Jun 28, 2024

A Very Fun New Cookbook for Newbie and Experienced Cooks Alike

I didn't have much to put in a roundup the last couple of weeks, so I'm trying something different and sharing something that's been bringing me a lot of joy (I've marked affiliate/referral links with a *, which means I may make a little bit of money if you make a purchase or sign up using that link - thank you!):

My older son has finished his freshman year at college, and will be living off-campus when he returns in the fall. So he's decided to learn to cook this summer, using a new James Beard Award-winning cookbook by Sohla El-Waylly called Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook.* So far, he's made three recipes and they've all been outstanding: a mix-and-match Raita (which was supposed to be a dip but came out more of a sauce that was delicious with vegetables), Watermelon Chaat (which I learned is a take on Indian street food), and Four Fat Egg Tacos (made with the best soft-boiled jammy eggs I've ever had).

Photo via HelloSohla.com

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of my son's food, but the book has lots of mouthwatering photos that you can see on Amazon and Penguin Random House.

The best thing about this summer cooking project that despite the instructions in the cookbook, my son still needs me. 😂 He needs me to produce the appropriate tools and pantry ingredients, show him how to use them, and so on. So I'm getting lots of memorable quality time with him, which is absolutely delightful.

Perhaps because this cookbook is aimed not specifically at beginners, the tools and ingredients go beyond the basic. This works well for us, because my kitchen is quite well-stocked, but I do wonder just how much I'll have to buy to properly kit out my son's rental kitchen in the fall.

Also because this cookbook is not aimed specifically at beginners, the recipes are truly exceptional. So far nothing has been particularly difficult, technique-wise. But the flavors are complex and not in combinations we normally have, despite none of the ingredients being unusual. So we are all greatly enjoying the results of my son's project, and looking forward to trying out more dishes throughout the summer.

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