Friday, November 20, 2009

Happiness is... Free Recipes

Today, I fell in love with Google, all over again.

I am pretty good at hunting things down on the internet when I need something, but every now and then I forget to even look. Today I was able to use Google to quickly and easily find two recipes I thought I had lost.

Back when I was married, my ex and I did a lot of cooking. Naturally, we owned a ton of cookbooks. We also were fond of cooking magazines like "Food and Wine" and "Cuisine." Since I'm the type of cook who enjoys being in the kitchen in part because I like making and trying new dishes, that gave us all the more reason to buy a lot of cookbooks.

When we split, the cookbooks were roughly divided up. I got all of mine that I had before the marriage and some that were gifts to me while we were married. He kept the ones we had bought together or that were given to him. For the most part I was absolutely fine with this division, but later I realized that in his books were two recipes I loved... and missed.

It is very rare that I miss a recipe. As I said, part of the reason I like to cook is to make something new. My father was the same way. He liked to make a recipe once, maybe twice, and then he was pretty much done with it. You really had to cajole him to make something if he was bored with the recipe. His apple pie was a prime example. My father made the best apple pie ever. Seriously, I have yet to have a pie that rivals his. Heck, I wish I had a tenth of his pie crust making skills! As I recall, he enjoyed making the first few - it was a challenge. For years after that though, it took begging. Mom would buy bushels of apples, which she kept on the three season porch. We knew then that it was time to start asking for homemade applesauce and apple pies. Mom made the applesauce, so we could get that pretty easily, but the apple pie took some work.

Now that I cook myself, I understand his reluctance. Once I've made something more than a few times, it stops being fun for me and starts becoming work. So, the fact that I actually miss recipes is really saying something! I didn't really want to buy the cookbooks that these recipes were in again - it seems a bit silly to buy a new cookbook for just one recipe. I did consider, briefly, going into a bookstore and attempting to find the cookbooks and then copy down the recipe there, but this wasn't quite as easy as it sounds either. While one of them would probably be fairly simple to find, (it was in one of the Mayo Clinic's cookbooks,) the other was from a "Food and Wine" supplemental - somewhere between a magazine and a thick cookbook, it wasn't the kind of thing likely to be on the bookstore shelves. I had no idea where I could get that from again, especially since I didn't remember exactly when it came out. So, I was pretty sure one of the recipes was lost forever. ...that is until today, when I typed both of them into Google and they popped right up!

They are:

Chili Dusted Pork Chops

Shrimp and Mango Curry

(Really both of these are summer dishes, but I was thinking of them because I have both pork chops and edamame in my freezer right now. )

I bring this up for two reasons - 1) I was incredibly happy to find both of these without having to spend a penny and 2) it was a instant object lesson in keeping it simple. Seriously, for the last year and a half, whenever I thought about these recipes (which happened every now and again this summer) I would think about going to bookstore with a pad of paper and a pen or trying to order these cookbooks used online so I could get a good deal on them - it never occurred to me until today to simply type "shrimp mango Mayo clinic" into Google and see what showed up on the search results! It was just reminder that it's frequently a smart idea to start with the easiest and less expensive options first - you can always get more complicated later!

Photo of the pile of cookbooks by: pirate johnny
via flickr

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