Surprisingly enough, I am a not a fan of cookbooks*. I am also not really a fan of food magazines. I have a few wonderful cookbooks that I have had short and passionate affairs with, but they never become long term. I have subscriptions to three food magazines, yet I haven’t opened one up in months. All they do is occupy space on my coffee table and make me feel guilty for not opening them up. I hate to be one of these people that is all digital all the time, but there is something about the ability to conjure up exactly what it is that I like so easily and extrapolate my favorite bits for the future. I do enjoy reading magazines by a pool when on vacation, especially because I don’t want to get my ipad wet with pool or margarita.
WHERE I FIND INSPIRATION
I have a love/hate relationship with Google, but it has gotten me out of many binds. Sometimes I plug in three ingredients and it brings up the most popular sites with recipes that include my ingredients… I seldom adhere to only one recipe. I will usually look at several and create my own.
You can easily find recipes from popular cook books online as well, just plug in the author and the name of the recipe and you can usually find a digital version of it. OR if you love Giada and want to see if she has a recipe for egglplant, just plug in Giada, egglplant… done.
There is a lot of crud on YouTube, but there is also tons of valuable info. I mostly call upon YouTube for techniques, not necessarily recipes… If I want to figure out how long to really cook bolognese, I look at several videos and come up with my own common sense answer. Also, you shouldn’t only look at the YouTube results with 95,000 hits because not only are they sometimes terrible, but there are videos, like my own that haven’t gone viral for one terrible reason or another, that are SOLID GOLD. ;O)
Now, I know that this is a super biased recommendation because this is one woman’s blog, but I really like her recipes and she has dedicated her life to wonderful food. I will usually combine elements of her recipes with Google finds to create my own.
Why are some people mean about Gwyneth Paltrow?… I will tell you why… first her name is Gwyneth… her parents kinda screwed her with that name. You will never hear people saying, “oh Gwyneth is such a prankster” or “Gwyneth’s new rap album with Jay Z is the biz omb” you CAN imagine people saying, “Gwyneth graduated from Oxford with a dual degree in Cartography and Fine China”.
The second reason people are mean about my Gwyneth is because they are plain old JEALOUS. She is gorgeous, can sing, act and sort of dance, is married to a rock star, has beautiful children, writes cook books, can pull off a country music movie and put out one of the best blogs I have seen in a while. I admit that GOOP may seem to target a small demographic? I am not necessarily that demographic. Not yet, but I like that it is aspirational. Her blog contains great food ideas and recipes. I learned to eat in Spain and she loves Spain, so I know that we have similar taste in food.
You don’t have to be 21 and a tech geek or planning a wedding to love Pinterest. I am muy visual, so I love Pinterest. I don’t think that you should blindly TRUST that the recipes you find on Pinterest will be good, however it is a wonderful source of inspiration. Let’s say you want to make squash… if you do a search on Pinterest for squash and love 3 or 4 gorgeous pics, then you can dig deeper and see what appeals to you. Sometimes, it is just great for seeing how to present a dish. If you love to SEE food, then Pinterest is great. FoodGawker and TasteSpotting are great visual sites too, but I prefer Pinterest.
Most restaurants publish their menus, so you don’t have to visit the restaurant or go broke to get inspired by their menus… if you hear or read that a restaurant is hot, look up their menu for ideas. Since most restaurants are really focused on farm to table and celebrating ingredients, the trend isn’t necessarily to make things that are really complex. Menus are a wonderful place to get ideas on combining ingredients that you would necessarily put together on your own like clams with chorizo or a wasabi aioli, which is just wasabi mayo.
* The exception to my cook book rule is Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food cookbook. It is far more than just a cookbook.