My name is Ryan and I have decided to go on a food journey.
“A food journey?” you ask. What kind of food journey?
I have been a fan of Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, for years. I would watch her show on the Food Network every chance I could. In high school, in college, even now in my adult life. I eventually curated my own collection of her cookbooks, with the most recent ones being purchased the day they were released. I usually spend their release day thumbing through their pages and reading the recipes and anecdotes sprinkled throughout. I dreamed of cooking my way through their gorgeous pages. But, honestly, other than making a recipe every now and then, the books basically sat on a bookshelf collecting dust.
When I was in high school, the movie Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams hit the big screen. It wasn’t until later, after I read Powell’s memoir, that I got the idea to cook my way through all of Ina’s cookbooks. Much like Julie felt when she decided to take on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I figured that this would be a good way for me to learn how to cook. But, unlike Powell, my wallet and waistline may not take as great of a hit. (Only time will tell though on that one!)
In October of 2020, Ina published her twelfth cookbook! So, I figured twelve books would be a great place to start the project with. Why? you may wonder. It’s a dozen, it’s even, and it’s one for every month of the year. However, I have no intention of taking a year to complete this project. In fact, I think it will take me much longer.
But what about future books? It seems that Ina’s current cookbook publication pace is one book roughly every two years. Assuming she keeps this pace, we shall get another book from her in 2022 (probably late summer or early fall). If that’s the case, then I will merely rotate those recipes into this project as well. But until then, I will be working out of the twelve cookbooks published as of October, 2020.
So, how is my project and this blog different from Julie Powell’s and her feat of completing Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year? Well, for one thing, I have more books to get through. While MtAoFC has over 530 recipes and cooking those in a year is no easy task, Ina’s twelve cookbooks contain a combined 1,056 recipes! This number does not include a handful of recipes that appear in more than one book (such as her Chicken Stock recipe). Also, I will NOT be attempting to do this over the course of a year. Not only is attempting to cook 1,056 recipes in a year unreasonable (its at least two recipes per day!) but I also want to enjoy this experience as well as learn from it. Not only on how to cook, but also more about myself.
What’s the focus of this blog?
This blog will hopefully serve two purposes. The first is to hold me accountable and actually do this thing. The second is for it to be a place where I can post about my experience while completing this project. It will showcase my frustrations, my wins, my joys, and my losses. It will also be a place where you, readers, can comment on things and engage with me. I hope to fill it with photos of the process and the completed recipes. This blog may offer a post every now and then of curating ingredients or tools/supplied needed for certain recipes. I believe that documenting this part of the experience is just as important to the overall project as is the cooking aspect.
As of right now, I am tackling the recipes in no particular order. I have printed out the recipe index which is available on Ina’s website. This means I have a list of every single recipe in her books. This index will serve as my bible and I will mark off the recipes as I make them and write about them. Some of her recipes lend themselves to being combined for one meal or an event. For example, the recipes out of her second cookbook: Barefoot Contessa Parties!, are themed around a certain party idea such as a Super Bowl Party. I may or may not cook them together. I will most likely treat them as individual recipes and ignore the theme altogether. Time will tell.
It didn’t take long for me to make changes to this blog. While I love the idea of this blog, I had one major problem: I love cooking too much. And sometimes I choose not to make an Ina recipe. After all, there are more cooks and more recipes out there! So beginning in January 2021, I decided to feature recipes that I made outside of Ina’s books. Of course, the main focus of this blog would still be around Ina Garten’s recipes, but with some other well-deserved ones sprinkled in the mix. You may even see an original recipe from me every now and then!
Who is this blog for?
Well, it’s for anyone who loves food, Ina, cooking, or just reading. Maybe you’re a naysayer…maybe you think I’m crazy — and I probably am! But that’s quite all right. I’ll have fun and hopefully learn something along the way.
Do you like what I have to say?
That’s great! I hope you’ll join me on this food journey. You can click the follow button on the right hand side of the page or you can enter your email on my homepage and receive an email every time I make a post.
If you have something to say, please feel free to comment on the posts. I’d LOVE to hear from my readers.
If you like what you see here, check out my social media links. They can be found on the homepage, but I am on Facebook and Instagram as @ryanskitchenjournal.
I hope you find my little corner of the internet welcoming, comforting, and tasty!