A couple of days ago, I was (once again) trying to answer that eternal question . . . What’s for dinner? . . . when I had a little idea.

I mean, I do like to cook.

And I’ve been doing it for long enough now . . . that I have a pretty good sense of things. A solid repertoire of “old standbys.” A good understanding of the foods my people like to eat. A strong sense of flavors and how they work together. How to put togther a menu. That kind of thing. And I generally get good results — even when I go off the recipe rails and try things on my own.

But, some of the time, figuring out what to cook . . . again . . . just feels overwhelming and tedious. (Surely this can’t be just me.)

When I want to plan ahead and beat back boredom, I like to try something new and exciting (although I will settle just for “new” most of the time). And when I’m looking for some novelty, I usually turn to my own. . . Cookbook Central . . . for answers and inspiration.

I’ve got a little desk in my kitchen, and I keep my cookbooks on a shelf there, with even more cookbooks stored away in the cupboard above . . .

I really like cookbooks.
And not just to hunt around in for recipes. I actually like to read them, too!

Some of the cookbooks in my collection are very, very well used. And some? I’ve not used much at all (yet). You can tell which cookbooks I’ve used a lot. They’re the ones filled with markers and post-it notes.

Now that the weather is turning cold again, I’m drawn to hearty meals I can prepare inside. (During the summer, we’re all about salads and something-on-the-grill, but come fall, I get more serious about cooking.)

So (and here’s the idea), I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit this winter . . . by trying at least one new recipe every week. My plan is to choose a cookbook at the beginning of the month, and then try one new recipe from that cookbook each week.  It will spur me on to grab for cookbooks I’ve been intending to use more, and will help me build my repertoire of recipes. (Y’know. To help me answer that eternal question . . . what’s for dinner?)

This month? I’m going with . . .

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

I’ll report back next month!
Bon appétit!


How about you? Do you have favorite cookbooks? Do you like to try new recipes? And if you do, what’s your strategy for building your repertoire?