I mentioned earlier this month that our July cookbook of the month would be from yet another member of the Bon Appetit staff. This time, we’re checking out the brand new Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music. If you spend much time watching cooking videos on youtube, you’re probably familiar with the author. She does a ton of videos for Bon Appetit’s youtube channel, and she often makes appearances on their podcast.
It just so happens that on the day I started writing this article, I discovered that Carla had starred in a video covering a recipe from her new cookbook which also appeared in a long ago issue of Bon Appetit, pork steaks with snap pea and scallion salsa. The recipe she did on the youtube video does not include this salsa, but it is an adaptation of the same techniques. As with any time we discuss a Bon Appetit book, it’s a good starting point to decide if you’re interested in this cookbook. Check it out here.
Carla is a human being whom I envy greatly. The job she gets to do at Bon Appetit is honestly the fuckin’ dream. Talking about food, writing about food, making videos about food, and making a living for it? Damn. I’ll wish for the rest of my life that I could wear that fabulous set of shoes and get to travel the country to cook with a number of famous chefs, but until then, I’ll settle with cookbooks.
Where Cooking Begins is a hefty tome filled with as many recipes as techniques. Several recipes have jumped out at me during my first scan. The above mentioned pork shoulder steaks is among them, especially after seeing an adaptation recipe on the youtube channel. Carla uses a section in each recipe entitled ‘spin it’ so that you can customize the flavors, and I really love that addition. Playing with a recipe is one of the strongest joys in cooking out of someone’s cookbook, and having the blessing to do it makes be believe I will interact with this much differently. The best part about this section is that it will give you alternatives to ingredients that might be difficult to find
A good sign for the book, Carla also frontloads the book with a walkthrough of some of the techniques she uses in several of the recipes. While I don’t need to read about how to steam vegetables or grill meat every time I open a cookbook, I believe it’s important to address these techniques for the beginner that might pick up a book to change the way they interact with their kitchens. The title of the book lends itself to that idea. I'm no beginner, but we can all use a few reminders here and there of basics in and out of the kitchen.
It's going to be a hot beginning of the month here in Delaware, so my cooking plans might be thrown off by the deep desire to avoid my oven. However, I’m anticipating many delicious meals and desserts from Where Cooking Begins from what I know of the author in other media. Here are some of the Recipes that I’ll be trying in July:
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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