Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stash Resolutions

No this isn't a laundry list of resolutions. It's a wish and a game plan to do more of something I adore - to use the delicious and coveted yarn stash I've hoarded over the years (some of it is 10 years old) and to cook from my favorite cookbooks - from cover to cover. Why will I be successful? Because I've resisted the gargantuan yarn sale at Webs!

Have you ever cooked or knitted from a book, cover to cover?? I've never done either. In the case of my knitting, I hold onto yarn waiting for the most perfect pattern or I buy a pattern book and hold onto that waiting for the most perfect yarn that is better than what the pattern calls for. Don't ask me why. I guess it must have something to do with delayed gratification or just plain dumb procrastination. With cookbooks, I don't want to waste a good recipe on everyday eating (???), I would reserve it in my mind for a dinner party or special occasion. Spell it with me D-U-M-B!!!

My plan, and I'm having fun already on this 3rd day of the year, is to pick 2 books - one knit book and one cook book. Start making stuff from cover to cover - random order is ok. With the knitting, I'll only select yarns from my stash.

What have I done so far? Well it's only been 3 days but...

From my cookbook stash -

I adore this book. I've owned it for over 10 years. I have a greased up, dogged-eared version that I use when I cook and I have that one just for reading. I've made many, many things in it but I've only scratched the surface. There are recipes for perfume even, and cough medicine and lots and lots of great southern cuisine. One of my favorites is what I call funeral pound cake.
No, no this isn't a macabre story. We all go to funerals, right? Stay with me now. If you've ever attended a funeral for a fond old aunty or uncle, most of the time they have old friends right?Trust me, this won't get strange. Well, those 'old' friends have great 'old' recipes and they bring the most delicious foods to the repast. Like you, at most funerals, I've been too overcome with grief to appreciate anything. But, for the times I've gone to support a friend or a distant relative, well, I do notice the food. Almost always there'd be poundcake. Well, just like with my silly cannoli search, I also had a funeral pound cake search. No I do not need a life, this is part of life. To enjoy and appreciate all things sensual including ya taste buds. You don't have to eat the entire portion of something and end up looking like my boy Chef Prudhomme, but tasting is good, if I could I'd taste just about anything.

There are over 100 years of recipes in Spoon Bread and Strawberry Wine starting from pre-reconstruction times when there were just a handful of years when black people had many high hopes. There are stories of how some of the authors' families were run out of town by the Klan and as long as they kept their life and limb, they kept on cooking and creating great food for their families in celebration of their survival. I guarantee that whatever your ethnic background, you'll adore this book (I know I sound like those kids on Reading Rainbow). You may even start your own project of collecting recipes from friends and family and document the circumstances around how you acquired the ingredients.

Tonight for dinner I'm going to grill outdoors and make barbecue ribs. There is a wonderful tangy sauce in the book. Why am I grilling outdoors in the middle of a Jersey winter? Two reasons. First today it is 60 degrees and 2nd, this happened last night while making dinner:

I forgot to pierce the baking potatoes before putting them in the oven and THEY EXPLODED!! I'm hoping some fairy gnome or someone comes over and volunteers to clean it out. It's bad enough she's just a Susy Bake Oven, now she's all a mess...

From My Knitting book stash -
I like the photographs in Sally Melville's books. You all know about her Einstein Coat, I've never made it, I'm going to now. I have made several of the Jen's Ponchos. I'm doing another one now for my 2 year old niece -

The scarf featured on the cover I made for my son last year but he has since lost it :(

Finally, this is one hold over from last year. It's the Noro bag I started at the DMV.


caitlyn said...

Great resolutions, Deborah! It's quite an undertaking to cook everything in one cookbook.
I love the Noro bag!

tiennie said...

Fantastic idea! Can't wait to see what you will accomplish this year. I'm going to enjoy visiting your blog!

AR said...

Ooh, I want that cookbook!

Your bag looks good!!

sherry said...

The Noro bag is gorgeous. I also had a cook/craft book resolution, but it was just to make at least ONE thing from every book in the stash.Yikes, I guess I need to stop reading blogs and face reality---the daughter just got cupcake batter in her violin. I hate it when that happens!

sappmama said...

Who was that woman who cooked a recipe from The French Chef or some other Julia Child cookbook every night for a year? She wrote a book about the experience.

I admire cover-to-cover diligence, as one who hops around more than a 1 legged man in a potato sack race.

I'll be checking out your projects to see how everything goes. I used to eat at Miss Mamies and Miss Maudes when I lived in NYC.

chris said...

Excellent resolutions! And I hope the stove fairy has visited and sprinkled a little dust to clean up the potatoes!

Anonymous said...

That cookbook sounds great & what a great idea to go through it & the cookbook cover to cover. Potatoes explode?? Who knew??

The bag is gorgeous!

jae said...

Oh my goodness, your Noro bag looks fab! Ive got Noro of my own awaiting the same fate.
Got Melvilles second book, great instructions.
Love your idea for the new year! I like resolutions, even though we may not always honor them in full, at least we try right?
I never knew what exactly would happen with tatoes if I didnt poke em, now I no longer wonder.

Anonymous said...

Great resolutions!

I have never cooked everything in a single cookbook...what a great challenge.

I can't believe you hit 60 degrees...I thought we were warm at 50 degrees in Chicago!

Anonymous said...

I think I NEED that cookbook!! What a great idea. I love curling up with a good cookbook!

Love the Noro turned out great.

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad you posted about this cookbook! i read about it once, and tried to make a mental note but had completely forgotten the title. happy new year!

Mary Anne said...

Great ideas! I have oodles of recipes from friends and family I have collected over the years - and I've baked or cooked all of them. It's fun to roam through my card index collection and remember what was happening when I received the recipe.

ps: Reading Rainbow is a favourite show of mine.

Diane said...

I love your resolutions. We're all so guilty of thinking we aren't special enough for good things every day.

I've exploded potatos in the oven many times. The oven gnome never came to my house but maybe CT wasn't on his oven cleaning route.

Anonymous said...

Great resolutions! I look forward to the blog posts. Both the pound cake and the Noro bag look yummy (in different ways, of course).

When the fairy gnomes finish cleaning your oven, would you send them down the GSP to my house?

Calling Kahlo said...

I read this post and over the weekend I glanced at all my books and I couldn't determine a book I would knit all the patterns. I do realize that is my current status as a knitter. I realized that I need to get all the Barbara Walker books.

Rachel said...

I love this idea! Very creative! I am not sure I'd have the tenacity to stick with it, but it's fun to think about what book I'd choose if I decided to do it.

Beatriz said...

Great resolutions! I had no clue about the potatoes. I add salt, wrap them in aluminum foil, and forget about them for an hour. I thought poking was for the salt to get in!

Anonymous said...

I've ALWAYS wanted to go thru my recipe books and make everything in it. At least the things I would eat. It's one thing that's always been out there, I just never seem to be able to keep it up. Energy and time (or LACK of) keep me from being consistent with it. Let us know how you do with it. And I gotta tell you, I LOVE the expessions you add to yoru pictures!! LOL