Friday, October 8, 2010

how to cook without a cookbook

dear emily,

one of the trickiest parts in raising five children was the 
cooking.  breakfast alone required a giant skillet, a dozen eggs, 
an entire package of bacon, 16 ounces of cheese,  one loaf of 
homemade whole wheat bread, a carton of orange juice, seven 
knives, forks, spoons, plates and glasses.

it was tempting to say, "and a partridge in a pear tree."

dinner could be daunting, and i resorted to a great deal more
'assembling' than fine cooking.  to make matters worse, i didn't 
seem to be able to follow a recipe.

if the book said, "sautee the onion for 15 minutes until sweet
and tender, i would think, "an onion can't really be all that

when my friends would say, " don't you just love julia child's
cookbook?", i would stare blankly at them and wonder, "who in 
the world is julia child?" 

forget about that "joy of cooking book."  "for the white cream 
sauce, go to page 27.  add the sauce to the roasted pheasant on 
page 1,378."  it gave me carpal tunnel to complete any recipe.

one evening while hans let our little sinners run all over the local
mall, i spied the holy grail of cookbooks.  "how to cook without
a book."  the author preached about a foolproof gospel of saved
ingredients to usher any soup or pasta sauce into heaven.  it was 
the answer to all my prayers.

here's the basic formula:

sautee one onion.  season, please.
add one pound of meat
one pound of vegetables
one pound of a starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
one quart of stock (chicken goes best with chicken, etc.)
add any spices or seasoning in your cupboard.

simmer as long as you want but less than one week.  :)
this wonderful book has easy formulas for many dishes,
but the soup has saved my life.


"oh taste and see that the Lord is good!"  psalm 34:8

ps.  what in the world is going on with the font and
how do you underline, again?


I Love Pretty Little Things said...

I need that cookbook. Aaaaahhhhh...Simplicity!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I think we all need that cookbook!

Hope you have a nice weekend.

Just Be Real said...

Cooking is something I never mastered or really had a desire for. The cookbook does sound great though. Thanks for sharing.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

How fun! You are just so creative with your writing, can I learn from you? I was the Southern Living Cookbook I still have those cookbooks from the 80's and probably need to move into 2010!
Good suggestion!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I hope you have a blast in the mountains...I am praying for you to enjoy the beauty around you...then come back refreshed to make that pumpkin four-year-old broke his leg, so my baking got sidetracked...this will be an interesting six weeks...four year old with leg cast. LOL

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Great post! I am so glad you shared this with us. Gosh can you imagine cooking that much for breakfast. lol
I guess my mom did since it was 7 of us.
All I remember is washing all those darn dishes.

Sonja said...

This is such a good basic one to have. I'm copying it off for my 'recipe drawer', where recipes sit for months and even years... but this one I think I can manage!! :) Honestly, it sounds good right this minute!



Michelle said...

Oh, I don't think even that would help me, as I really dont like to cook!

Michelle said...

I came back here to post another comment, because I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful person you are, and how you always say the sweetest things. The thing that makes me sad, is that I can never email you back and tell you so, because your blogger profile is set to no reply and so it says If you would like to change that, go to your blogger profile and click show email. It is always fun to comment back, and there have been so many times I wanted to say thank you, and couldn't.
be blessed, Michelle

Joan Elizabeth said...

My cooking can be best described as 'homely'. When I do dig out one of the glossy cookbooks I am often surprised at how good the result is. Then to my husband's delight I do it over and over for various guests until the same lot come back again so I have to go back to the cookbook again. It's a formula that has worked well for me ... just reminds me I've promised my man a repeat of the Thai fish cakes for dinner tonight, had better stop blogging and go do it.

Jo said...

Gosh, it sounds more like you ran a logging camp then had a family. :-) I can't imagine cooking breakfasts -- or dinners -- that big.

I think big families are the reason why Italians created spaghetti and pasta dishes. Just throw all the ingredients into a pot, toss it with some pasta et voila! dinner.

Jo said...

I mean "than" had a family. But you knew that. :-)

myletterstoemily said...


so sorry about that. i hate to
make trouble for anyone.

Sonja said...


You are one of my jewels of this blog world! I am picturing you and Hans among the aspens... :)


Susy said...

I love your sense of humor. Guess that becomes an art when raising five kids. Too late for cookbooks for me. I'm at the stage where I'm forgetting to turn the burner off ): Blessings.

Kathy said...

No that's definately a "Kids Raisin" cookbook!
My husband used to say .."If she can't throw it all in one pot...It's not getting made".
Makes me sound like I could have written that cookbook of yours.
Now that I've grown up I'll use as many as two pots.
xoxo~Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Anonymous said...

Hello Lea ~

It has been so nice to visit here with you and enjoy your postings! Thanks so much for visiting me too!

Sweet Sunday blessings to you!

Jenny said...

Lea. You are a gem.

tales from an oc cottage said...

Can I be "Emily" for today? ;} Love this!

m ^..^

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Yea!! a pillow in the kitchen will be interesting! Please do with it what you please! carry little one somewhere, he had a long night!

Together We Save said...

Thanks, I need all the help I can get. I love to cook I just don't know how to cook very many things.

Cinnamon said...

Oh that is soo funny!! I use to marvel at our friends who spent $1,000/mo on groceries and went through 5 doz eggs per week :-0

In the winter time we easily scoot through 10 doz eggs and 10 loaves of bread minimum and spend waay more than $1,000/mo on groceries :-0

Love that no cook book, cook book~


Gloria said...

I do have some pretty amazing cookbooks (Julia Child's is one of them!). I don't always follow their recipes exactly. I improvise depending on what I have on hand at the time. My mom was a stew, and roasted meats with veggies, (slow baked in the oven) kind of gal. I tend to cook a lot like her because I think it brings me comfort. Except in the Summertime here I don't hardly bake anything, it's stove-top and microwave improvising due to the warm weather.

Ruth said...

lea, how could you say that your blog is boring... this has so much of wisdom and inspiration and i so love coming here...

yet another beautiful post.. thank you!