The Cookbook Challenge

Delicious Days

The friendly group of foodies in the Open University’s food and drink online conference has been talking for some time about a “cookbook challenge”; each person chooses a cookbook and then cooks their way through it during 2009, trying every recipe and blogging about it. I have been on-again, off-again about this project; I like the idea, but time for cooking and blogging is short at present, and the constraint of having to choose a recipe from a specific book two or more times a week seemed an impossibility.

But then I looked at my beautiful Delicious Days cookbook, a coffee-table ornament from which to my shame I have not yet cooked a single recipe, despite being a fan of Nicky’s equally elegant and enticing blog (from which I have cooked some recipes!). Everyone who has visited and picked up this book has oohed and aahed over it, so I really have no excuse. The book is short and eclectic, and I really want to cook some of the recipes from it, so I did a quick count. Only 76 recipes, quite a few of them small and simple. That’s only one and a bit a week; this seems do-able with a bit of discipline.

So my plan is to cook everything by the end of 2009, at least everything I can get the ingredients for; as I do them, I’ll blog about them, including if possible a less-than-wonderful photo. I’ll tag all the individual entries as “delicious days”. Nicky’s blog doesn’t need any more publicity I’m sure — it’s already one of Time Magazine’s 50 coolest websites — but if even a few people discover her creativity via my blog then I shall feel I’ve repaid some of the pleasure I get from reading hers.

Of course I will not be publishing the recipes themselves here; if you are tempted by my descriptions, then hop over to Amazon and buy the book (available in English and German). I think virtually all of the recipes are exclusive to the book, i.e. they are not published on Nicky’s blog. So if you want them, and her beautiful photos, you have to buy the book!

Other bloggers taking up the challenge so far (with different books):

Maggie on Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries — this is sure to be a winning combination!
Dilly on not one, but two Jamie Oliver books: Cook with Jamie, and Jamie’s Italy
Sunny, on Rosemary Conley’s Slim to Win.
Ellie, on Gill Holcombe’s How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans … – Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher…Yes, really — that’s the title of the book!
Rachel on Sarah Bounds’ Seasonal Vegetarian (this is an out-of-print Marks and Spencer book).

23 thoughts to “The Cookbook Challenge”

  1. This looks like a fun challenge and I would love to join in, but I would have to find a book with less than a hundred recipes. Do you have until the very end of 2009?

  2. Hi Loulou

    yes, the whole year! I couldn’t contemplate doing it with a longer book. It’s good to choose one that’s varied too, i.e. not a single cuisine or type of dish.

  3. This is a great idea – I think I’ll try one recipe a week probably from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape with a few additons from a Jamie Oliver book – or is that cheating? Having seen your mushroom dish picture I’m now going to have to have some mushrooms on toast for lunch.

  4. Hello Veronica
    I’ve popped in here several times when you’ve posted a link on the Open University conference for our ‘friendly group of foodies’ but this is the first time I’m posting a comment.
    First of all, congratulations on such an attractive blog. I hope mine eventually looks like this!
    I joined our Cookbook Challenge today. I’m using a diet book so I’m hoping to kill two birds with one stone as it were, to lose some weight at the same time.
    Best wishes

  5. This sounds interesting — is there any official link to a Cookbook Challenge headquarters site? When I clicked on the “Open University” link, it just sent me there…

  6. Hi Betty

    There isn’t really a headquarters, it’s not that organised 🙂 The OU has a closed conferencing system for staff and students, so we’ve been discussing it there. But the blogs of the participants are public, so as and when they are set up I’ll add them to my list. If anyone else (non-OU) takes it up I’ll be happy to add them too — the more the merrier!

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