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I’m a cookbook junkie.

It’s probably a little shameful, but I keep acquiring more. I read them like novels, devouring the background stories on the recipes, interesting cuisines, and most importantly the cooks who write them. I have good ones and bad ones. Some are tattered and stained from frequent use, others barely used and relegated to a fairly inaccessible shelf in the bookcase. Many I’ve read through word-by-word more than once. A few I might try to grab in case of a fire. I would probably suggest that JT grab some too, but he’d likely be too busy saving all his Made in the USA vintage tools.

Priorities I guess.

Recently I got a new cookbook written by a TV chef whom I really like. I’ve watched her shows for years and find her personable and unassuming. She’s known for making meals in just 30 minutes! , and I’ve enjoyed the book immensely- she includes lots of personal anecdotes, which I love.

Chances are, though, I won’t try many of the recipes because the ingredient lists go on for days, most including things I wouldn’t normally buy or even be able to find. I can only imagine how intimidating this could be for a newbie just trying to get started cooking. Or anyone who doesn’t have the time or energy (much less the dollars) to come up with all the those ingredients. Have you ever shied away from a recipe because it seemed too complex? Where does one find a sheet of pork belly fat anyway?

This girlfriend would likely give up and make a bologna sandwich instead.

Trust me, though, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to cook. You don’t need to be a TV chef, author (or even be able to decipher) a cookbook.

Coincidentally (and thankfully) you don’t even need to be particularly smart.

Anyone can cook. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? OK, besides the whole fire and burning thing?

Here’s what I did last night: No recipe involved.

I cut a few thin- skinned potatoes into bitesize pieces and put them in a skillet, covering them with water, boiling them until the water was gone (this almost cooks them through and softens them up). Then, I added some olive oil, minced garlic, a few raw asparagus spears (chopped) , some kale, and a few little tomatoes cut in half. That’s it. These were just things hanging in my fridge without a purpose for their lives.

Stir until all the veggies seem cooked then season with salt and pepper to taste. Imagine all the endless variations… I topped mine with some salmon left over from Sunday night’s dinner.

It looked great and tasted even better.

You don’t need one cookbook much less 500 or so.

Just your imagination will do.

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