.
I aspire to get straight to work on that one by attempting the crown jewel, boeuf bourguignon. Julia's boef bourguignon. Yes, I saw the movie. Several times. J'adore. I figure, why not? If I can do that, I can do a lot of things. I will NOT however be trying an aspic or boiling lobster any time soon. I wouldn't want to eat either once cooked, so why waste my time? I'm sure there are plenty of other treats between the covers.
And yes, this indulgence is enabled in large part by my continued sabbatical. It's October 9th and I'm still taking time off.