Many of you already know that I love to cook. It is a fun thing for me to try new recipes, make things from scratch, and then of course I love to eat what I've cooked! (The clean-up is another story. :)) So much do I love to cook that in my spare time you could often find me reading cookbooks, just for fun, to get ideas for new things to make. Now, there are cookbooks and then there are cookbooks. Some cookbooks are lovely to look at, with full color photos and detailed instructions, but are totally impractical because they require ingredients that no one has ever heard of, or that would cost an arm and a leg to purchase. Other cookbooks are more plain, no pictures or frills, just giving you the essential information. The Joy of Cooking is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. If you never knew anything about how to cook, you could learn just by using this book. It describes in detail both the products to buy and the process of preparing everything from a roasted turkey to an apple pandowdy. Another cookbook ranking high on the list was a wedding gift from my mom and dad--the Hull Christian School Cookbook. This is a no-nonsense cookbook, filled with home cooking style recipes that we grew up on. If you don't know how to make hotdish, this cookbook is the answer. A third favorite cookbook in my collection was my birthday gift from John this year--a beautiful Thai cookbook with many delicious and do-able recipes inside. So we have been enjoying some Thai favorites like Thai fried rice, mango sticky rice, cashew chicken, and red chicken curry.
But, recently I was loaned a copy of what may be the definitive Baking cookbook of all time--Williams Sonoma's Baking. After my first glance through this cookbook I was fairly drooling. Muffins, cakes, cookies, pizzas, homemade breads, you name it, they had it. Now some of you may remember that baked goods are a little difficult to come by here in this Asian country. Most food is stir fried, boiled or steamed--no one uses an oven because their cuisine does not require it and therefore no one knows how! So in the 2+ years that we have lived here, I have enjoyed doing some baking (Cinnamon Rolls on Saturdays!) but have been a little limited by the size of my oven. For those of you who have never seen my oven, I will post a picture here for your perusal. This was last Thanksgiving. Where is the oven, you say? On top of the microwave, of course! And the sweet potatoes were in the pans, the green beans steaming in the rice cooker, the stuffing in the crock pot . . . you get the idea.
The moral of the story is that my little oven has never seen so many tasty things pass through it; lately we've had Apple Crumble, some tasty carrot-raisin muffins, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and last night's edition was a lovely version of cranberry orange muffins. The family has been enjoying my forays into the world of Williams Sonoma Baking. In the words of Clara Anne, "More, please!" Are you hungry yet?