We are a group of home cooks who recently spent 62 weeks as Pomodori e Vino cooking our way through Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. We blogged faithfully every day of those 62 weeks and when the project ended in June of 2011, we breathed a collective and very satisfied sigh of relief.
Then, in late August, Deborah received an email from one of Pomodori's more than 700 facebook followers suggesting that we should continue with another of Marcella's books. Deborah thanked him kindly for the vote of confidence, but suggested that perhaps he might consider putting his own group together. Yet, a dangerous seed was planted.
Several of the Pomodori expressed that they missed the project and thought we should think of a new one. Deborah mentioned to Cindy her affection for Karen Page & Andrew Dornenberg's wonderful reference book The Flavor Bible and that it might be fun to build a challenge around its use. That would, of course involve creating our own recipes rather than following someone elses. Cindy suggested picking 52 ingredients from the book for a weekly challenge where seven cooks would each create a recipe for the same ingredient, posting the recipe and a report on its success on their assigned day. Fifty-two weeks, 366 hopefully unique dishes.
It was decided that we must refer to The Flavor Bible listing for the designated ingredient and our recipe must include at least one of the BOLDED CAPITALIZED complimentary ingredients; one bolded but not capitalized; and one other of our choosing. Beyond that, we could use as many or as few ingredients as seemed appropriate.
Additionally, we can create our recipe for any course from appetizers to desserts or drinks. We can draw inspiration from previously published recipes but ours must be so significantly different that it could not be construed to be merely an adaptation.
Cindy went through The Flavor Bible and selected our 52 ingredients, making sure not to choose items that could not carry a dish as the main ingredient (i.e. flour or sugar), or an item that was too ubiquitous (i.e. rice or potatoes). She then organized them to place supreme emphasis on seasonal and local whenever possible. None of us want to be searching for fresh asparagus in January.
Cindy & Deborah put the word out to the Pomodori to see who was yet again willing to join in the madness. It took less that an hour to fill the seven slots and recruit two subs. All of the Pomodori are members of SlowTrav.com. And in SlowTrav's intertwining world of travel & food is also our friend Gina DePalma, author of the wonderful Dolce Italiano.
Karen & Andrew frequently drew on Gina's amazing gifts with all things sweet as they compiled The Flavor Bible. That pleased the Pomodori, and made the book all the more attractive.
And so we are at it again, this time without the safety net of Marcella's incomparable recipes and with a new blog name -- Flavors.
One difference -- we are posting a complete list of all 52 feature ingredients. We hope that this time, our readers will participate in a significant way. When you see an ingredient that calls to you, we invite you to join us. Post a comment on the blog entry and include a link to your own website, blog or facebook note where the Pomodori and our other readers can read about what you created.
If you'd like to see how the next 52 weeks are likely to evolve, do check out our previous blog project: Pomodori e Vino.
Happy Cooking, Everyone!