Read this blog, then drop everything else, go into your kitchen or wherever you happen to keep your cookbooks, and tell me how many you have. Next, tell me how many of them you’ve used in the past year?
Are the numbers staggering? Do you have cookbooks your mother gave you for Christmas 1957, cookbooks passed to you by your favorite aunt before she retired, cookbooks you purchased to support your local PTA or hospital auxiliary? How about diet cookbooks, ethnic cookbooks, cake mix cookbooks? Any kind of specialty cookbooks that seemed like a good idea but never got opened, much less used?
Caught you, didn’t I?
I’ll confess I have all the above. What’s worse? I can’t seem to stop buying them. Nor can I bear to part with most of them. Inherited cookbooks? Ah, the memories of that truly horrifying tuna casserole topped with crushed potato chips that was my mom’s specialty. Can’t throw that away. Or the Indian cookbook with the curry recipe that starts by frying chicken bones after pounding them with a mallet. (Scrumptious and unrepeated.) South Beach. Sugar Busters. Adele Davis–that one got pitched. But others? So, so many others lining my bookshelves and groaning in stacks under my coffee table.
Cooking at home is a great way to save money, to exercise creativity, to try new foods fixed in ways you can control. Yet most of us are so busy that when we do cook, we fall back on old standbys.
Well, cookbook hoarders, unite! CHU is here. (Say it out loud. Get it?) Together this next year we’re going to open those old cookbooks, choose recipes and make them! Then we’re going to share our reviews, and if we think they’re good enough, share our recipes with all proper citations.
Here’s all you have to do.
- Take the CHU pledge. Each month “try” to make one recipe from a cookbook you haven’t used in a year. Please comment here to let us know you’re on board.
- Once the dish has faithfully been made, comment here or on any CHU blog with the name of the recipe, your review, and any anecdotes connected with it. Humor is good, pathos is better.
- If asked and if you feel so inclined, share the recipe to post here for other CHU members.
- Make a conscientious effort to stretch your food horizons and perhaps eat healthier this next year.
I would never have attempted this project without the enthusiasm of my Facebook buddies who suggested I actually follow through with the idea. In exchange for the enthusiasm and commitment of everyone who participates?
- Each month I’ll do a random drawing of every cookbook hoarder who’s tried a new recipe from a hibernating cookbook (or a new one that hasn’t yet been used) that month. That lucky winner will receive an autographed novel and some small and silly kitchen implement.
- At year’s end, we’ll have a grand prize drawing of everyone who’s participated. Grand prize to be announced, but you’d better believe there will be cookbooks involved.
We’re not going to hold you to too many details. You used it eleven months ago? Nobody’s counting. You can choose one unused cookbook and make several recipes. You can use a different cookbook every month. The point is to try new things and give old cookbooks some exercise. And if you can’t find something you want to try?
Time to donate that cookbook to your local library sale.
I see lots of potential here. Have cookbooks you’d like to trade? Maybe we can arrange that. Need advice on how to proceed with a complicated recipe? Just ask. Someone will know.
Next week, my first CHU recipe. What will yours be? Remember, NO OLD FAVORITES! Try something new. That’s a requirement.
My Tuesday blogs are now CHUsday blogs. I’ll tell you about my successes and failures, and I hope you’ll do the same, so I can publish them here.
Let the party begin. Where will you start? It’s summer. Thinking salads? Ice cream? Frosty tropical punch? Let us know. Have fun with this, because that’s the purpose. Ya’ll cook. Starting right now!