New day – new concept

It’s finally time to unveil a new concept for my website!

Back in 2011 when I began “Table For One, Please” the focus was entirely on single dining at restaurants. I maintained that focus for a few years until a disastrous experience with a web hosting company resulted in the accidental deletion of all of my posts.

Needless to say – I ditched that company and moved to a new hosting service immediately.

Luckily, I was introduced to the website Wayback Machine. Most of my information had been archived, so I was able to rebuild the site from the ground up. I plugged along fairly well for another few years, but my single dining had pulled back a great deal due to a very lucky experience. After reading my reviews, the publisher of The Local Tourist contacted me and asked me to start writing restaurant reviews for that website.

Most of my dining from that point forward involved invitations to restaurants, asking me to bring a friend and then write about the experience. With so much time and energy devoted to The Local Tourist, I allowed my own site to grow dormant.

During that period of inactivity, I neglected to see that another disastrous web hosting “accident” had once again deleted my content. At this point, I took that as a sign from some higher authority that I needed to re-think my approach to the site.

Epiphany!After pondering options, I suddenly had an epiphany.

The concept of “table for one” encompasses far more than just dining alone at restaurants. For me, it involves that but also cooking for one at home as well as the energy of travelling alone. Once I had that epiphany, I began to brainstorm just how I could merge those concepts into the site.

One night, after enjoying a “cooking for one” experience at home and while enjoying a “cocktail for one” experience afterwards, I decided to dive down the rabbit hole of Netflix. During my random clicking, I ran across the film Julie and Julia. I had seen it years before, but decided to watch again. It’s an excellent, entertaining film – especially if you are a foodie.

The film is based on two true stories – the life of Julia Child and the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. I highly recommend both!

After the film, I went into my kitchen and pulled out my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking but noticed that I had a fairly large collection of cookbooks, most of which I have never even cracked open. I don’t have the most extensive collection I know (some of my friends have entire rooms filled with cookbooks) but I counted 92 on my shelf – that’s a fairly impressive number.

Inspired by the film, I thought to myself, “What if I were to do something like Julie Powell did?”

Of course, I couldn’t duplicate the exact process. First, that would be doing something that had already been done. Second, there are no other cookbooks that are as iconic as Julia Child’s book. Finally, if I were to try to cook all the recipes, it would take several lifetimes.

I am a huge fan of the phrase, “What if . . . “ so I started asking myself that question until I finally got to a “what if” that rang as a fun and exciting proposition.

My shelf of cookbooks at of June 9, 2019What if I were to read and review each cookbook and then cook something representative from each one, then write about it?

The more I thought about this, the more I got excited by the idea. I will still review restaurants from time to time, and I will certainly write about my solo travel adventures when they happen, but to restart my website I have decided to engage in this recent brainchild which I am calling the Cookbook Challenge.

Here are the rules I have established for this Cookbook Challenge, and I invite everyone to keep me honest!

  • I will start at the left side of my bookshelf and work my way through the books one at a time in the order they are shelved today. I included a photo above so that you can keep me honest.
  • For each cookbook, I will read and review it.
  • After reviewing, I will use a random number generator to pull up a page (or pages) in the cookbook.
  • I will then prepare whatever recipe(s) fall on the random page and post about that, both in writing and by video. In the case of multiple recipes on a page, I will choose the one that most appeals to me. At least in that way, I have a tiny bit of choice instead of being totally randomized.

Caricature of Tommy Hensel as a foodieI think this is going to be a blast!

Keep an eye out for my next post, where I reveal the title of that first cookbook you see all the way to the left side of the shelf in the picture above – the beginning of my new Cookbook Challenge.

Epicuriously Yours,
Tommy

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