On Recipes, Groceries, and Cookbooks

As I was browsing Tastespotting today, I came to a conclusion about recipes that interest me. I want them to be relatively easy, and by that I mean I want to be able to find the ingredients at my grocery store (more about this later), and I don’t want to convert metric to  US standard (whatever that’s called). I’ll deal with lots of steps, many hours, and even silly things like sifting flour (which, as I’ve previously mentioned, I actually enjoy doing). But please oh please, include ingredients I can acquire without searching for an ethnic food store, and just know that I’m not going to convert the recipe. I know that last one is quite Amero-centric, seeing as how basically the rest of the world uses metric and it’s a better system and blah blah blah, but in reality, all of my measuring cups and spoons and so forth are not metric, and I  don’t have a scale to measure weight, and so it’s just not going to happen.

As far as grocery stores are concerned, we’ve found a new one. It’s called Coborn’s Delivers, and it means we don’t have to shop in person anymore. Coborn’s is a local (St Cloud, I believe) grocery company that took over Simon Delivers after it closed. We tried it last week for the first time, and were quite pleased. Delivery is only $5 if you buy at least $50 in groceries, which is pretty negligible to us, especially considering the time it takes us to go grocery shopping (which we don’t really enjoy, and have to go together most of the time, so you’re talking about an hour of two people’s time) and some gas money (our local Cub is a mile away, so that’s a pretty small amount of gas, I admit, but it’s gotta factor in there somewhere). Note that I’m not saying it’s more environmentally friendly, as there is still a truck that uses gas delivering our groceries, probably from further away than our local store. Regardless, it’s a pretty sweet deal. We’re trying it again this week, and it will hopefully go faster the longer we do it.

Figuring out what to eat, however, is always a bit of a problem. I get bored easily, and both of us have certain foods we’d prefer not to eat. One of the problems we’ve had is that I brought lots of cookbooks into our marriage full of foods that doesn’t want to eat (oh, I can feed them to him sometimes, but not often). He brought the Better Homes & Gardens classic cookbook (which is good for basics, but I haven’t really been impressed with recipes I’ve cooked from it, sad to say, even though I grew up with it too), and The New Best Recipe cookbook (which is excellent and informative, but way too wordy to even try to sift through and be inspired by, and there are no pictures!). When we combined our collection, there were also several that went to Goodwill, including a few of my vegetarian cookbooks (but not all).

Now, I like a cookbook with pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures of every single recipe is nice. doesn’t find this necessary. I’d also like a cookbook where I can attempt most of the recipes and they’ll come out right the first time (which is why I love Big Fat Cookies so much). Sadly, most of our cookbooks don’t meet these requirements. Also, I decided that what would be really helpful would be to have a cookbook that I knew would eat almost anything in it*. With that in mind, we stopped in at Barnes & Noble yesterday while waiting out a showing of our house, and looked at cookbooks. We found two: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (for ERIC), and Lunch Boxes and Snacks (for me). We haven’t tried any of the recipes from either yet, but I’m excited about the second one, because it’s written for a school child’s lunch situation, which means no refrigerator and no microwave. Options that I can eat right from my Igloo lunch box are what I want (or that can be made with the addition of hot water, because that’s readily available here).

*I’d like to note that is a pretty adventurous eater, for the most part. I am really glad that I don’t have to cater to very specific whims, like some of my friends and family do (I’ll avoid naming names, so as to protect the feelings of loved ones). I’d go crazy. I’d also like to note that we share the cooking in our house, 50/50, so he has to deal with cooking around my preferences, so it’s all fair. Let’s be honest, cooking for more than just yourself is always a bit more complicated (and occasionally frustrating). That doesn’t mean it should be avoided.