[126] Simmered Tofu

Cover to Asian Cook by Terry Tan (unknown edition)

Last year, my friend Theresa convinced me to take a wine and food pairing class with her and a couple of her friends. It was a huge amount of fun, and by the end, we were all pretty friendly. We decided we should continue the tradition, and so we now meet about a month to try new foods and wines we think we will go with them. Previously, we hadn’t had any sort of organization, but we’ve recently decided we should have a “theme” for each night.

The most recent hostess decided that we should have Asian food as our theme, partially because it’s a difficult pairing, and partially because she’s Korean and wanted to share shopping and cooking with us. As you can imagine, I figured it was the perfect time to pull out my Asian Cook cookbook and try something.

I did, and it was delicious. However, I cannot post the recipe for you. I no longer own the book, and I’m glad of this.

When I pulled out the book, I drooled over every photo, just as I always do. I dreamed of making almost every recipe in the book (except the shark fin and black chicken). I looked long and hard for the perfect appetizer for this group.

And I realized, this book does me almost no good. It requires a lot of specialized ingredients and, worse, equipment. It’s gorgeous, but it’s not for me. So, I picked out a recipe that looked easy, tasty, could pair with wine and contemplated getting rid of it. I showed the cookbook to Bill and asked his opinion. He agreed that it didn’t suit us, though was sad too.

The day of the party, I packed everything up and hauled it to the hostess’s house to cook the appetizer there1. I got there, made an amazing appetizer, had a mediocre pairing (I liked it well enough, another attendee loved it, the rest had no opinion or didn’t like it), and overheard the hostess mention she knew some Korean recipes, but had never owned an Asian cookbook, and hoped to someday.

Well, obviously, my course was clear. Bill and I gifted it to her on the spot. She was initially taken aback, as she had truly not been hinting, but once Bill and I made it clear to her that we had honestly just been discussing donating it to a thrift store, she was thrilled.

This, actually, was a part of this overall challenge I never considered. Obviously we considered the possibility that someone might give us cookbooks, but never considered that we might want to get rid of a cookbook, or what the protocol would be, with regards to this blog.

That said, I’m quite content to have done this. Part of the problem we had, back in 2008, was rampant purchasing of cookbooks (or “rampant”, as the case may be – I’ve come to learn we own practically NO cookbooks compared to some). Another part was that we both have a problem evaluating if something deserves a place in our lives.

This cookbook didn’t, but it’s found a home with someone who will love it more than we do. I’ll update recipe numbers and requirements in a couple of days, once I figure them out. As a small book, it won’t have much impact on our overall challenge numbers.

fn1. With her blessing, of course.