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post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi David,

I can't imagine beginning a project like this. How did you organize it. That in itself seems like a huge undertaking.

post #2 of 6
I began by making a list of all the entries...every ingredient, piece of equipment, and cooking technique I could think of. That took about a year. The substitutions I had been working on (unconsciously) for years, as I specialized in quick and healthy cooking, both of which make use of substitutions. I found out what worked and didn't work (like substituting all egg whites for eggs: doesn't work. You need the fat in most cases). For the next two years, I wrote the substitutions, jotting them down and filling out the list of entries. Then I tackled the entry introductions and reference information. I had written and edited a book called Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, which helped enormously in the development of the substitutions book. Brilliant was also a big A-Z reference book not of substitutions but about 5,000 cooking tips (many of which were contributed by other collaborators on the project). The monumental task of compiling and writing entries for that book prepared me for taking on The Food Substitutions Bible by myself.
post #3 of 6

healthy cooking

You've got a history of working with RD's and numerous monthly publications that were centered on lighter cooking. What spurred your interest? What's your cooking background? Are you vegetarian or were you during the Vegetarian Times years?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #4 of 6
I grew up on what my parents eventually turned into a small organic farm, which gave me a good education in plant-based eating, choosing quality produce, and simple preparations.

I cooked throughout high school and college, starting with my very first job as a dishwasher in a hotel (I couldn't even drive then, maybe 15 years old?) and working my way up the line in various hotels and bistros in the New Jersey and Florida.

As friends headed into chef careers, I stepped back and reconsidered because of the night hours (I figured I'd eventually have a family, and I've had a steady sidegig as a drummer in a handful of bands since the teenage years; a part of my life I didn't want to give up for a career). So I went to grad school to pursue writing, got a degree in English Language and Literature (studied some medieval women's food writing, which was interesting) and taught college English for 3 years.

I hated it. I went back to food through food writing, merging both loves. My girlfriend (now wife) and I experimented with vegetarian eating, and I started writing for vegetarian magazine. I'm no longer a vegetarian (was for about 10 years), but am grateful for having gone down that path. It forced me to look beyond main ingredients to fundamental cooking techniques and flavor foundations in cuisines around the world. I threw myself deeply into Indian cooking, Mexican cooking, Chinese cooking, Japanese, Thai, Italian, and other cuisines, honing in on what makes each unique. That was some of the best culinary education I got outside of professional kitchens. Plus, I read a lot. I devour cookbooks for lunch. And I cook about 4 hours a day on average, experimenting, developing recipes, making family meals, etc....

I still eat healthfully, but everyone has a different definition of that. I eat about an ounce of chocolate on most days, drink wine or another alcohol almost every day, and absolutely love the texture of fat in my mouth. To my mind, none of that is unhealthy. It's a matter of balance, I suppose.
post #5 of 6
Creating recipes thats interesting.Dave what is your philosophy when creating a new recipe? Do you take other recipes and add to them? Or do you start from scratch having one ingredient has the base for others?
post #6 of 6
I don't have a single philosophy of recipes--other than, "it has to work and taste good!"

Recipes come in many different ways...sometimes, I start with a inspiring ingredient that I build upon in the kitchen. For instance, a while back a farmer near me had some beautiful, young Chioggia beets and sweet-nutty-barely-bitter arugula; I took them home and made Beet and Blue Cheese Puffs with Arugula; it was a simple white sauce with Gorgonzola and the roasted beets and arugula mixed in, served in puff pastry...

Other times, I have an idea in mind then I pursue it in the kitchen. I think of combining certain ingredients, say rum and cardamom, then apply that flavor to another ingredient (such as pork).

Sometimes, a friend will give me a recipe and I'll massage it to meet my tastes. Other times, I'll eat something in a restaurant and try to re-create it at home. And sometimes, I read a recipe and think it sounds good but would be better if only...and then I run with it in the kitchen, making it reflect my tastes. And still other times, I just walk into the kitchen, throw open the pantry and fridge and see what can be thrown together.
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