roh_wyn: (redwinecheese)
Loosely inspired by Julie & Julia and The Julie/Julia Project...

Julie Powell was on a voyage of self-discovery. She was looking for actualization and found it in the pages of Julia Child's seminal cookbook, "The Art of French Cooking."

My goals are much more modest. Or maybe just more prosaic. I don't need to find myself, and I'm not looking at this as some sort of symbolic stand-in for other parts of my life. Basically, I like food and I like to cook. I call myself a foodie, but with some reservation. I would love to tell you that I only buy first-press olive oil that costs $50 a bottle, only use kosher sea salt, and have never baked a cake out of a box. But I'd be lying. I buy fresh produce where I can find it, including at the local Soulless Big Box store. I use the microwave. I once swore I would only feed my child the freshest of foods, but I've put Kraft dinner on his plate without a second thought.

I find the demands of every day life as a full-time lawyer, wife and mother hard to juggle against the demands of being a committed foodie, and a vegetarian foodie at that. I don't always have a lot of time and energy for cooking as a hobby. It becomes something I do out of necessity, and the mediocrity and blandness of the things I've been turning out lately are a testament to that.

Most foodies will smirk at this point and identify "vegetarian" as the source of the problem. But here's the thing. I have been a vegetarian my entire life now, and I've never once considered vegetarian cuisine boring. I was brought up on a steady diet of the spices and flavors and (sometimes exotic) vegetables that make up a traditional Indian meal, and while I won't say I love all of it, it's never once been dull.

When I grew up and started to cook for myself, I discovered Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood cookbooks, and suddenly, "vegetarian" meant more than just Indian food. I was in heaven, and determined to try everything. The problem is, I had very little money, and even less determination. And there were distractions in my life then, so many distractions.

But now Mollie and Moosewood are calling to me again...

I want revive my interest in cooking, and show vegetarians (and esp. vegetarian mothers) they can be foodies too! I want to show (mostly myself) that it's possible to cook well and enjoy it, without sacrificing either your sanity or the convenience of life in the 21st century.

The primary goal? Make every recipe in The New Moosewood Cookbook at least once. In a year.

I think I'll do it 4 times a week. Nothing major...one entree, one side dish/soup and once a week, a dessert. Every couple of Saturdays, I'd like to have friends over and do the foodie thing properly, with wine and cheese and sit-down dinners. And my Moosewood recipes. ;) I'm going to balance this out with a couple of traditional, home-cooked Indian meals every week too.

I'm hoping to get my son to help me in this little project. It will be a fun thing for us to do together, and if all he ever does is stir some sauce or put a few sprinkles on a cake, I'll be the happiest mom in the world.

The nice thing about this project is I see it as entirely doable. I often set goals for myself that are a bit too hard to achieve (and naturally, I never achieve them). But this is going to be different. For one, I'm determined to finish. For another, unlike Julia Child's recipes, the Moosewood recipes are highly accessible, easy to reproduce and/or vary, and not exactly uncharted territory for me. In other words, fun is to be had. ;)

The secondary goal is to see if only eating food that I have to cook (or can eat raw) is going to help with weight loss. I suspect, yes, but we'll see.

The tertiary goal is to see if I can blog all this with lovely pictures too, esp. since I now have the camera that can do everything, lol.

Big dreams take planning, so the goal is to start this project once we're a bit settled in to the new house. I started writing fanfiction when we bought our first house, so it only seems right that I should start something new (and interesting) in this new one.

*fingers crossed*

April 2011

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