Saturday, January 21, 2006

In pursuit of the perfect recipe book

You know how I've started to take an active role in our household's dinner-making duties? Well, after a week of stir-fried this and stir-fried that, relieved by two nights of pizza, it's time to try something different.

I came home from one of my walks with a couple of recipe books from the library; nothing fancy of course, anything that has the words "...for dummies..." or "...for beginners..." is probably right up my alley. So far, I've only found one recipe in each book which I'm game to try (one is for fish pie and the other is for kumara and spinach gnocchi).

I'm pretty fussy about what I'll try. It's not enough that the photo of the finished dish looks scrumptious; I have a whole mental list of criteria before a recipe starts to look good:

1. the recipe has to be easy to follow. Numbered instructions are the way to go.

2. the list of ingredients shouldn't be too long - preferably five, tops. And if there's anything I can't pronounce or have never seen in a supermarket then I'm not making that.

3. if making a dish requires a piece of equipment I don't have, I'm not interested. This includes whisks, blenders, mortar and pestles and terrine moulds.

4. if one or more key ingredients is something I'm allergic too (or something Baby could become allergic to), then the recipe's no good. So that means nothing with eggs, carrots, nuts or chicken. And you know that means that cakes, vegetarian dishes and risottos are probably not on the menu.

5. I'm ethically opposed to the idea of veal (think of calves who've been separated from their mums at birth, stuck in a dark barn and deliberated malnourished in order to produce that nice, light-coloured flesh), so no veal dishes please.

6. measures have to be metric, because I can't convert from empirical in my head.

7. and the picture of the finished dish has to be suitably appealing.

So, just because there's nice photo of Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver on the cover, it doesn't mean I'm going to find a use for it.


Avery's mom said...

AWH! you started talking about recipes and I saw you listing things, I thought you were going to share something good like the fish pie
guess I'm on my own to find that one .

Violet said...

avery's mom: heh, lemme try it first!

The Skirt said...

What about risotto made with vegetable stock? You can buy it pre-made, and if you add a bit of white wine (all the alcohol cooks off) it's lovely.

Violet said...

the skirt: it'd have to be risotto made from scratch, since to do otherwise would contradict my status as a domestic goddess-in-training. And if I use vege stock I'd have to make sure there are no carrots in it...

glomgold said...

Stir-fry and pizza. What more does anyone need? Well maybe a pan-seared steak or something but that's all.