Cook the Books! A Cookbook Challenge!

Cook the Books 2013 Cookbook Challenge is here!

cook the books cookbook challenge grow and resist

Yes! That is right! Hold up, you say? Huh? Yes, it is true. Briggs and I dreamed up a little event for the year that we will host together.  A year-long challenge of cookbooks! Each month we will focus on a new cookbook. There will be classics and new cookbooks. You will find broad genres, as well as more specific books. Our goal is to explore new cookbooks or techniques in an approachable, supportive, and fun way. I gotta tell you, it was hard picking just 12. Have you seen the cookbooks out there? They are fantastic!

But why cookbooks? It is pretty simple really. We love food. We love cooking. We love books. Therefore, we love cookbooks. Maybe you do too? We certainly hope so!

Cook the Books (According to Wiktionary): “A metaphor for cooking, whereby ingredients are changed, altered and improved by the process.”

Sure, the internet has an abundance of recipes. There definitely is no shortage of food blogs.  However, there is something deliciously glorious about an actual-hold-in-your-hands-get-splotched-up cookbook. The kind you can carelessly flip through, turn pages down for later, and jot notes to yourself in the margins. A good cookbook is both a joy to cook from and a great read. I know some of you have cookbooks on your bedside table, right?

Cookbooks have also been vetted. And, particularly important to me, they are already organized. I mean, come on, honestly- how often can you actually find a recipe that you hastily ripped out of a magazine in the dentist’s waiting room, bookmarked on your computer, or printed out at work when no one was looking? Right, that would be never.

And, they are BOOKS. Books rule! There is something magical about books. Seattleites (and other prominent PNW locales) take their books pretty seriously. I mean we have Nancy Pearl, the librarian that has her own action figure. Enough said.

cook the books cookbook challenge grow and resist

How Cook the Books works:

  • Last Friday of the month (usually):  We will alternate between the two of us giving an introduction to the new book. (December 28th will be first introduction)
  • During the 3rd week of the month sometime (likely Friday) you will post your entry for the month.  Be sure to send us a link to: so we don’t miss your entry! If you think you are going to participate drop us a line or leave us a comment so we can make sure we have you in our reader. Don’t have a blog and want to play along? You can leave a comment on the round-up post!
  • Last Wednesday of the month (usually): We will post a round-up of participants.
  • The dates are subject to change, but we will let you know in advance about all dates and/or date changes.
  • We will give you a list of the four books at a time so that you have time to get the book.

Our desire isn’t to boss you around (much anyway), rather, we want to challenge ourselves (and you!) to really dig into some cookbooks that we think sound fantastic. We also know that life is stressful enough without freaking out over a blog deadline. I mean really? That is just totally ridiculous. (And I’m totally guilty of the deadline freak out.) Need to skip a month? Go for it! Need it to be gluten-free, paleo, soy-free, vegan, whatever? Play! Experiment!  Go forth! Use the cookbook how you want to use the cookbook. And then, tell us about it.

Aha! But before you go forth, a few words to live by. Recipe attribution. It is a thing. A real deal. David Lebovitz has some words of wisdom on the subject here. For the purposes of Cook the Books, we would actually prefer it if you did not give us the full recipe. We are more interested in the context. More cookbook club-esque and book review than recipe recitation. Of course, you are able to give us a recipe. But no word for word copying. It just isn’t right. Or cool.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask!

So, without further ado, the first 4 months of Cook the Books 2013 (and who will do introduction):

  • January: Around My French Table– Dorie Greenspan. Ridiculously delicious sounding French home cooking. People love Dorie and I’ve never cooked with Dorie. I’m excited! (Me)
  • February: Asian Dumplings– Andrea Nguyen. Oh my goodness do I love dumplings. Any kind. And this covers just about all of them from samosas to potstickers to spring rolls to lumpia. (Briggs)
  • March: Good Fish– Becky Selengut. Sustainable seafood choices and what to do with it once you’ve chosen. I know nothing, zero, zilch about seafood! Non-well-known fact: I don’t actually eat seafood. I’m jumping in and going to the expert. (Me)
  • April: The Mile End Cookbook-Noah Bernamoff. Jewish comfort food. Yes, my mouth is watering already. (Briggs)
    cook the books cookbook challenge grow and resist

    Dorie! Right there on the ol’ library shelves!

    And, finally, pop over to see what Briggs has to say about the challenge! We both hope you decide to participate! As the challenge goes on, we will be cross-posting introductions and round-ups so you don’t miss a thing!

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53 Responses to Cook the Books! A Cookbook Challenge!

  1. jjabson says:

    love that the March book is Good Fish…as a fellow Pisces, this makes everything feel right in the world.

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  3. emmycooks says:

    Yum! Sounds like I need to go cookbook shopping. 🙂

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  8. Ida says:

    I don’t have a blog, but would love join in the fun. Please let me know what to do. Thanks!

    • Thanks Ida! It should be fun! You can start a blog (Chuck and Reese too!) or can leave us a comment on our round up. I’ll be talking some on my Facebook page too….so there will be chances to head about your experiences!

  9. Pingback: Cook the Books! Around My French Table with Dorie Greenspan « oh, briggsy…

  10. Aimee G says:

    I’ve already requested the first two online from the library! I am just now writing my last post after cooking my way through The Breakfast Book with pals, but believe I am up for this too. Count me in 🙂

  11. Cynthia says:

    I think I will give it a shot! Thanks for doing it…

  12. lynn says:

    Fantastic idea! I don’t know if I’ll get my rear in gear enough to participate, but I will certainly enjoy reading about everyone else’s experiences 🙂 Thanks for doing this.

  13. aarthi says:

    hi – i plan to participate too! (thanks to local kitchen for bringing me into the loop!).
    don’t have a blog …so will need to start one now! exciting!

  14. Angela says:

    We would like to participate, this sounds fun. 🙂

    • Angela says:

      This is the first time we’ve participated in a cook the book, so just one question. Does each cook choose their own recipe from the cookbook of the month? 🙂

      • Yep! It is really an opportunity to dig into a new cookbook and explore. Make something– change it up if you need to for preferences/allergies/tolerances/etc– and let us know how you liked it. The book. The writing. Etc. Really…whatever you want to make. More like a virtual cookbook club, if that helps! Glad you are going to participate!

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  16. Marisa says:

    Can’t wait to try this. I would love to participate.

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  18. sconelady says:

    I’d love to participate. Will have to add my comments in the round-up since I’m not a blogger

  19. Please count me in too!!! I’m excited to try this!

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  23. Susan Milne says:

    Sounds like a blast. Is it too late to join? I already have the first book!

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  25. expatchef says:

    Awww…I would love to participate, but unfortunately, there is no way I could find those books in Spain unless I buy them online and the shippig costs are horrible. Snniff sniff……good luck though,, sounds totally fun!

    • Ah no! I am sorry you won’t be able to! Look to the end of the month wrap up to read about what others did! And, I believe that Dorie Greenspan posts some recipes on her website and I’ve found them various other places. You wouldn’t get the feel of the cookbook itself and how it reads and such, but maybe an idea?

      • expatchef says:

        Will definitely keep checking out your site! And I will just do some on my own anyhow, as I have a million books that I never get into! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

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  31. Karen says:

    I just jumped back on the French Fridays with Dorie bandwagon and I have checked out a copy of Asian Dumplings from the library. I am excited to participate this month! 🙂

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