My first cookbook truly changed my life. I became vegetarian a few weeks before I got it and knew nothing about cooking. This was back in the 80’s when it wasn’t as easy to find quick substitutes or even vegetarian meals on every menu.
I read The New Moosewood Cookbook like it was fiction, curled up in a chair reading into the middle of the night. I processed all the how-to’s and recipes over and over again until the words ‘diced’ and ‘simmer’ were etched into my head. I immersed myself into Mollie’s words, but it was all of her beautiful illustrations that really made all those new words become clear.
Little by little I got confident enough to try a few recipes. While not everything turned out as planned – all of it got eaten. I made soups, stews, casseroles, and recipes that were from countries far away from Winston (Salem).
I branched out to more cookbooks by Mollie Katzen, Nava Atlas, and any other vegetarian cookbook I could get my hands on. I made my first loaf of bread from Laurel’s Kitchen and then moved on to bagels. I cooked for all my friends and even made up a few of my own recipes by the time I was in grad school.
I couldn’t have guessed that that one little copy of Moosewood would later turn into a new career. I never thought I’d have my own cookbook, much less would be starting on my fifth book now.
I’m sure you all have a story about learning to cook, maybe even a favorite book that changed the course of your cooking and eating. Please leave me your story in the comments, I’d love to hear them.
I wanted to share a recipe from my new cookbook, OATrageous Oatmeals. I love this Oat-chata, which is a horchata with an oaty twist. It’s great for breakfast or a cooling afternoon drink. You can even add a little rum and make it into an evening cocktail!