In an effort to have some sort of social life during the COVID shut down I joined a cookbook club*. Helmed by new pal Kim Foster, each month or so we all work from a new cookbook and share our findings, our faves, and what we are loving or not loving about the book. This is more than a “book club” it’s a community of food lovers and cookbook lovers. In fact, in my Gift Guide 2020 my first book with this group was in the guide along with where to buy a great wok at a great price.
A Cookbook Club Like No Other
With this cookbook club, I have made my own ramen noodles, tackled cochinita pibil from scratch, learned how to season a wok and cook correctly in it, made my own Chinese dumplings (including the pasta wrapper), and so much more. I have made friends…yes, adults can make new friends. I have explored new territories in food, both in cuisines and in ethics. Additionally, I revisited some long forgotten skills.
Omnivore goes Pescatarian…at home
Well, hold on to your hats people! If you have been following along for any length of time, you know I am a dyed in the wool omnivore. If you read my last post, you also know I have been thinking A LOT about waste and how I personally can reduce the amount I am contributing to the overall waste problem. Our book this month is Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (you can buy it here, or at your own local bookstore). Unlike using a cookbook purely for the recipes, I actually read the prose. I find it helps me get familiar with the author’s style and it helps me get a feel for their voice. So, here I am reading away and getting into the new cookbook and in the intro, the author states that nearly half the meals are meatless. WHAT?!!! I don’t DO meatless! Frankly, I began to panic just a little bit. Did I just waste money on a book that I am not going to use? Do I really want to cook from this book? Will there be enough to interest me and my tastebuds?
Mostly Meatless Mondays
For a brief moment in time, I tried to do “Mostly Meatless Mondays”, but I fell out of the habit. I am not sure why exactly, maybe it was convenience and relying on tried and true recipes and dishes that I could whip up without thinking. Maybe it is because we eat out at events, pop-ups, and just because we feel like going out in an effort to support our local culinary community, and then we are eating leftovers. Of course, I still cook most days, but now I am thinking – always dangerous – “What if I cook meatless/pescatarian at home and save my carnivore dining for when we choose to go out for dinner?” As I flipped through the pages of the book, I found there were a lot of meatless recipes that I was willing to give a try. What’s even better? Each recipe in this book is designed to be cooked in one pan, pot, or casserole dish.
Use the Cookbook Dammit!
What is the point of joining a cookbook club if you aren’t going to COOK from the book? I am diving into this book like I have the others from the club’s selections. In addition to trying something new (pescatarian at home), perhaps I will hone some vegetarian skills and be ready if a veg head ever comes to eat dinner at my home. In thinking about this, it may help me get back on track to lose my COVID weight. It may also force me to look critically at what I am consuming, wasting, and how much of it. A win – win – win? We shall see.
The first dish from the cookbook was a rousing success at a recent weekly family dinner. The Offspring weighed in on the dish as well and it was a family affair of recipe critique. So far, I am four dishes into this cookbook and there hasn’t been a dog in the bunch! All of them were meatless, but I did add shrimp to the Kimchi Fried Rice (pg 90). The Lemony Baked Rice (pg 158) made for a light meal for The Hubs and I; the leftovers served as a great side dish with baked sockeye salmon and roasted broccoli for family dinner. We shall see how this progresses.
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*You can too – on Facebook look for Please Send Noodles!!! (with the three !!!). A lot of online content, convo, Q&A, and other food related stuff. We mostly meet online through Zoom. Now that everyone is more comfortable being in public spaces, we have begun meeting in person again.