Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sticking with what I know

I love cooking magazines. Every year, I switch up the ones to which I subscribe. Given the hundreds of recipes I have filed by category in notebooks (yes, you read that right), I need new recipes like a hole in the head. And sometimes the magazines pile up and two months pass from the publication date before I actually get enough peace and quiet to crack the magazine open. But still, I love those cooking magazines. This fall, my little one is taking swim lessons so I've had the chance to slip a cooking magazine in my purse, and spend a weekly half hour relishing these magazines.

Well. Yesterday I made a shopping list from the recipes I’d torn from the magazines, and set about to cooking what I thought would be three fabulous new dishes for my family. I had to make a special trip to the supermarket because I never have things like liquid eggs that come in a carton, or refrigerated bread dough that comes in a tube. That should have been clue #1 that I should have stopped right there. But the pictures in the magazines looked so pretty….

I won’t even touch on the disaster that was the sausage thingies. The whole process of dealing with the sticky artificial dough grossed me out…and I put too much of my yummy filling (my adaptation of the recipe) inside so the thing wouldn’t roll the way it was supposed to. So, I just folded it into a blob and stuck it in the oven. Never mind that my husband came home to this baked blob on the counter and proclaimed it really good. That recipe was tossed before I even took a photo.

The "Seafood Cakes with Mustard Crema" from Cooking Light’s October 2009 issue weren’t much better. When I served them last night, they looked pretty (just like in the magazine photo) but it was too much effort for too little taste.

Then there was this morning’s attempt to send my husband and older child off on their (rainy, gray) father-son Y Guide campout with some fortification: "Ham and Cheese Corn Muffins". Listed under the Bake Ahead and Freeze category (again in the October 2009 issue of Cooking Light), I thought they sounded brilliant. Perhaps a new weekday breakfast to add to the repertoire? No. They are like tasteless yellow balls. Totally not worth the effort. And tell me again why I had to buy eggs in a milk carton instead of cracking the real deal?!

So, I still have this affinity for the cooking magazines, but I think I will go back to simply ogling the photos and relying on my own mom-a-licious sense of flavor combinations, texture and-- most important—simplicity when cooking for my family. And if I ever do feel like following a recipe to the letter, then I've got hundreds of tried and true ones just waiting for me.

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