Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today's Confessional: The Book

So the second series in my blog, after my "Five Things About San Francisco," which I'll be updating pretty soon with #3, will be "confessionals" about me. Just some little quirky things about me to show the world what a weird guy I really am.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I like to cook a lot and like to talk about food. I know a lot about esoteric ingredients and different funky kitchen gadgets from hours and hours of watching cooking shows and reading cook books and magazines. However, you won't see me working in a restaurant at any point in my life. Not only was I too traumatized by The Restaurant and Kitchen Confidential, but I'm also not much of an innovator in the kitchen. You won't see me doing any Top Chef Quickfire challenges anytime soon. I would just freeze and crumble and serve a plate of crapola to supermodel Padma and hottie Tom Colicchio, who normally isn't my type, but there's just something about him...

But I am very good at following directions. That's one of my unfailing qualities. I remember one time when I was younger and learning how to ski, my teacher said to me, "Boy, Terence, when I tell you to do something, you do it." It gives me a degree of comfort to stay within the confines of instructions. So in cooking, I'm extremely good at following recipes, which can cause some problems. For instance, some of the recipes I have in my collection call for massive quantities. Like I have a recipe for a really good and flavorful Turkey Meatloaf which calls for FIVE freaking pounds of ground turkey. That's like enough to feed 12 people! But my directional conscience strongly starts to protest when I start making calculations to cut recipes in half. It's like I start shaking when I start to mess with the integrity of a recipe. I get over it though and move on and put my faith in the cooking gods whose main goddess must be Nigella Lawson.

So where do I get my recipes? I get a vast portion from the Food Network's iffy-performing website and print out anything I like. When I started my collection, I didn't quite realize what a project this was going to be. It was like that day I decided to make homemade ravioli and ended up devoting my whole day making over 100 raviolis. That was a PROJECT. I had flour all over me, and my kitchen looked like a war zone.

Remember *The Book* from The Devil Wears Prada? Well, that was the project I decided to undertake with all my Food Network printouts. After collecting a pretty sizeable stack, I needed to organize. The easiest method would have been to just throw them in a binder. After my years of working at a law firm, I am a binder expert, having made hundreds of them. But in reality, I hate binders. I hate how flimsy they can be; how bulky they can be; and how they can inflict actual bodily harm with their dangerous sharp & protruding edges. In the office supply world, I much prefer spiral notebooks for their compactness and portability. So my solution to my dilemma was to cut with scissors my Food Network recipe printouts to size and glue stick them into the pages of a spiral notebook. With a huge stack of recipes, this can take up a lot of time. Often times, you'll find me sitting on my couch with a venerable arts & crafts project in front of me, just snipping and pasting away. It makes my hands get a little tired, but it's the sort of mindless, repetitive task that I find pretty soothing. But there is a bit of a challenge at fitting all my little printout cards into the pages of my book.

My book has grown to be kind of thick now, and I didn't fully think it through because there is no rhyme or reason to the order that the recipes fall in my book, besides just being in the order that I watched them. But now that I've started, I simply just can't go back.


Anonymous said...

You should just have Kinko's bind them for you!

tim said...

A few things: Padma - what the fuck does she know about food? She throws up most of what she eats.

Cooking - I think we have a second reason to get together. You do know that I have a culinary diploma? Right?

Cooking, again - take all your knowledge and cook from the heart. It's more fun.

Tom Colicchio - hottie is not an adjective I would use with him. Hot head, now there's one.

Turkey meatloaf - what's wrong with making five pounds of it? Take it for lunch to work. I love meatloaf.

Aaron Weber said...

While in SF, try L'Osteria del Forno on Columbus Ave for good Italian. Absolutely tiny place, probably best for lunch-- seats maybe ten or twenty people max. Brilliant food.

For sushi, try Ozumo. And for Thai, try Khan Toke (not sure if my spelling is good on that count), in the Richmond area. Excellent traditional high-end Thai.