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Lily’s Cookbook: An Introduction

January 21, 2014


I mentioned the other day that I am working on a cookbook for Lily of all my favorite foods and recipes.  Here’s the introduction letter that I wrote for her, but you can use it as a guide for what to expect around here:

Dear Lily,

Happy New Year!  2013 has been filled with all sorts of exciting things, from our cross-country move to Seattle to buying our first house.  As 2014 kicks off, I wanted to start a new project about food: a cookbook, of sorts, for you, filled with my favorite recipes.

I find, sometimes, that I’m in a food rut, making the same things week after week.  I forget about all the things I enjoy cooking and eating.  Hopefully this book will be a guide for both of us for making accessible, easy food.  And delicious.  The food has to be delicious.

Your grandparents are fantastic cooks but when I was growing up I was just not interested in learning to cook.  For their part, their enthusiasm for cooking yummy food took over and they never really taught me to cook.  Not their fault, or course.  I was more than happy to let them pile brunch in front of me and not participate in its creation.  But now, as a 28 year-old, I find tht I’m learning a lot on my own, things that I wish I had learned earlier.

I don’t know that I have a set cooking philosophy, per se.  I’m guided by the foods that I like – figuring out how to recreate a favorite restaurant meal or dreaming up a food fantasy.  I like foods with whole, fresh, recognizable ingredients.  I like simple, easy to prepare meals that can come together with a flourish when I want to dress them up.

Most importantly, I want to teach you how food can make you feel.  I’m Jewish, ok?  If not in actual practice then in spirit.  That is to say, if you are in my house I will feed you.  I want you to feel loved and nourished and comforted.  I want to make you a plate of cookies, and I have an idea of how I want them to be: thick and soft and chewy and warm.  I want you to sink into them and feel a hug of affection.  Maybe it’s a lot to ask of some cookies, but I’m trying to embrace foods by the way they feel.

With that in mind, I actually sat down to organize recipes and found that I tended to group them by occasion: A Christmas brunch, Valentine’s Day dinner, a sweaty summer afternoon.  I like to celebrate with food and while we mostly eat healthy food day to day, there are certainly some special occasion foods here.  I love baking, which is to say I love eating baked goods.  But you’ll also find plenty of weekday meals and multiple uses for the same ingredient.  To me there’s nothing worse than buying fresh ingredients to use in only one meal and then not using them up.  I want to leave you with suggestions of what to do with that leftover goat cheese, and to help you make the most of your shopping budget.

Happy cooking (and eating!) my love.

xoxo Mommy

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