So, I dumped the Amish cookbook. I just couldn't do it. But, with undampened enthusiasm for the idea of cooking all the way through a cookbook, I decided to choose another. My friend, Matteo, who lives in Italy and posts gorgeous photos of the food he is making, photos of which I am intensely jealous because I want to be able to create such beautiful photos, too (I suspect having the Italian countryside for a backdrop might help inspire me), gave his humble take: go out & buy the best ingredients you can and find recipes to go with them, rather than going about it the opposite way. My wife thinks he is right, with the added advice, "Buy whatever's on SALE." I love his idea, myself. The truth is, I am not so good at doing it that way. I lack the imagination. Not to mention that I love the idea of cooking through the whole dang thing. The problem has never been that I don't know how to figure out what to cook. I do just fine there. It's that I need a cookbook that won't make me groan at the thought of cooking 8 potato salad recipes, most with very little variation.
I decided that I would simply use my newest cookbook, purchased a little over a week ago and untried. It's the Gooseberry Patch Fall, Family, and Friends cookbook, a collection of harvest season recipes collected from folks around the country---but, presumably, tested prior to publication so I don't end up with 3 tbsp. lemon juice in my peanut butter pie or a recipe that stops after the making of the batter. I'm all excited about the project now and can actually picture myself not only eating the food I make, but really enjoying it!
I dipped my toes in the water on September 29th with a recipe that, it turned out, completely skewed me out. Ha! So much for brilliant new starts! It should have been delicious, a cinnamon-maple nog, warm milk, sweet syrup, & autumn spices for a bedtime treat. I made a mug for each of us and neither of us could drink it. The flavor was A-OK by me, but something about the heating of the milk and the addition of the ground spices (cinnamon & allspice) make the beverage kind of grainy and weird. My sweet wife simply didn't like the cinnamon flavor. I might try it again using only whole spices and see if that is better. For Jeannene, I will simply heat milk with a little vanilla and a little syrup.
I've been really busy in October, making preparations for a secret & huge project, serving as matron of honor for a friend's wedding, and visiting my mama in West Virginia, so I haven't been working through the cookbook. Once we return from New Orleans, though, expect to see me blogging my way through this project!