I really like to bake. For some reason, I can read a baking recipe and get it and do it and it turns out good (most of the time). I like involved, difficult, many step type recipes because they challenge me to improve my skills. I feel really good about myself after making something complicated. 4 days to make Rugulach, no problem. I am looking forward to making Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cake in Baking with Julia, whenever that is.
So why am I paralyzed when it comes to complicated cooking recipes? I read the entire Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, et al., and did not make a single recipe. There were some I had bookmarked as wanting to make, but when I went back to look at them again, I talked myself out of it.
I recently purchased Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This book is huge! It is as big as her Baking From My Home to Yours, which I adore. There are so many beautiful pictures and lovely sounding recipes. But as I read these recipes, I hear my inner voice giving me some excuse for not making them. The ingredient list is too long, or too exotic, or the picture looks like the dish would be too messy. When did mess ever stop me from baking? Really!
The other day I decided I needed to try to make something from the book, and so I thought a salad would be a good start. A salad. It’s not a main dish, it’s an accompaniment. I can do that, right? The salad I chose was her Lime and Honey Beet Salad on page 121. The ingredient list was small. I had most of them anyway. I like beets, although I don’t regularly eat them, and it would be good to try something special with them.
They turned out to be good. Not knock-your-socks-off good, but good. I liked the vinegarette. I liked the dill. It was definitely a good start.
So now I am going to try another recipe, and I think I am going to stick with the salads. Not sure which one yet. But hopefully it will go well. Maybe after a while, I can progress out of salads into something else, like vegetables. I think I will have to save the main dishes until I am really comfortable with cooking. Right now I am still not. Hopefully soon.