September 15, 2009

Bake Off!

I felt inspired when Ernie shared with me this article from the Washington Post. Similar to the well known book club,"cooking club" members choose a cookbook and bake their way through, blogging about their experience, and reading and learning from one another as they go.

A spin off of Julie and Julia, I suppose.

I read the article, checked out a few of the websites and blogrolls, and contemplated how best to join in on the fun.

The Bread Baker's Challenge already exists, and the effort is in full swing. Despite a great book selection on a very tasty subject, I thought I might like to begin my own little baking challenge. I looked through my collection of cookbooks but none seemed worthy.

As a huge fan of California Cuisine, I was tempted to begin Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Cooking. However, we are heading into the dreary winter months, and in consideration for her premise to use local, in-season produce, I didn't feel it was a good match. After deliberating over several selections (there are so many fantastic cookbooks out there, and thankfully a long life ahead of me to cook 'till my heart's content) I finally settled on one titled "Cooking", in which James Peterson presents 600 recipes with step by step instruction and over 1500 photographs. It is a James Beard Foundation Book Award winner and I've read that if you cook your way through this book, you will learn how to cook.

On September 29th Peterson's sequel, "Baking", will be released. I was tempted to wait for "Baking" instead of beginning "Cooking". But the truth is, I just had a baby and I need not eat 600 recipes of cookies, tarts, custards, pies, and creams. Plus, I feel more confident in baking than I do cooking, so I think I will enjoy learning more about something I know very little.

Over the past 7 years, cooking has become a serious hobby of mine. Every week I try out a handful of new recipes, but lately I've had a desire to take my passion for cooking to the next level. I would love to master the basics and eventually create my own recipes. I suppose in lieu of going to cooking school I can just enjoy the art of cooking and the pleasure of eating in my own home, on my own terms.

I also really hope that Roscoe enjoys baking with his momma, so this will be fun for us to do together when we can. I'm not sure how long it will take me, but I will more or less follow the order of the recipes. I have already spotted several that I'm not so sure about--anything with Foi Gras in the title is a turn off. In fact, I reserve the right not to bake anything I have a moral aversion to! And I will be sure to blog a report on my adventures.

So here goes! I think I'm going to begin with the section on Breads.


  1. Excellent choice! I have his Fish and Shellfish and believe that if you could only have one book on seafood it would be your best choice. He is a superb writer with wonderful recipes.

  2. This sounds really exciting!! I want to come taste test with you!!

  3. Ernie: Yes, all of his cookbooks seem to be award winners or nominees!


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