One Year Today

Yes, Eat, Read, Record is one year old today. There were a few moments in between where I thought maybe it wouldn’t even last a year, but those moments usually lasted less than a minute. If anything, in the past year, I spent most of the time excitedly planning ahead—way ahead—and feeling guilty about not doing enough for the blog and sleeping a healthy number of hours most nights.

So in the more immediate future—say, tomorrow—I will be getting back to basics. While making Daniel Patterson’s Poached Scrambled Eggs from the Genius Recipes cookbook a couple of weeks back, I wanted to check and make sure that a low boil is what I thought it meant and stumbled upon The Kitchn’s Cooking School. This free online cooking course is comprised of 20 lessons on the basics of cooking, with videos, exercises, and recipes for you to hone your skills. Since I was struggling to come up with something to write about—and I want to really post twice a week—before the major project I had briefly mentioned in the previous post, I thought why not get back to the basics first and share that on the blog?

But since I’m not a total beginner to cooking, I’m going to go a bit beyond The Kitchn’s Cooking School to include the books I have at home. My theme lately has been about exploring and maximizing the full potential of what I already have in my kitchen. So now I want to extend that theme to what I already have in my library, whose food section has grown a great deal this past year. That means I will be revisiting Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace and digging into MFK Fisher’s How to Cook A Wolf, Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, and Julia Child’s Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking.

To me, getting back to basics also means learning to cook smarter and more economically, planning each week more thoughtfully. The older I get and the longer I teach, the more I appreciate the importance of getting the basics right and building a strong foundation. It’s like when I started learning French again from the beginning in my early 20s before progressing further despite having had four years of French in high school. I knew that my foundation was shaky and my French wasn’t going to end up very strong if I had just tried to continue where I had left off.

And frankly, the best rule-breakers are the ones who know the basics better than anyone. So getting back to basics for me is more than picking up new skills, improving existing ones, and revisiting things I may have forgotten about. It’s about deepening the knowledge by solidifying the foundation and building upon that.

So, become a student with me and follow along if you’re interested. Class begins tomorrow!

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Here are a few other upcoming projects for the next 12 months:

  • Making my Instagram posts trilingual—English, Thai, and French. I hope to start doing that next week (now that I’ve said it here, I have no excuse). I’m curious about using different languages to reach out to more people. It’s also a fun exercise and a way to brush up on my French.
  • The major project I keep hinting at is going to be called Depth of Flavor. This is where I dig deep into a cuisine for a few months and cooking 20 recipes from various cookbooks. The first edition of Depth of Flavor will be the cuisine I grew up eating but know so little about culinarily: Thai. I want to finish reading the first six chapters of David Thompson’s Thai Food first, so with all the stuff going on, it’s going to take a while. I hope to launch this either before the end of 2017 or by early 2018.
  • I still want to walk down memory lane from time to time on this blog, something I did a lot of in the beginning. So before Eat, Read, Record turns two, I want do a series of blog posts about my past home kitchens in towns and cities I used to live in. This idea has been floating around in my head a long time. So after two months-long cooking projects, this should provide a nice break.
  • I finally got around to learning about posting recipes on the blog from Smitten Kitchen—the copyright issue, etc. I do want to post more recipes on my blog to make it more useful for readers instead of just writing about cooking. Of course, that means more recipe-testing and experimenting in the kitchen to make every recipe my own, which I’m not sure I have time to do a really good job of yet. But I’ll figure it out.

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Featured image by Patryk Dziejma from Stocksnap

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