Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Doldrums

If not for my many cooking adventures since autumn along with a slew of new cookbooks to read, I would be absolutely stir-crazy right now, not to mention homicidal. I hate winter; it keeps me confined and unable to sit in the lawn and watch my chickens and ducks. I feel caged and frustrated. I channel that energy into the things that interest me at the this case, cooking.

This week I've added to my culinary library by redeeming my credit card points. I very carefully chose two books, "Everyday Pasta" by Giada DeLaurentiis and "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.

When you get a new cookbook, do you sit and read it like a novel or do you browse through it and scan for what interests you? I've never actually sat down and read a cookbook until this year. And you know what? I'm gleaning tons of information.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're probably wondering how it is that I've got that much free time on my hands. I am a wife, mother and I work a full-time job. I'm not one to talk about myself, especially on this blog, but in this case I think I should explain.

I sustained a back injury at work at the end of November last year. This isn't the first one for me either. I have a herniated disc at the L4/5 level, one above the last herniated disc that I had 2 years ago. I had surgery to correct that first one, and now I'm waiting for Worker's Comp paperwork to go through so I can have the second one fixed. In the meantime, I have been placed on restrictions so tight that basically all I can do is sit and read all night at work. It's excruciatingly boring, especially for someone who hates to sit still. All I can do is think about what I could be doing instead of wasting my time at work. But the doctors have refused to give me any time off from work, so I have to play by their rules until the surgery is approved. So, now you understand why I have so much time to read.

At any rate, I'm particularly happy with the bread machine cookbook. It's a paperback two inches thick and just with my initial scanning I can tell it's packed with great information and useful tips. I've mastered my bread machine and I'm really looking forward to testing this book's recipes. I'm less impressed with Giada's book, but I bought it because I want to refine my skills with pasta and sauce making. I want to learn the basic Italian sauces so that I can create them from memory instead of having to refer to a recipe. I also like Giada's method of combing simple, fresh, high-quality ingredients to achieve a flavorful yet simple meal. That's the way it should be in my opinion. This is also the reason I'm such a big fan of Ina Garten. I'm relieved to see snobbish food becoming less popular and replaced by simple ingredients cooked and combined properly.

I've got to sift through the cookbooks and my own personal recipes and start experimenting now. Prepare for an onslaught of food-related entries!


  1. I love that Gialda chick, she's hot !!! LOL Warm food is the best cure for cold weather. Stay warm.


  2. so you work the night shift?
    do you have internet access at work?

    I love reading cookbooks, haven't gotten a new one in a long time. I heard Giada had a baby in 2008.

  3. I didn't know you had a back injury. That sucks! I've had my shared of back problems over the years, but (knock wood) have been trouble free for the last eight years. Shoveling snow yesterday sure didn't do it any favors though. We're having someone plow the driveway today.

    I have certain cookbooks that are fun to read. You should get The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cooks Illustrated. You know, they do all that 'splainin' about how they came up with the best one. Now that's a weighty tome!

  4. Amy, off topic here but, I was looking at some pics on line and seen a both that said Ohio Ordinance Inc and thouht it was Jim's store. After checking here I see that it is Erie, but he may want to take a look. Looks like a lot of venders there. Next meet is April 3,4 & 5. I'll be there too.

  5. Chris, thanks for the tip. Jim went to that 2 years ago and had a good time. I know he wants to go again but finances are tight this year so I doubt he will go.

    Joanna, no I can't get online at work. I wish I could, believe me! Yes, I think Giada did have a baby.

    Susan, thanks for the recommendation. I love this bread machine book. I am making the potato bread right now. It uses a russet potato in it and I can hardly wait to taste it! It smells great and when I looked through the bread machine's window I could see that it's a very nice shape too.

  6. Sorry to hear of your back injury, that is a bummer! I love cookbooks too, I frequently take them out from the library.

  7. I'm sos sorry about your back injury, Amy... I know how awful it can be and still have to try and "function" like normal....

    I too read cookbooks from cover to cover, then go back and read again!! I got two really neat ones for Christmas- do you have any of the "Farmer's Wife" series? They are awesome! Hubby bought two of them for me at Tractor Supply.

    By the way... did you say something about being homicidal? Hope I'm still on your good side! LOL

  8. I gave you the Tree of Happiness award, and you're supposed to list 6 things that make you happy.

  9. My DIL is thinking about buying a Bread Machine. What one would you recommend?

  10. Spinner, I'm very happy with my Breadman. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.


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