PDA

View Full Version : Cook Book Projects



L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 03:58 PM
I have nothing, and until I read your post, I didn't realize that was a problem. I'm now re-thinking that.

I do have plans for a cookbook, but it won't be for a couple or three years, I don't think. I've written restaurant reviews, but that's it as far as food writing goes, unless I count my blog. Maybe I should re-think this, given that I have my mother-in-law's authentic Sri Lankan recipes that are, oh my goodness, terrific. And a couple of Sri Lankan cookbooks that were both written at least thirty years ago and are both a treasure trove of delightful stuff. This is where I admit I don't have a clue where to start. :) Hmm, maybe this is a clue...

Meanwhile, I guess I start salivating over the books that other people have. :)

Bubastes
05-29-2008, 04:25 PM
You need to do that Sri Lankan cookbook project! I can't even begin to imagine what the food there is like. That would be such a unique book. Do eeet! :)

L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 04:33 PM
*laughs* I don't know about unique - there are Sri Lankan cookbooks kicking around, usually by people who are actually Sri Lankan. Mine would be different because I'd be telling stories about the expat going through culture shock at the same time. Or something like that. Or learning about Sri Lankan cooking from her mother in law who speaks very little English, but still mostly gets her point across anyway.

In the early days of my cooking lessons with her (I've got an amazingly terrific mother in law - I lucked out!), I basically chopped everything that she tossed in front of me, then watched as she put everything together and estimated the quantities involved and wrote down my interpretation of what her recipe was. I must have done a decent enough job since I do most of the cooking when they're here and they eat it voluntarily. :) (Although, really, they're too polite to complain anyway.)

The food here is, well, great. Although I'm currently sick of it and have been for the last six months, but hey, I ate mostly rice and curries for four and a half years, so it's not that surprising. I need a break. :) So I made more naan today, and it's still the best recipe I ever did have. :)

Bubastes
05-29-2008, 04:38 PM
*laughs* I don't know about unique - there are Sri Lankan cookbooks kicking around, usually by people who are actually Sri Lankan. Mine would be different because I'd be telling stories about the expat going through culture shock at the same time. Or something like that. Or learning about Sri Lankan cooking from her mother in law who speaks very little English, but still mostly gets her point across anyway.


See, I think that's a very cool angle to have in a book. Sometimes an "outsider" may do a better job translating a culture's food to a general audience because they don't take anything for granted or leave out critical details. They went through the learning process and understand what information readers will need to go through the same process. Don't sell yourself short!

L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 04:52 PM
True! See, I need to be reminded of that... I tend to sell myself short.

One of my pet peeves here is that a cup can be anywhere from 160 to 200 ml, and instead of tablespoons and teaspoons, we have dessert spoons. And we have bottles as a unit of measure, but how big of a bottle? No, really, how big? And a bag of this or a bag of that - how big a bag? One coconut, shredded. How big a coconut? A small one, a big one, or a little one? The milk of one coconut - again, how big of a coconut, and how thick is the milk? First pressing? Second or third? All? And this is what shows up in the local cookbooks! How can anyone possibly replicate any recipe when dealing with unknowns like this?

I do agree that most of these cookbooks are written for people who know how it's supposed to turn out, what the various steps look like, and just need to be reminded of ingredients and/or proportions that they already learned in their mother's kitchen. I want to write something that the average Josephina who's never had Sri Lankan food before can replicate. Including why you should never have manioc the same day you eat ginger. :)

But I still think I need to try out more of the recipes in the cookbooks and work on perfecting them for a western audience. Although, I tell you, there are so many vegetables I can eat the Sri Lankan way that I could never stomach the Canadian way.

Right. So I should be keeping these comments as notes for the proposal, right?

Bubastes
05-29-2008, 04:55 PM
Right. So I should be keeping these comments as notes for the proposal, right?

Exactly!