Wednesday, September 14, 2011

About Face

Mister decided to make spaghetti sauce. Roma tomatoes are in abundance at our house. We have enough salsa, pico de gallo, and tomato juice in the freezer to last for quite some time. Mister says "I found 2 recipes for spaghetti sauce." I said "Oh, not from the internet, here let's find my canning cookbook."

 Yes, I know... I post recipes. Tons of people post recipes. I've only found a handful of sources that I use when it comes to recipes via the internet. There is an endless supply to read about on my laptop everyday. During 2011, this ole laptop has shown me far too many whoopie pies, biscotti, and cupcake recipes.

Ingredients purchased just for the sake of experimenting with a new recipe can get pretty expensive. A fair guess would be that 90% of the time, I cook dinner, winging it. No recipe. I look in the pantry, check in the refrigerator, scrounge the freezer, and concoct something pretty damned good. Could I replicate it? Probably not.

On my kitchen counter sat two recipes boxes stuffed full of hand written recipes and those cards pulled from various magazines. Little by little, I've been preparing the untried recipes. Most of the index cards, once tried, have ended up being tossed out. The hand written ones were mostly jotted down in haste during my young 20's. The magazine variety, with their lovely staged photos just usually left me depressed. My outcome wasn't nearly as spectacular as the photo suggested (trick photography, I say). My recipe index cards are slowly dwindling.

Among my few personal items are my prized stacks of cookbooks. They fill every available shelf and corner. Each book has colored post- it notes sticking from between the pages, just waiting for me to try something new. 10% of the time, I try something different.

As for the spaghetti sauce recipe, we settled on a selection from an old favorite worn and torn cookbook. Mister's brother had requested a spicy hot version of spaghetti sauce. We pureed 18 jalapenos, and various hot peppers from the garden. We recorded our own cliff notes into the cookbook, so we could replicate as needed.

My children grew up eating meals under that 90% rule mentioned earlier. There are a few family favorites, that I actually use a recipe for. Some of these favorites use ingredients like canned soup and refrigerator crescent rolls. Yes, we are an average family. We haven't dined on the fine flavors that the discerning culinary world embraces.

The "little by little" of working my way through new recipes was primarily to find something unique to post on the pages of this blog. Then one day my daughter #1 called me asking for my Chicken Devan recipe. She checked my blog, looking for the recipe. Yet, the recipe wasn't posted. Was it because the ingredients were all to humble for the blogging culinary world? Probably. Wait a minute... this dish was good enough to serve to one of my most beloved human beings in the world.

 Another day, daughter #2 reminded me of how much she loved the simple joy of "bunny in a hole" (buttered grilled white bread with a hole cut out of the center, a whole egg dropped into the center and pan fried to desired doneness) A breakfast made on school mornings, usually the week of testings. A humble little offering for an extraordinary person in my world.

Daughter #3 will leap for joy when she gets off the bus and I tell her we are having Chicken ala King for dinner. This dish is one of simple ingredients. Chicken bouillon is listed on that recipe card. But, it comes together in minutes. I've been known to serve it over store bought frozen biscuits. My family never seems to mind. It's homecooked, and we sit together around the table as a family for dinner.

I admire the bloggers who work their way through an entire cookbook. I have considered doing this, just... to blog about it. If a blogger writes a story about a recipe and nobody reads it, does it make a sound?

My new recipe box will be found on the pages of this blog. The recipes that my family loves and requests. I want my daughters to find their favorites listed on mom's blog.

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