In the house I grew up in there was a kitchen drawer that was only to be opened under special circumstances and with a special technique; you had to hold a hand underneath otherwise the bottom would fall out. It was full of recipes that my mother had collected for years and years with the intention of “trying something new”. We ate mostly the same things over and over, and honestly my mother isn’t that preoccupied with cooking, if so it’s on special occasions that she shines(she does, to her credit, make some of the best meatballs in the world).
So naturally when I moved away from home(at a rather young age compared to many friends) I started hoarding recipes. I wrote down some, tore from magazines and photocopied a lot. I can tell you that it added up quickly. What was worse was that the recipes I tried went back into the box afterwards so it really was a chaos. At the breaking point it was a box that measured 25×40 cm and was 15 cm high; filled to the brim with thin sheets. Looking for something I knew was in there I lost it completely , and started sorting into piles “tried” and “untried” and then further on. I decided then and there to cook at least two recipes from “the box” every week until I had done them all. Short story; it took almost two years.
A lot of them were of the same kind; I found like 5-7 recipes for variations on Bouillabaisse ; I didn’t cook them all but had a look and made one that I thought combined the best of them all( hot tip; use a bit of orange zest in it, brings out the saffron wonderfully. A trick that came from swedish super chef Leif Mannerström). Some weeks I made more then two. On occasion I just looked for something easy, like a smoothie, to fill my quota. But I was at it doggedly and ,no surprise, I mostly enjoyed it and learned a lot. The recipes I had gathered naturally reflected my taste and my cooking ambitions; loads of vegetarian fare as I try to eat less meat, classic french bistro food for which I have a weakness( still dream of making the perfect sauce Béarnaise) and stuff for the cupboards during winter; pickles,jams and cordials. Everything that I liked and would make again went into I binder so I have a nice collection to refer to when I’m out of ideas.
In the cooking frenzy I was in, that did not go unnoticed by friends and family, my mother decided to give me a subscription to a cooking magazine as “you are so into cooking nowadays Suss”. While I was working my way through what I had gathered they piled up.
So the first order of the year is to go through them, rip out anything that I want to try and start again. It will be fewer this time but still a bit of a cooking challenge ahead. I won’t stick to the two a week rule but will try to make it through whatever I save. I am both hoarder and a doer oddly enough, and someone who gets really hungry around mealtime.