08 August 2020

Weekend Cooking: Random Thoughts

Happy Saturday! Hope you're all staying healthy and safe. Today's Weekend Cooking post is an eclectic mix of kitchen-y things that have come to my attention in the last couple of weeks. If look closely, you'll see that each one kind of flows into the next. Maybe something here will grab your attention too.

Cookbook Review Program
Abrams Dinner Party: The wonderful people at Abrams Books are continuing their cookbook review partnership with social media foodies. I encourage all of you to consider filling out an application form at the Dinner Party website. There you'll find all the pertinent information and a few testimonials (including one from me). Abrams makes it very easy to meet the terms of your contract with them, even for cookbooks that don't fit your personal style or dietary requirements.

Don't be shy. You have nothing to lose by filling out the application and you just might gain a seat at the dinner party. Don't think about it too long, though, you have only until August 10 to apply.

coobook site
ckbk.com: My friend Karen (a fellow copyeditor and cook who sometimes links up with Weekend Cooking) drew my attention to the website ckbk, which calls themselves "the ultimate digital subscription service for cooks." I decided to look a little closer because I really liked the publishers the site works with, including Abrams (see cookbook at the right) and Workman, two of my favorite cookbook publishers. The free membership gives you access to three recipes a month from a list of almost 400 cookbooks. I signed up.

Here is my experience. I had a large box of blueberries in my refrigerator last Saturday and was in the mood to make a snack cake, so I thought I could use one of my free recipes of the month on a new cake recipe. I searched for blueberries and found two possibilities, which I saved by clicking "open in new tab." When I went to read the recipes I discovered that each click uses up one of the month's free recipes. Grrr. Only one of the recipes looked close to what I wanted. It came from one of those organization-type cookbooks and was submitted by someone who said it was a family favorite. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I printed out the recipe anyway.

Meanwhile, I decided to check out the premium (read: paid) membership. It costs $5 a month for unlimited access to all the cookbooks. I didn't think I needed to spend $60 a year. Before I clicked off the sign-up page I noticed a faint, grayed-out tab that said "annual." If you pay by the year, it's only $40. In the long run, though, I opted not to join or even to give their 14-day free trial a whirl.

King Arthur Flour
King Arthur Flour: If you subscribe to KAF's free newsletters (and you should), you'll have noticed that the company recently redesigned their logo and adopted a new name: King Arthur Baking Company. I like the new look and name and the story behind them. Anyway, on Sunday I still hadn't baked my cake, but in a stroke of good luck, I found a new KABC newsletter in my mailbox and it was all about baking with blueberries!

I picked the Blueberry Buckle Coffeecake and I'm sooooo happy I did. It was exactly what I was looking for: not too sweet, tons of berries, easy and quick to mix, and perfect for anytime (from breakfast to late-night treat). The photo is from the KABC website, and if you click through the link, you'll find the recipe I used as well as a gluten-free version.

Blueberry snack cake

Butcherbox: Okay the flow from KABC to Butcherbox is a bit of a stretch, but I'm going with this link: small company, headquartered in New England with a reputation for excellency and great customer service. Butcherbox is a meat subscription service that delivers only grass-fed, hormone-free, humanely raised beef, pork, and chicken. They sell seafood too. They offer several different boxes and you can customize your delivery schedule.

meat delivery service
I get the small Customized Box, which comes to $150 and provides us around twenty-five meals (figuring, for example, a meat-based chili made with 1 pound of beef will last us two dinners, or four meals). As many of you know, we alternate dinners between vegetarian and meat, so one box provides enough meat for two months. You can get different sizes and types of boxes for different prices and you can add on extras.

In this COVID world in which we have chosen not to go to the farmer's market and try to limit our trips to any store, Butcherbox offers a safe and economical alternative to our usual locally produced meats. I know $150 sounds like a lot, but the price per pound is only very slightly more than our local producers, shipping is "free" (that is, it is included in the price), and we get enough meat for two months. Note too that the cost is lower than organic meats from the supermarket.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Marg 8/8/20, 6:52 AM  

Disappointing that the website turned out to be a bust.

We have been doing a food subscription thing which I will post about in the next couple of weeks.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 8/8/20, 7:08 AM  

Thanks for all the links and information in this post. I've thought about Abrams but never really knew how to get involved. I will check out their link. I always enjoy your posts and visiting your blog.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/8/20, 7:36 AM  

I actually saved the blueberry buckle recipe when I saw it in the email but haven't made it yet. Glad to hear it's good!

Tina 8/8/20, 8:04 AM  

I had seen Butcherbox mentioned a few times and didn't know what it was about. Sounds like something we may want to try. WE could make a box last a while too with the vegetarian options I try and plug in.

Thanks for the intel on the ckck subscription. I will learn from your experience and remeber I have 3 recipes for the free sbscription. Yes to Blueberry desserts!

Karen 8/8/20, 8:06 AM  

After my enthusiastic recommendation upon the discovery of ckbk.com, I too found it to to be a major disappointment! I did sign up for the free trial membership but almost immediately canceled.

I know that this doesn't help you, but if any of your readers are in Mass., I want to whole-heartedly recommend New England Country Mart, which delivers gorgeous fresh produce as well as some meats and local dairy, snacks, etc. They are a fourth-generation family-owned business that had been supplying restaurants; at the beginning of the pandemic they pivoted to home delivery and are doing a fantastic job. The prices are great, the quality is excellent, and the one time I had a problem, the customer service just blew me away.

Karen 8/8/20, 8:14 AM  

Whoops, forgot to post the link!

Mae Travels 8/8/20, 8:53 AM  

Interesting blog post! I think it reflects a changing situation in websites.

More and more internet businesses are asking for money to read their content. Even it it’s a good quality site, I’m convinced that there are better uses for my money — and your examples aren’t even good! I’ll stay with Epicurious for now. And my few hundred cookbooks already on my shelves.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 8/8/20, 10:30 AM  

I also clicked on the ckbk link and decided it wasn't worth it. There is so much available online for free and I can get cookbooks from the library, soft and hard copies.
We have been buying meat in bulk at Costco since March. I want to be well stocked if we have to go into lockdown again. I haven't been to any farmers markets either even though the one within walking distance has reopened. I have heard the lines are long.
I am limiting my weekly outings to one or two even though I would love to be out more, just being cautious.

Les in Oregon 8/8/20, 2:09 PM  

I eat blueberries in my yogurt almost every day, but I never grow tired of them. The blueberry buckle sounds delicious. Printing it out to try later next week. Thank you!!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/8/20, 4:25 PM  

The blueberry buckle seems like my kind of sweets. I don't like anything too too sweet but, this sounds perfect with good coffee.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 8/9/20, 4:32 PM  

Right now seems like a perfect time for people to join a subscription box for good foods. I get frustrated when I put in my food order at the store and arrive to find things missing or substituted. I'll look into this one.

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