Are you addicted to home 'world cuisine' changes?
Are you the kind of home cook who has sudden urges to change to different cuisines totally? I am and it doesn't seem to ever work out. Example: I have lots of cookbooks devoted to Japanese food, Malaysian food, French food, Chinese food and on and on. The other day I was looking at my cook books and I had a sudden impulse to cook only Japanese food, maybe forever. 'Forever' for me always seems to last a few days fortunately for my wife. So I dig my Japanese cook books out and make a list of all the ingredients I 'must have' in the pantry. These bottles of mirin/dashi etc are then set out ready to use. This time it's going to be different from all the other times. Trouble is inevitably after screwing up a couple of dinners I sort of loose interest in Japanese food. I never really liked miso anyway. This happens about four times a year. I must have bought then given to the thrift store a dozen bamboo steamer sets. And wok sets? There's a container of miso in the back of the fridge I must have bought a year ago. I opened it and it had one spoonful used. After my last episode of 'Maylasian Madness' I asked my wife what she wanted for dinner the next night. "How about some braised short ribs and roasted garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli?". The next day the 'kitchen elves' had removed all those strange bottles and bags from the counter. Does this sort of sickness have you in it's grips? If so what are your experiences with say 'going Thai'?
My experience has taught me that I am better off finding a really great restaurant locally (30 minute radius) and letting them maintain their expertise :)
This works well for Szechuan, Thai, Indian, and sushi. I am just NOT going to be able to find all the right ingredients to make my favorite menu items from these places. I mean, without driving to 3 different markets and I am far too lazy/busy to do that.
It has not worked as well for Irish, British, or American foods like lamb shanks, pot roast, or meatloaf. Or pot pies. But those are all things I can easily find the ingredients for, and I do want to cook sometimes :)
I usually eat the food in country and then buy a couple of definitive cook books on the cuisine. Sometimes from restaurants. Then my meals are heavy on the latest passion for about 6 months. Then it naturally fades away until I have 6 or 10 that merge into my usual rotation of meal planning.
Last nights meal was chicken in fermented black beans, kale with habanero peppers, mashed potatos, and stir fried snowpeas with garlic. That is called merging.
For a while I was addicted to cooking Indian frood from 660 Curries. I bought all kinds of spices and lentils and flours (some still unopened!). I really enjoyed doing it though and still use the cookbook occasionally. This little project taught me to, like EngineerChic, leave some of the cuisines up to the pros. I have no fear of cooking what the restaurants cook, but finding the right ingredients can prove very difficult, time consuming, or even impossible in a smaller city. I absolutely cannot find curry leaves anywhere in my hometown so I have to stock up on them when I go to the Northern Virginia area.
I am prone to brief bouts of cuisine-shuffling. Someone mentioned "condimentia" on another thread. I am in its thrall. Half the real estate in the fridge and cabinets is taken up by partially used jars and bottles of ingredients from exotic cuisines. There's not much room for the stuff that I *do* use constantly. I vowed not to buy/open any non-basics until I've used up or discarded what I have. I am not tied to recipes, though. Yesterday I found some paneer that I'd frozen, and there was a can of spinach that I bought for pilaf that I didn't get around to making. There was frozen boneless, skinless turkey, and fresh Brussels sprouts. So I wound up with a take-off on saag paneer. Pretty good over brown jasmine rice, which started out as an exotic and has become my standard rice.
i have easy and inexpensive access to ingredients for all kinds of cuisines. 20+ years or so ago, when i was fresh from culinary school and finding my own niche as a cook, i did go nuts on exotic ingredients and condiments. after a few years of dried lily buds and kim chee languishing in my fridge, i decided to stick with what i really enjoy cooking and eating. i leave the other stuff to ex-pats and happily let them cook and serve me.
your behavior sounds a little compulsive, lol. maybe channel the energy elsewhere?