Me Becoming Marco Polo

I love cookbooks … actually I’m obsessed with them !!!

Like good art they require your attention … stimulate your senses … Imagination must be used – to try and grasp the scent … to figure out the feeling of the textures in your mouth … to envision the tastes …

I’ve been collecting cookbooks for so many years – I had to develop a unique “give away books you are never going to open again since you do not have the means to buy a bigger house to store them since you spent all your means on buying cookbooks” routine.

Cookbooks (like humans) are not all born equal. A short glimpse at any cookbook shelve will reveal the true story of their existence … blue-collars vs. champagne-caviar-oyster-collars (AKA CCO-Collars)

Stained greasy pages will expose any Blue-collar. Spending their days in hot kitchens, exposed on a daily basis to countless dangers in the form of sauces/flours/eggs/oils … spending the nights discarded on kitchen counter-tops – waiting for yet another day of hard labor.

CCO-collars on the other hand …

Well … those cocky amazingly looking, exaggeratedly over-weighted , self-aware, stainless, spotless books … they maintain a lifestyle most of us can only dream of.

Like Hollywood stars (or Shabbat Candles) they were created to be seen but not to be touched. Presented on the hottest real estate in the house, admired by all, nourished on praises and flattery … a club of their own – desired yet unreachable …

A few years ago i decide to challenge this outrageous class hierarchy. It was time to take those spoiled CCOs and show them the way to my kitchen – as simple as …

That was the task deposited in the hands of my TBD group (see The Tale of the TBD Musketeers) – and we rose to the challenge – big time !!!

Not without a fight … it was no piece of cake … they were heavy – hard to manage – ingredients were countless and hard to source – instructions were endless – pots were pilling … but we prevailed !!!

Like the author of the inspiring blog French Laundry At Home who cooked every recipe in The French Laundry cookbook – we managed to cook dishes from those cookbooks – and the results were Delicious !!!

Two years ago I became a vegetarian.

This change has took my cooking into a whole new direction. I had to learn all the basics again – how to build rich complex deep flavor using … well … vegetables.

Took me a while to learn the tricks … my pantry was filled with all new types of ammunition … seaweed and mushrooms … fermented “everything” … nutritional yeast … legumes … Asian grocery stores became my playground. I’m still in the process of learning – of trying – of improving …

Now I decided to set an expedition … to the vegetarian wilderness – waiting to be explored – waiting for recognition !!!

I want to revisit those snobby books. But this time – I will wear my “I don’t see any recipe that includes any meat or fish” glasses.

By cooking the vegetarian recipes from those fancy cookbooks – I will try and answer the question : Can vegetarian food be as tasty and as exciting as non-vegetarian food ?

This blog is about sharing this experience – my attempt to step out of my comfort zone and wonder into the high-end vegetarian cooking territories. I’ll be sharing the process – the results – my thoughts …

You are welcome to join me on this journey … read my posts – write comments – share your thoughts – ask questions – give feedback – challenge me …

But most importantly – keep me company !!!



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