Cooking with Claire: Staying inspired and informed

For those who can't write their own recipes yet, cookbooks, magazines, Tasty Videos, and friends and family are good ways to find inspiration.  (Ginny/Flickr Creative Commons)

I am not yet at the point where I can write my own recipes. To be honest, I don't know anyone who can. Certainly I can take an original recipe and change it up, or maybe even combine two recipes together. But creating a recipe from scratch is really difficult. 

So, every once in a while I spend some time perusing through new recipes, either online or in print. Here are my favorite sources for new recipes, or just inspiration for new ways of cooking. 

Pinterest: This is probably one of my favorite recipe sources. Recipes are easy to search, save and download. Pinterest also automatically recommends pins based on your previous search history, so if Italian food has been on your mind lately, you're likely to see a lot of it. 

Tasty Videos: Everyone has seen these famous videos, usually circulated on Facebook, that make cooking seem like it only takes 30-45 seconds. Truly amazing. I always look for a video that has a link attached to the actually recipe, because no one wants to handwrite the ingredients and instructions, or keep replaying the video. These are usually easy and cheap recipes, as compared to cooking websites or magazines. 

Cookbooks: Back to the basics with this one. Cookbooks continue to educate thousands of chefs, both novice and advanced. If dropping $20-$40 on a cookbook doesn't seem like the best idea, try buying a book at a flea market or tag sale, or renting one from the library for a few weeks. Cookbooks are also easily saved and reusable, even if they do take up a lot of space. My mom has cookbooks dating back to the 80s with notes like "Made for Mom's Christmas party in 1989." It's a touching and useful memento. 

Magazines: This is a great way to stay up to date on new recipes and cooking tricks. I'm not sure why, but buying a magazine always seems like a luxury to me. Maybe it's the shiny pages. Anyway, this is a great option if you only have a few bucks to spend. Most magazines also have features on new products, appliances, foods, or other culinary trends, as well as profiles and tips from famous chefs. 

Online Recipe Sites: This way of searching is usually better when you already have a base ingredient or a type of cuisine in mind. For example, searching "pork recipes" or "vegan cookies." But, good websites usually have a "what's hot, new or trending." These could be seasonal dishes, or even dishes that have been shared a lot on Facebook recently. These recipes are great sources of inspiration, or good recipes to save until the next time you entertain.  

Friends and family: I can't count the amount of recipes I've collected from my aunts and friends. It's much easier to trust the opinion of a family member than a random person on the internet as far as what's a good, or bad, recipe. Collecting and sharing recipes is a great way to bond and mingle. Everyone likes food, and many people like cooking just as much. 


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus.   She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.