Get tips and ideas for cooking through a cookbook - a fun way to gain confidence, try new things, and really use that book! Plus, you can download a free journal to record your efforts AND join us in the challenge to cook through Ina Garten's 'Modern Comfort Food.'
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For years I've heard about people cooking through an entire cookbook. It sounded interesting, but I've never really found a cookbook I liked enough to cook through the entire thing.
I received Ina Garten's Modern Comfort Food for Christmas and was shocked to see that I wanted to make at least 95% of the recipes. That's a first for me!
So I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to cook through the whole book - but then I thought it would be even more fun with others. So I asked my weekly newsletter readers if anyone wanted to do it with me (want to be in the VIP subscriber group, too? Sign up here and get the journal, too).
Not only did I get a number of people who wanted to cook through this with me, but many of them also got the book for Christmas!
So I did a bit of research about cooking through a cookbook, came up with some ideas and tips, AND created a journal that we can all print out to keep a record of what we thought of the recipes.
Interested in joining along? Read on for more details and how to get your Cookbook Challenge Journal (which will work for any cookbook, by the way!).
Cookbook Challenge FAQ & Tips
Why Cook Through A Cookbook?
There are a number of reason why it's a fun idea to cook through a cookbook, beyond the fact of simply using a cookbook you've bought or been given (which is in itself a good thing!).
When you cook through a cookbook you'll:
- Experiment with new ingredients and techniques.
- Practice the techniques in various recipes.
- Save money by cooking more at home.
- Find favorite recipes you'll want to make again.
- Become more confident with cooking.
- Share new recipes with family and friends.
- Get a boost in adventure and creativity.
- Gain ownership of the cookbook - it will become a collection of recipes you've tried.
- Have a sense of accomplishment!
How do you start cooking through a cookbook?
There are a number of ways you can go about cooking though an entire cookbook.
- You can start at the beginning and cook through as written.
- You can pick and choose recipes as you want, keeping track of what you've made and need to make.
- You can plan the recipes to cook seasonally (ice cream in the summer and stews in the winter, etc.) with a calendar.
I've provided a calendar in the journal since I think I would like to make the recipes in the season they seem to fit best, but there are no right or wrong ways to go about it.
Are there any rules?
In doing my research I came across a number of people who had "rules" for their cookbook adventure. Things like having to try every recipe, making the recipes exactly as written, completing it in a year, and so on.
But I want this to be fun, so I'm not setting any rules for myself or you! I already know there are a couple recipes I will not make (that 5%) and I'm way past the age when making something with an ingredient I know I don't like sounds fun.
We'll let everyone decide for themselves, okay?
How do you keep track?
So this is the fun part - keeping track of your journey and making notes for each recipe you make, including if you'd want to make it again.
You can simply make a list using a notepad of the recipes you make and any notes. If spreadsheets area your thing, this would be a good place to use them.
Or you can print out the Cookbook Challenge Journal I've created!
Fill out the form below to grab your cookbook journal (if you're already a newsletter subscriber, simply go to the library and download the journal!).
Cookbook Challenge Journal Contents
The journal consists of:
- Calendars for every month of the year - undated so they can be used for any year.
- A recipe planner page where you can list the recipes to make that week/month, the ingredients you already have and those you need to buy.
- Recipe Log pages to keep track of the recipes and notes you have for each as you make them.
- An alternative Recipes at a Glance page if you'd just like to go minimal and have a simple list of the recipes you make.
You can use all of the pages, printing out as many as needed - or none of them!
Do what works for you if you'd like to take on the challenge to cook through a whole cookbook.
So, does this sound good? Would you like to join me in cooking through Ina Garten's Modern Comfort Food?
Great- I'd love to have you! Here are the steps to take:
- Buy Modern Comfort Food if you don't already have it.
- Download and print out the pages of the Cookbook Challenge Journal you'd like to use. Bind the pages any way you'd like.
- Join my Simple Healthy Living Facebook group (if you're not already a member). We'll hold the cookbook challenge in the group where we can discuss, upload photos, and more.
- Start planning and cooking!
I'm looking forward to this new challenge for 2021- and doing it with you!
Feel free to pin this or share on Facebook if you know of anyone else who'd enjoy this challenge!Disclosure: affiliate links in this article will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price. Click here to read our full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.