Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coloring in the Lines

It was the 1st grade when I realized that I had a paperwork problem. I had piles and piles of papers stuffed in my desk, all half finished. Upon its discovery, my teachers pulled me aside and told me to stop trying to color in the lines so perfect and to just worry about doing the actual work.

This sped things up quite a bit, but I missed the coloring. It's easy to see that I still get wrapped up in piles of paper, little notes or half full (pretty) notebooks.

I have been working on the cookbook rather feverishly over the last few days. Overall things are going smoothly except for when I run into a paperwork problem. That problem, in this case, can be very time consuming. You see, when I want to cook something, I usually use a base recipe and then modify it as I see fit. Most times, the recipe easily becomes my own because, well, I've changed basically everything but the meat and overall feel of the dish (a curry will always be a curry, for example). The trouble is, I don't often write it down. Or worse, I write it down on a random piece of paper without making a note about what recipe it was for. So I'll find little post-it note sized paper with things like:

1 t. cinn -->2.5

Cook with pickling spice, add lemon

Which is great and all, but...what was I making when I wrote that? Why didn't I write it on the actual base recipe? Why didn't I write "Shrimp Bisque" on the top so I could make the changes later?

I don't know why. But it's a stupid habit that has cost me some time. And it's made me laugh at myself when, I tear my desk, kitchen and cabinets apart looking for clues to help me figure out these cryptic notes.

The good news is that this time I figured it out...but I wonder how many other little notes are floating around out there and whether or not I'll ever get a handle on paperwork.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Some of you (who *might* still be reading) are friends with me on Facebook and I think it was there I announced that I am writing a cookbook. I have all of the recipes already-many of them are recipes from when I was a private chef last year-so that part won't be too terribly hard to pull together. It's the photos that will be difficult for me. I don't want the book to look amateurish. I'm not going to a traditional publisher but instead an online bookmaking nice pictures will be imperative. So far, I have this one for my Thai Shrimp recipe:

I'm happy with it. I waited for a sunny day so I could use natural light and I set up my tripod and played with the settings on the camera. I took probably about 75 photos of this one plate from many different angles. All but about 3 of them were duds. I'm happy I got one that I like!

So that's where I am in the cookbook process. I'm compiling recipes, cooking and taking pictures. Maybe once the sun comes out in New England the pace will pick up a bit!