My friend Friso told me about a book called Best Recipes, published by the authors of Cooks Illustrated magazine. For each recipe, the authors relate several different methods of preparing it, with the goal of finding the best way. They include several variables: type of utensils, cooking temperature, time, types of shortening, etc. Since there’s a new edition out, the old one (1999) was on clearance at Borders, so I picked it up. The new one has 1000 recipes, while this one has only about half that. I can deal.
That day I sold or donated a large bag full of old books, and felt quite liberated knowing that I could do without them, and when the time comes to move, I’d have less. This book is quite a brick, or a slab, actually, and I was concerned that I would not use it. After all, there is a Best “Quick” Recipes edition; wouldn’t I be more likely to use that?
Turns out that I’ve used the book in a way I did not intend. (That is, I actually use it, hah.) I thought I’d flip through, see a recipe I liked, and try it. Instead, I found myself starting to prepare what I’d make anyway, and see what the book says. The more I read, the more I realize this book is the cook book for me. it satiates my hunger for perfectionism or optimization quite well. Poor choice of words, I suppose.