What’s The Big Idea?

Hello, and welcome to our blog! Who are we?

Jan: a homemaker and mom of 4 who has been cooking for 22 years and is officially cooked-out.  After serving 6 people 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, for 22 years Jan is sick of kitchen work. Her love of cookbooks and recipes has dimmed in the face of mountainous stacks of dirty dishes and hours of cleaning that leave her feet sore and her back aching. An impressive library of 70+ cookbooks, recipe booklets, and recipe boxes sits in a corner of the kitchen, used only when inspiration hits and an extra few minutes of cooking time become available (a very rare occurrence). Jan’s daily meal plans have been reduced to the grinding bordom of pulling meat out of the freezer, boiling potatoes, and throwing in random seasonings. Baking is the only kitchen activity that brings joy anymore, but unfortunately men cannot live by bread alone…

Barbi: a college senior with a creative bent who possesses an annoying desire to fix all problems. Studying fashion design and publishing at the University, conveniently located 20 minutes away, Barbi is living (and eating) at home until she graduates. Recognizing her mom’s culinary lethargy, and being the solution-driven type, Barbi formulated a plan to make cooking exciting again. Combining the neglected kitchen library, a love for blogs and writing, Jan’s technological ability, and a rainy Saturday afternoon with a little will power, the mother-daughter duo launched the Experiment…

Our goals:
1. To renew Jan’s love of cooking (before her nest empties)
2. To inspire Barbi’s growing love of cooking (before she flies the coop)
3. To make meals fun for the rest of the family (before they do whatever food-bored men do)
4. To put the 70+ cookbooks to good use
5. To create memories and induce laughter in every situation  🙂

So there you have it. The Cookbook Experiment. For 5 days a week Jan and Barbi will choose a new (ie: never tried) recipe from one of the cookbooks and incorporate it into a meal. We will then voluntarily humiliate ourselves by posting our experience with the new recipe, including the family’s responses, the recipe itself, and photos of the whole process for the world to see! Well, maybe not the world but at least a small audience (you).  Thanks for joining us and stay tuned!


Side-Dish Saturday

Saturdays are a tough day to plan an entire meal, especially when the kids are spread all over town and girlfriends or boyfriends are at the house and no one has a schedule that lines up with anyone else’s. A few people will still be eating breakfast when someone else is ready for lunch, so the usual weekend mantra is “fend for yourself”. The solution: we decided to make a new side dish every Saturday that can compliment whatever food is being thrown together between study breaks and meetings. For our first Side-Dish Saturday, we chose a deviled egg recipe from the Best of Country Cooking 2002 cookbook and added a few tweaks of our own..

Deviled Eggs with a Twist (or tweak, if you like)

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
5 tsp. sugar
5 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Paprika and minced fresh parsley
Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. 

In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork.  Add all ingredients except paprika and parsley and mix well with fork. 

 Spoon mixture into egg whites.  Garnish with paprika and minced parsley. 

 Chill 1 hour and serve.

*If using medium sized eggs rather than large, cut back the vinegar to 3 tsp. instead of 5.

Easy-peasy! Family responses to come.