Sunday, November 22, 2015

New Book: The Homemade Kitchen

I'm trying to get / stay inspired. ~I'm hoping to become so inspired that home cooking becomes part of our "normal". As much as I love kitchen appliances and gadgets, I am surprised that I'm not a cook. When I was growing up I was a fairly good baker. I liked trying new recipes that I found in my mother's magazines.

Alas, I have not fulfilled any potential of becoming a cook. I wonder why that is.

Sure, I know how to make spaghetti; you know, boil the noodles and warm the Ragu. I have a friend who doesn't give me credit for cooking when I make my spaghetti. She always looks at me incredulously and says, "You cooked? Or did you heat?" I'm still working my mind around what the difference is. I told her that if my stove, oven or microwave is turned on, it's cooking.

Whenever I want to teach myself to cook I look to books (of course). The thing is,  many of the beautiful books have way too many ingredients. Seriously! Others have beautiful photographs of things that I would never actually make.

I'm guessing you have guessed that my newest book is  The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure by Alana Chernila.
I really have enjoyed this book. You're probably wondering if I've used any of the recipes. The answer is not yet. But I will. I'm taking baby steps.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book is the author shares her personal stories of being in the kitchen.  In her very first paragraph I knew I was reading a book by someone that "gets me".
The world of home cooking can be a challenge to navigate. On one side, we're encouraged to eat real food, cooked at home and blissfully enjoyed....On the other hand, all this focus on the redemptive power of home cooking can feel oppressive and judgmental.
So with that kind of honesty she goes on to say that sometimes she doesn't want to cook either. Though, on the whole, Alana finds something akin to zen in the act of cooking. ~This may sound cliche, like "chop wood, carry water", but Alana's explanation is so simple and so real.
For me, the kitchen is the place where I get to have problems with easy solutions. There are enough problems with hard or no solutions elsewhere in the house and beyond, so I take the easy ones where I can get them. 
The first chapter, Be a Beginner,  is really encouraging, with a reminder that "Homemade food is the opposite of perfection." She tells us to "Take a deep breath and remember that we are all beginners. It only gets harder when we try to prove otherwise."

So, what about the actual recipes? Well, there are a few that I will absolutely try. A few are Stuffed Winter Squash, Easy Coq Au Vin, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake. 

If I remember, I'll share how the dishes turn out.  Give it time, though, I'm no Julie or Julia.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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