May 26, 2005

Prose and Poetry

I bought a new cookbook yesterday after I went to the farmer's market (I know I still owe you photos & a report! today I spent the morning/afternoon doing billing and paperwork, then I spent the afternoon/evening at a waste-of-time nutrition seminar.)

I stopped by the Goodwill in Santa Monica on my way home. I sometimes find something to replace something that broke, or something that matches what I currently own. I also peruse the book section, because I refuse to pay $8 on a paperback, and occasionally I'll find a nice cookbook. This time, I found The Africa Cookbook which caught my eye as it was totally pristine, and it was only $2 for a 360 pg hardcover book. SOLD!

I'm thrilled with this book. There are no food-porn photos, but instead photos of people, of families. The first 75 pages are dedicated to anecdotes, history, culture and a glossary. Foods from all over the continent are addressed: Morocco, Egypt, Togo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and everywhere. These cuisines of Africa are intermingled within each category: Snacks, Soups, Salads, Vegetables, Entrees and Desserts. I did a project on Ethiopian food and made Injera from scratch, letting that stinky batter ferment for three days before I poured them on the grill (and then abandoned that and went for teflon pans!) I still have a generous portion of teff flour in my pantry...but this book with the 1998 copyright printed on the jacket doesn't include directions for Injera. Instead, it recommends making buckwheat pancakes from a packaged mix. Phooey. I'll make my own damn injera when I try the ethiopian recipes. I'm psyched to try the Sudanese, Algerian, Senegalese and Ivory Coast recipes! I am also excited about the impending excursions to find unique ingredients called for such as guege, yete and meloukhia.

Unlike some people who are food-making fanatics, I'm not a cookbook hoarder. My collection of culinary tomes fits on one three-foot-wide bookcase. Here's what I've got (rounding out the numbers, as I'm only guessing).

Top shelf: 10 vegetarian cookbooks, 20 of those 5x8 sized booklets put out by companies to promote their products, a few booklets that came with my appliances (bread machine, ice cream maker, etc) my pair of SUPERFOODS books, and then about 5 food porn, with the photos that you could practically lick.
Second shelf: 5 catering reference books, about 6 general "gourmet" cookbooks and my BetterHomes&Gardens book, a few garnishing books, a handful of appetizer cookbooks that are more like magazines, and a couple of 3-ring binders of my favorite recipes.
Third shelf: My college culinary textbooks (about 8 of them) plus my pair of Harold McGee books and my prized Visual Food Encyclopedia
Fourth shelf: A partial collection of the ancient Time-Life cookbook series that covers food by nationality... and my big-ass crockpot that doesn't fit on my kitchen counter.
Bottom shelf:All the binders with all my notes from culinary school, plus folios and binders of projects I turned in to school. They take up the entire bottom shelf.

Last thing I ate or drank: Boulder Potato Company's Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper chips. OMG so yummy, and actually not too horrible for you. Like that would matter....

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  1. Wow...I'd rather have your files-full of experience and event information, things that worked and didn't, what you'd do different-than a big bookshelf full of the newest Food Network chef offerings.

  2. I just had my McGee stolen! I'm so sad. Hey, you don't owe anyone any photos, no worries. -- SoCal


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