If Noah’s Ark had a chef position, I’d make a worthy candidate as I’ve cooked up a boatload of food during the last 40 days. In that time, I’ve been living a sort-of culinary Groundhog Day, as I’ve endlessly bounced between recipe research, grocery shopping, and hours upon hours of timing, testing, and tasting.
Developing recipes is one of the favorite parts of my job because I’ve always liked learning languages and recipes are just another form of communication — the language of the kitchen if you will. The catch is that I’ve never had to develop so many recipes in so little time. While working at CHOW and on Ask Aida, I wrote nearly 100 recipes a year, but for this book, I’ve had to sculpt nearly 150 in 1/10 of the time. To say the least, it’s been an exercise in creative endurance and I learned a few things along the way:
Food shopping should be an Olympic sport
I thought I was an efficient shopper before I started in on this book but I’ve now become speedier than ever. Sure, I’ve received a few sideways glances as I make like a multi-armed Shiva in a bumper car racing up and down aisles in record time, but I take dorky pride in the fact I can shop at record-breaking speeds.
Taste is subjective — to a point
The advantage of coming from a big family is that there are a lot — as in twelve — mouths to feed and just as many opinions to weigh in on my creations. Inevitably, some people are more in tune with their tastebuds than others, and life experiences play a bit part in food preferences, but there is a sweet spot where you hit where a recipe becomes universally appealing.
Working on so many varied recipe ideas at once has been a creative whirlwind, but has also taken me to the brink of burn out. I’ve had to admit to myself when enough is enough and take some down time when I’m spinning my wheels instead of whipping up quality meals.
I’ve learned a lot these last 40 days but the biggest takeaway is that writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve still got a long time before it’s officially done, but, for today, I’m taking solace that I’ve made it to the halfway point and am rewarding myself with a few days of R&R to rejuvenate.