Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 Work In Progress: A Healthy Gourmet Cookbook For Runners, or "Why It's Been Relatively Quiet Here Over the Past 6 Months :)"


Wow, it's been exceptionally busy these past few months.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before here, but over the past several months, I've been writing a healthy gourmet cookbook geared towards runners/athletes and other health-minded individuals. I'm so excited about it!  Thankfully, the writing has been fairly fluid & is progressing at a rapid pace.

Cookbook writing (as with any major writing project) is an all-consuming activity. I've been joking with friends that I frequently dream of fruit & veg (& perhaps even the occasional, proverbial recipe card!) jumping over the fence instead of sheep. ;)

During this time, as you can probably imagine, it's been a real challenge to keep up with the many IRL & virtual activities in which I'm involved. That might also explain why there have been more healthy gourmet recipe posts than running-related posts as of late. ;) As the expression goes, "something had to give," but of course after I wrap up the cookbook, it'll once more be back to business-as-usual here at this blog. :)

The current plan is to create a well-rounded cookbook containing a minimum of 250 recipes (although at the rate I'm going, that number might be even larger by the time I'm through writing the book!).

Please note that every single recipe that appears in the cookbook must first go through a rigorous taste-testing process & be given the seal of approval by not only me (the chef & creator), but also my family, friends, & acquaintances, & in many cases -- thanks to many of you & your incredibly helpful & gracious feedback -- the general public at large. :) That means that as I create the recipes, I cook each & every single one of them. Now 250+ recipes, that's a lot of meals & hours of cooking (& a lot of effort too!). :)  I've been gradually working on this original recipe project since 2007. However, as of late 2009 & early 2010, the cookbook-writing has been ramped up to "full-speed ahead" status. Lately, new recipes have been just flying out of my head. I'm hoping to finish most of the recipe-writing & test-kitchen cooking over the next 6 months. Although a lot of nutrition specific-segments are contained within each recipe, I'd still like to write some segments dedicated to various general and sports nutrition topics, as well as some anecdotal writing, to add my own unique "flavor" to the cookbook, please pardon the pun. ;) While I've been published before (articles, poetry, short stories, essays, etc.), this is my first book per se, so it's hard to say exactly how long the entire process will take. Of course, I've made some projections based on my current rate of progress, & so far, I'm keeping to the established timetable. Over the past 3 months alone, I've created 42 new recipes, not to mention the 29 backdated new original recipes I created during that same time period to replace the ones from other (i.e., published) chefs that I'd removed once I'd decided to feature only "100% all-original recipes" on the recipe blog. :)
The primary aim of the cookbook is to provide 100% original, nutritious recipes centered around fresh whole foods which are low in refined sugar & fat, but high in taste. :) I'd like to not only help people in their efforts to cook & eat healthfully, but also provide useful ways in which to re-conceptualize what this actually means. In other words, this is not a "lettuce & tofu only" type of cookbook. :) A major goal is to get people excited about cooking & eating healthfully in such a way that they enjoy the cooking process as much as the eating part. :)

A secondary goal of the cookbook is to introduce new dishes and cuisines that some individuals might not have had the opportunity to try before (particularly in their revamped healthier counterparts!)...that is, until now. :) Recipes will be as diverse as this wonderful planet on which we live, representative of as many different regional & (inter)national cuisines as possible. And of course, all of the various meal courses will be represented -- soups, salads, side dishes, entrĂ©es, desserts, snacks, beverages, breakfast foods, condiments, sauces, spice mixes, etc.

While the majority of recipes are straight-forward and easy to prepare, there are also a few recipes that speak to the ardent gourmet in all of us, & thus, are a bit more involved.  I'm considering creating a "Weekend Cooking Projects" section, & adding those recipes to that category. ;)

You might also even be surprised to know that the cookbook incorporates some ingredients which will probably not be appearing on a "dieter's checklist" any time soon, although they might very well appear on a list of "Super Foods." :) (Some examples: walnuts, eggs, avocados, & other nutritious foods that contain "healthy fats.")

As you have probably heard me intone many times before, I don't believe in diets & obsessive-compulsive calorie-counting. I believe in exercise & nutritious, moderate consumption, & in balancing the two so that it's possible to enjoy food & one's life and still maintain one's figure. :) And of course, balanced nutrition and proper portion sizes necessarily factor heavily into that equation as well. In keeping with this philosophy, the cookbook's recipes incorporate a balanced variety of fresh, whole foods, and sometimes some of these whole foods fall into the "use sparingly" category. :) For example, butter is typically used as an accent flavoring versus an overriding, full-fledged ingredient.  

In terms of the "healthy gourmet" concept, the cookbook also contains a lot of tips to show people how to enhance flavor without adding a lot of extra fat in the process. There are also some cool tips & tricks for sweetening recipes without using refined sugar. And of course, there are segments devoted to general nutrition, sports nutrition, & foods that are a runner's best friend. :)

The responses, thus far, to the cookbook's recipes (many of which have also been posted on the recipe blog) have been phenomenal. In particular, the feedback from the social media community has been exceptionally amazing & helpful, so thank you to all of you who have taste-tested recipes & have given me your input!  As it's still a work-in-progress, the cookbook has already been greatly enhanced by your commentary, and will surely be even better thanks to your efforts!

So thanks for generously sharing your cooking experiences with me, and with the rest of the social media community on the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, & elsewhere!

Have a great night!
-Corey (a.k.a. "Coach/Chef Cyberpenguin" :) )


Blaine Moore said...

Great project!

I just recently put together a vanity cookbook as a thank you/christmas gift for my wife's folks, who took us to Greece. It came out great, but it was a lot of work to put together and it only had around 30 recipes (of which we actually made about 2/3 of them before running out of time.)

Cyberpenguin said...

Thanks, Blaine! That's a fabulous & very memorable gift idea. Bet it meant a lot to your wife's folks! It's a great, personal way to say thank you to them. :)

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