Saturday, December 29, 2012

A fantastic challenge upset

A thousand years ago I was given a very special orange book. Way back when I didn't know my way around a kitchen and was terrified by recipe books devoid of pictures. Back when I regularly botched simple dinners and the thought of feeding anybody other than my nearest and dearest scared me witless. 

I have come a long way since then. These days I prefer my recipes complicated and can spend hours planning a dinner party menu or an 8 course degustation for someone dear. 18 months ago I decided to share my love of cooking with the world, in the form of this blog, tracking my new hobby of cooking every recipe in the special orange book, the iconic Australian kitchen bible, The Cook's Companion.

Expecting only a shiitake log for Christmas this year (I had dropped some heavy hints for that one!) I ripped open my surprise second present only to see a very familiar rainbow cover! I had ogled the updated version of TCC in bookshops, all the while feeling a sense of betrayal to my tatty but loved orange friend. My first thought when I opened my gift was WOW! which was immediately followed by the realisation that my challenge had just been extended by several years. Yikes.

Anybody who has the original version of this book needs to SERIOUSLY consider upgrading. There are so many fabulous new recipes and as the wonderful Stephanie herself pointed out, the marginal recipes are now indexed! I briefly entertained the thought of adding the marginal recipes to the challenge...but I am not completely insane and would like to finish this in the next decade. I have other recipe books that are suffering terrible neglect for which I feel a constant guilt.

So of course I have spent my quiet moments over the last few days updating my challenge spreadsheet (read: geek heaven). I was simultaneously amused and afraid to discover;
  • I am no longer a third of the way through the challenge. In fact my progress has now slipped back to  my being less than a quarter of the way through 
  • instead of 114 chapters of recipes, there are now 123
  • I have gone from having 3 chapters completed, to a big fat zero. There are additional recipes everywhere you look! 
  • there are now dedicated chapters for abalone, venison and pomegranates. There are more new chapters but these are the ones I was most excited about
  • And the best one of all....instead of 656 recipes I now have 984 amazing recipes to complete.
Bring it on!


  1. I love this book and also have the brilliant orange version. I've been eyeing off the stripy version for a few years but not yet succumbed. I keep thinking she will bring out a 3rd edition...... (sorry!)

    1. Mel the orange version is also fabulous...but now that I have the new book I don't think I could go back!