The Anti-Cookbook

I’ve never really been into cookbooks. I peek at a recipe now and again for guidance, or on occasions where I’m making something totally new, but I cook mostly using techniques, not recipes. I learned by looking, tasting and doing, not by reading. And when I do need a recipe for reference, hundreds of options are available on my phone within seconds. Moreover, these recipes are almost all free to access and rated by popular consensus. It’s really convenient, but it comes with the caveat that you have to scroll through a poorly formatted ten-page blog post littered with ads to actually get to the recipe. Cookbooks can be the same way–pedantic, long winded, personal–though more care is taken with the writing. Hardcover cookbooks often give a glimpse into the life and philosophy of a well-known chef or personality that drives people to purchase them; the best ones are as much “book” as they are “cook”. But that still hasn’t been enough to get me to buy one for myself, let alone read one I’ve gotten as a gift cover to cover. Why read and look at pictures when I could listen and watch famous chefs cook with mown eyes? I don’t have a great answer to that question–I just haven’t found it.

What I do have though is a disheveled mental archive of the recipes and techniques that I’ve learned or created over the course of my life. Writing a proper cookbook would be an exercise in regulating my creative process to a standard that normal, non-chef types can work with. I can deal with that, but I’d rather not. I’d also rather not try to sell my recipes on a gimmick–like using AAVE to sell mediocre food to white people–or from behind a wall of shitty blogging about how much I love Parker House Rolls. People enjoy the things I cook (they said so). They also ask me for cooking advice, which I enjoy giving; I learned to cook the exact same way. I don’t know everything, but it can be hard to relate to someone who knows everything.

My idea is this: an ongoing, casual, recipe first (on the page) online cookbook. I like to eat foods that make my brain feel good and don’t cost half of your paycheck to eat. I also don’t like being told what to do or adhering to strict rules. I know there are other people out there who feel the same way stuck in a habit of eating frozen tendies and take out. My goal, if you could call it that, is to remove some of the hesitation or mental blockage preventing people from cooking for themselves. Included are the people who want to cook, but just think they don’t know how. I want to show people that as long as they like when food tastes good, they can make food taste good for themselves too. If you need another reason, knowing how to cook also makes you more attractive to everyone I think.

There’s a time for frozen tendies and a time for Chinese takeout. There’s also time to make a pot of rice and make your own sesame chicken. Why would you not want to spend fifteen dollars and fifteen minutes of your time to save money on a week’s worth of pulled pork sandwiches? Doesn’t really make sense to me. I want people to be able to get as much out of the food that they eat as I do. Not nutrients, but the good brain chemicals–the drugs ones. Just buy a meat thermometer if you undercook your chicken, get out a spoon for tasting and don’t get too scared of burning stuff because sometimes burnt stuff tastes good.

Bonus Paragraph: I’ll update posts with pictures as much as I’m able. Also–if you have any questions or troubles or even want to request that I do a post about a specific food you like you can literally just text me or email me, send a pigeon, etc.

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