About this blog
To understand this food blog you have to understand three words:
- captious. After starting this blog I was surprised to discover that apparently no one else (other than my father) knows this word. WordNet defines captious as “tending to find and call attention to faults,” and Merriam-Webster describes it as: “marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objection.” While captious certainly has a negative connotation, I chose it because I think it describes my blogging style accurately. I like to try a recipe and then tear it apart. My natural inclination is to point out any problems with the recipe, ask why each decision was made, and wonder what would happen if particular steps were done differently. I subscribed to Cook’s Illustrated for a few years and I love that when they give a recipe they not only present the final product, but describe the process of how they got there, what worked and what didn’t, and why they made the choices they made. Cook’s Illustrated, unfortunately, is not very veggie-friendly, and, even more to their detriment, the world of recipes they inhabit is pretty narrowly circumscribed by what would be familiar and comfortable to an “average American cook.” Despite their flaws, they did inspire me to start this blog to record my own detailed reviews of the recipes I try. I love it when readers post comments, especially if they include details of what did or didn’t work in a recipe. A captious blogger needs captious readers!
- vegetarian. Vegetarian can mean different things to different people, but the most common definition, and the one I use, is that a vegetarian eats no animals, fish, or seafood of any kind. I do eat animal products like dairy, eggs, and honey. This is often referred to as an ovo-lacto vegetarian. However, “From the Kitchen of a Captious, Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian” would push my now over-long title into the realm of unacceptably cumbersome. Also, although I do eat eggs and dairy, I find that, when catering to vegetarians, many restaurants (and even many vegetarian cookbooks) rely too much on animal-derived foods and neglect the diverse and exciting world of vegetables, fruits, beans and grains. Although a fine cheese can be a wonderful addition to a recipe, and the egg has miraculous chemical properties, I don’t like to fall into the rut of relying on animal products to make my food taste good, and so I try to keep my blog, and my cooking, pretty vegan-friendly.
- blog. The term blog was coined by shortening the phrase “web log,” and a web log is an excellent description of this blog; It’s a log of my food experiences, a food diary of sorts. I used to keep notes in all my cookbooks, but I quickly ran out of room in the margins (as should be apparent by how long some of my posts are!). I decided to start a blog so that there is a single spot that I can come back to again and again to remember what recipes I liked, what worked, what didn’t, what modifications I made… Typically a blog is organized chronologically, and although my blog is superficially organized that way, I’m continually going back and adding to and revising old posts. I like to get down my thoughts immediately after I make a recipe for the first time, otherwise I tend to forget the details. However, the first post I make on a recipe is really only a very rough draft, of a “notes to self” sort. Only after I’ve made a recipe numerous times and revised a post more than once does a post start to take on its true form. Hence, I was surprised to recently discover that there are people out there who not only read my blog, but who read it as a blog feed, and thus see a recipe only immediately after I post it, in its very rough, disorganized state. If you’re one of these folks, I encourage you to go back and looks at some of the older postings, as they tend to be more thorough and better written!