I recently received a number of cookbooks at my bridal shower. Any advice on the best strategy for tackling new cookbooks without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of recipe options?
Think about what you like to cook/eat and then look over the index pages.
I like to create theme weeks for the family. They generally revolve around a particular type of food, or a cookbook. As an example, one week might be curry week. The next week might be Food52 week. This forces me to go through the cookbooks that I have, find the recipes that I think I would like to cook, and then go for it!
Don't be overwhelmed by all your new books--just enjoy! Curl up with a couple of them and browse through. Bookmark the recipes that grab your attention and make one that is appropriate to the season.
I like to look through cook books, almost as if I'm reading a novel, just for fun. As I come across recipes that intrigue me, I make a note of them. This allows me to really read them and get an understanding of the process, the methods and the necessary time each recipe takes. Its more difficult to get such an over all idea when you are looking for recipes to make at the last minute.
You could take a seasonal approach. Look up what is in (I'm starting to get tomatoes and zucchini and basil, then check the book indices for recipes. That's after you just flip through them for pleasure, though. That's what I did recently with Local Flavors cookbook and discovered a lovely light and airy Zucchini and Ricotta Frittata.
Ooh that sounds like a lovely predicament. I agree with the above responses. Maybe rotate the books and try one recipe from each book to start to get an idea? Did you receive kitchen equipment as well? Maybe you can find recipes that call for specific tools and gadgets you were given. And give yourself time. You might find a recipe that really rounds out a meal when you need it even if it doesn't grab you now.
And you could list them on this hotline and ask if people have favorites from those books? I've done that!
Congratulations on your pending wedding, and how fortunate you are that several of your friends understand that you love to cook. I love Pierino's suggestion to start with the types of foods that you already know you like, pastas for example. First, always read the author's introduction to the book, which will give you an idea of the slant you'll see in the recipes. Then look for the pastas section and begin reading through it. See where what is familiar to you merges with what is new, and dive in. A good cookbook will enlighten rather than overwhelm you, and should always make you happy. Have fun!
Curl up..1..with a few good ones whose covers appeal! how fortunate you are.....and congratulations in advance
Thank you all for these wonderful suggestions!! The two books I've spent the most time getting to know so far are Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day and Weeknights with Giada. Two VERY different angles of cooking but both so delicious!
Heidi Swanson (101cookbooks.com) is great. Her recipes are healthy and delicious.
As you browse the books, keep a note pad or largish sticky note at hand. List the recipe name and page number as you find things you want to make. And when you make something, keep notes on what you like, what you'd change. Keep these notes in the cookbook, so you can jump right in when you go back to it.
When I was first married and cooking, I kept a diary-type notebook and recorded +/-, critiques of my abilities and the recipe's. It's fun to go back to it now!