Cooking One’s Way Through a Cookbook

On my bedside table, I have The Julie & Julia Project by Julie Powell, which I just finished. I was too late to reading blogs to read hers as it happened, unfortunately. I grew up with Julia Child explaining how to cook to my mother and I on public television, usually just before my other great culinary hero, Martin Yan. It was a fun read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes food blogs and, since I’m also a fan of Nora Ephron, I’ll definitely be checking out the movie from Netflix later this year.

When it comes to making every recipe in a cookbook like Julie did with Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I’m in awe. I’ve come across a few others who have undertaken the task; Nose to Tail At Home is one that makes a recipe from Nose to Tail each week, while the lady who wrote French Laundry At Home (making her way through the French Laundry’s cookbook) finished successfully and moved on to Alinea At Home.

I’ve always wanted to try doing that myself. I’m not fantastic on completing projects but I think it might be worth a shot. This isn’t to say I’ll successfully make every recipe in the book — some have ingredients I simply can’t obtain here and aspic was never a favorite of mine — but I can certainly try to make most.

To that end, I’ll be making one recipe from Latviešu ēdieni by Ņina Masiļūne each week. Our copy is about 25 years old, published during the Soviet occupation of Latvia. Unlike the related Latvian National Cuisine which focuses solely on dishes thought to have originated in Latvia, this book contains the common everyday recipes eaten regardless of origin.

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