Housewife Tales, Part 1: Cooking

Thursday, April 01, 2010

In spite of the fact that I have been unemployed for the better part of a year, I have been trying not to be too much of a lop. Okay, I was pretty loppy when Poncho and I were unemployed together. Those were some pretty sweet months, actually. Stress of dipping into savings for bills and job hunting aside, we had a lot of fun.

That was all dashed to hell when Poncho got a job at the beginning of this year. Good for him, good for us, blah blah. Since then I've been trying to make sure I treat homemaking like a job, and have been doing all of the chores and the cooking and all of that fun stuff. I've always wanted a career as a stay-at-home mom anyway, so I really don't have any complaints about it.

One thing I'm super happy about is that I am now able to really cook. I mean like with the stove and oven and everything. As such, I now have what I think is a reasonable cookbook collection, and would like to share five of them. I will spare you my review of the cookbook my grandma's historic waitress reenactment club made as a fundraiser.

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
I guess the author got a lot of grief for this book, and I hear the one she supposedly ripped off is better. I guess I was just a sucker for the artwork. What can I say? I like cute cookbooks.

I like the recipes just fine. We like to eat like ten-year-olds so it works out. Heck yes chicken nuggets.

The little commentary in it bugs me though. I don't know what it is. It's like a spoiled housewife who thinks she's sooo clever. It rubs me the wrong way while I'm making my turkey chili. Good concept, but I would probably recommend The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Levine instead.

Easy by Marie Claire
I think I got this book as a wedding present. It's cute and small. Yes, that matters for some reason. It has lots of pictures of delicious-looking foods and they are, in fact, quite easy to make.

Yes, the cooking part is easy. The shopping part, however, is frequently not so easy. Some of the ingredients I'm just like "Wha...?" I mean, not all the time, but I definitely need to carefully browse the ingredients before I settle on something to be sure I actually know what section of the grocery store I'm supposed to be digging though.

Good stuff though.

The Complete Book of Sushi by Hideo Dekura, Brigid Treloar, and Ryuichi Yoshii
This book is so pretty. I am a huge sushi fan. I have a couple of smaller sushi recipe books lying around somewhere, but this one is precious.

The problem with most sushi books is that you feel like you have to be a fish monger just to get your ingredients. Most grocery stores don't carry sushi grade fish. This book, however, has a lot of recipes that use basic ingredients you can find at a regular grocery store. A lot of it doesn't even have fish. And the presentation is extra pretty.

There's also a lot of good tips for how to roll, cut, and lay out your sushi. There's a whole section on how to prepare your rice. It has recipes great for avid sushi lovers as well as people who say "Eww, raw fish!" as soon as they hear the word.

A Treasury of Cooking Healthy
I'm just gonna say it: this stuff is bland. Some of it's good, but for such a big book it should have more decent recipes in it. I don't know why it says "Quick & Easy" on it either.

It's not entirely awful or anything, but there's got to be better healthy cookbooks out there. For the sake of my sanity (AKA pant size) there has to be. I made a spinach linguine casserole from here once and it sounded so good and I was so excited and then Poncho and I tasted it and it tasted like wet carpet. And I was sad.
It holds up my other cookbooks though.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
This woman is the devil. She wants me to spend all of my time in the kitchen and be fat. I know she does. I mean, that must be her goal to have written this book.

I have yet to cook any recipe written by The Pioneer Woman that wasn't amazing. I mean it. She also has a photo of each step so everything is super easy to follow.

And her anecdotes amuse me. Now if I could just find a way to add cream cheese to my mashed potatoes without adding a million calories...

Not that I always need a book to create something yummy though. It's the little things that are important. Like mushing your hard boiled eggs into squares.

Twice as tasty!


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