[Ed: Gwyneth wins it by a nose! Thank you all for voting, I loved all of the feedback. Look for more Cookbook Challenge posts -- at least one a week, marked by "TCC" in the title -- in the coming weeks! )
Alright, I've got to admit something. I'm not so good with being a disciplined eater. Discipline is kind of an intense word, but really what I mean is, I'm not so fantastic with the "Oh, I want Indian food tonight? Great! Go for it!" moments. Usually, I'll give in to those moments, and then spend the next two hours lolling about my room watching Full House reruns because I am just past food coma but just before actual coma and I can't fall asleep.
What I'm saying is, I need a little push. Some rules, some direction. A challenge, if you will! Thank you very much to loyal MB reader, Miss Valerie P., for the suggestion.
Introducing: The Cookbook Challenge.
So what's going to happen is I'm going to list three cookbooks below that I a) already have, and b) have never cooked from. At all. Ever! I know, it's a travesty. we're going to fix it.
Then, you guys (yes, you!) are going to vote on which one I should use for my challenge (audience participation, y'all), and then I'm going to proceed to cook the cookbook. The whole darn thing! I'm only going to do a minimum of one recipe a week, to make it realistic, but who knows - there could be MORE than one a week! It's all very exciting.
Let's meet the contenders, shall we? A. Heidi Swanson gained her global culinary fame with her natural & whole foods approach to cooking, straight from her Northern Californian/San Francisco kitchen. This is an approach I can get behind! Her book features recipes like Homemade Granola, Summer Squash Soup, Ravioli Salad, Rye Potato Bread, and Sweet Panzanella - as well as teaching some new cooking techniques along the way.
B. Barefoot Contessa should need no introduction, but here I am anyway, typing away. Ina Garten is a self taught chef with no formal training - she relied on French and New England cookbooks for her skills, and incorporated feedback from customers and friends to perfect her recipes. Her approach to French cooking makes it accessible to any bourgeoning chef - a Julia Child for the new generation, if you will!
C. Finally, there's Gwyneth. Say what you will about her controversial soundbites and her recent breakup with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, but girlfriend looks good. Any habits she is employing (save for anything absurd or expensive) are habits I would gladly work into my repertoire. Her recipes include Sweet Potato and Five Spice Muffins, Beet Greens Soup, Easiest Posole, and Lentil Salad with Mustard and Tomatoes.
So, which do you vote for? Leave a comment with A, B, or C! Or, if you want to see me tackle an insane challenge of all three cookbooks, leave me some kind of ranking system so I at least know where to start. That would be highly appreciated.