When “recipe” is suggested, what comes to mind is Julia Child. I like to cook, and I have Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I confess I’ve only made a few things from it because in general it’s just a really intimidating cookbook, even though I consider myself a fairly advanced, adventurous cook. The recipes go on for pages and pages and the format seems to “hide” important elements—I’ll be going along, cooking happily and then get to a part of a recipe that says something like “now braise for four hours” or something similar. I read through the whole recipe! How did I miss this vital point? It’s already 7pm? We can’t eat dinner at midnight! It’s as if the recipe is hidden in all the text that is there for the purpose of trying to actually help you—although it doesn’t help this cook.
This could work in that the material is definitely there to work with and there is a discrete end point—hopefully a delicious dish. What goes against it is in a way it’s been done as in the blog, book and movie “Julie and Julia”. See a brief YouTube clip here.
Of course, Julia Child doesn’t own the market for complicated, scary recipes. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook is notorious for making the most confident home cooks question their cooking skills. So there’s potential there. I just don’t know if a recipe tells a “story” in a way that is emotionally gripping.
I’m trying to think of topics in the news that have never succeeded in capturing my attention…tort reform, for instance. Or the keystone oil pipeline. I live in Atlanta, GA, who gets almost all of its water from Lake Lanier, a man-made lake and reservoir that pulls water from the Tennessee River. Every few years, fights and lawsuits flare up among Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida regarding Georgia’s water use and its fairness to neighboring states. Surely an important issue, one I just never really understood why it became an issue in the first place. One does not simply manufacture a huge lake under dark of night—surely our surrounding states knew about this, right?