Current Inspirations, March 2021

Thanks to all for your patience with last week’s hiatus; I took a much-needed vacation and used the time to adequately recharge. There will be a bonus post to type up my notes from last week’s wine (I did do my homework!), but I unfortunately didn’t have the chance or the energy to upload here.

To end the month, I thought I would share some of the things that have set the spark aflame for ongoing projects. Sure, sometimes I find random things online (thank you reddit!), or friends and family send me cool links related to my interests, but lately certain shows and books have commanded my attention at a much higher level.

Beginning with drool-worthy foodie television:

  • Good Eats, created by and starring Alton Brown, also known for his many appearances and shows on Food Network. Most current season (well, all of them now, really) is available on Discovery+. Informative, geeky, and immensely amusing demos with the full recipes available online.
  • Nadiya Bakes, starring Nadiya Hussain, formerly a contestant on “The Great British Baking Show.” Baking, still smoke and mirrors and lots of black magic to me, seems easy and accessible in the way she delivers her recipes to the audience. On top of that, she has gleeful enthusiasm that has me grinning from the moment an episode begins. She also shares the last bake of the day with her camera crew, which is super cute. Available on Netflix.
  • Bobby and Giada in Italy, starring Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network fame. A short four-part series at the moment, I’m still entranced by their contrasting perspectives on Rome and Tuscany, as one grew up there and the other is fully American. They talk about culture, tradition, and so much lovely food. Of course, they also share recipes each episode. Did you know you could poach an egg in red wine and red wine vinegar? Blew my mind. Unfortunately, these episodes are only found on Discovery+ at the moment.
  • Great British Baking Show, available on Netflix. I’ve seen every season at least twice by now, and I’m still learning from them. History, baking styles, what not to do as well as fun tricks to try in baking. While I think Paul (one of the judges) is a jerkface in general, blue eyes and silver hair be damned, the contestants offer wonderful moments of fun and camaraderie you really don’t see in American cooking competition shows. Feel-good TV with food.

Currently reading for culinary crafting:

  • The University Wine Course by Marian W. Baldy, PhD. Recommended to me by a presenter at a recent wine conference (over Zoom, of course) as an incredible resource for those wishing to continue their wine learning. Although a good bit of it is a review of pre-learned material on my part, repetition helps my brain re-absorb the information more fully. When I start my wine diploma, having read this book, I should have a decent leg up; there are quizzes at the end of each chapter to help with further retention and review. While not strictly about cooking and making, wine is great for food pairing… which makes food even better.
  • The New Essentials Cookbook: A Modern Guide to Better Cooking by America’s Test Kitchen. A recent (and wonderful) gift, this book is more than a stack of recipes bound together. It contains tips, techniques and strategies relevant to not only the immediate recipe, but others in a similar vein, in order to improve ongoing skills as a cook. Sidebars and appendices also provide great information about why chefs do things a certain way, or even ways to hack the system a little bit. I’m enjoying the hell out of it!
  • D.I.Y Cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It by America’s Test Kitchen. Another gift, but one I haven’t had the chance to really dive into quite yet. I’m very excited, though, because though curing and fermentation fascinates me, it also scares me a bit.
  • The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Gives quite a bit of background information on the hows and whys behind the science and art of fermenting food and drink. Eager to get further into it.
  • Mastering Basic Cheesemaking by Gianaclis Caldwell. More fermentation with a focus on cheese. A recent purchase after my cheesemaking class, but I was waiting until after my vacation to really get started. There’s also the fact that I have a potential contact at a local farmer’s market to get fresh goat’s milk, so I wanted to have access to those materials as I worked through the book.

Any books or shows you recommend about food and cooking? Let me know!

Published by Allie

Foodie explorer with Stardew Valley dreams. Lover of wine but not beer, cheese but not milk, and all things chocolate. Working to learn as many self-sufficient, at-home food production skills as possible.

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