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Old 09-07-2021, 12:19 PM   #1
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Where do you find cooking inspiration?

Just wondering where you find inspiration or ideas for meals and dishes to make? I saw a sign once, "Who knew that one of the toughest parts of growing up would be deciding what to have for dinner every night!" One of the reasons I joined DC...I'm guessing I'm not alone in that!

I find inspiration online, forums, pinterest, and from restaurant menus too. Especially when all the restaurants were closed! I look up the menu and read the description and say, "I can do that!" Mostly...ha, ha. From Firehouse Subs, l learned that just steaming the sandwich meat for a bit can make a sandwich seem special. From Pita Pit, I learned I can nuke a piece of Pocket Pita (NOTE; must be pocket type), then spread a bit of humus, add greens and veggies, some sub sauce, meat, tahini, and presto, a different kind of lunch made quick and easy.

I've been known to call a restaurant and ask how they make their "x" dish and you would be surprised how many will just tell you! Or, other popular places will have "copycat" listing all over the www.

So, where do you look when you need a new idea for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

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Old 09-07-2021, 03:37 PM   #2
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I almost never go to restaurants, except when traveling, and only once in a blue moon did I find inspirations for foods in restaurants. Some of the ideas I'd get from older TV cooking shows, though a few more recent shows have been good, too. But most I've gotten from books - several hundred CBs I've accumulated, starting in book sales back in the 70s, when I started cooking, mainly to save money!

A few online sites I look to for some things - some of the CB authors have some good websites, but many aren't as good as the books, and some of the best recipes have been changed, and not for the better. Oh well...fortunately, I remember these books better than I can remember people's names!

Another place I used to get a lot info from, while I was still working, was people on my route, while delivering mail. There were some stores, and several run by various Asians, and eventually I'd get talking to them about food, and they loved sharing what they knew about food with me, and it shocked them that I was growing many of the Asian herbs and vegetables I have. Some Vietnamese sisters opened a salon on my route, and I got talking to them about food, and offered them some of my excess kaffir lime leaves (unavailable in this area, at that time), and they immediately thought I must have an Asian wife! They started sharing some of their food with me, telling me how they made them, and I know they were trying to find something that I wouldn't try, including those fertilized eggs!

I also got talking to a lot of people I'd see growing foods. They loved sharing info on growing things, especially tomatoes!
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Old 09-07-2021, 03:39 PM   #3
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I've been subscribing to several food blogs for many years, so I get a lot of ideas from them. I use a website/app called Feedly to manage the subscriptions.

I also subscribe to several food video channels on YouTube.

And I use a recipe app called Paprika to save recipes and menus. It can import recipes from websites and I can add my own recipes. I have a category called To Try to keep track of new recipes I save. If they pass muster, I remove them from that category and add them to other relevant categories. It's great because if/when I make changes, I can change the recipe immediately and the next time I make it, it's ready to go.

That's the plan, anyway Sometimes I actually follow the recipes and sometimes I get ideas and incorporate them into dishes I already make.
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Old 09-07-2021, 03:49 PM   #4
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I try to re-create old family recipes that remind me of my mom's cooking.

I like to occasionally make classic recipes.

I get ideas for new recipes from various websites online.
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Old 09-07-2021, 04:50 PM   #5
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Well, pepperhead212, as I mentioned in my DC Intro post, I got my first cookbook when I was 10. I did recently take a few boxes worth to Goodwill, as one of the shelves collapsed and DH had to reinforce the shelving! I hated to part with them, yet, there are some that just held no interest, at this point. And, in order to make room for new treasures...well, they needed to go. Here's an "after" shot.

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Ooops...sorry, don't know how to rotate the picture. That's not how it "was" when I selected it?
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:04 PM   #6
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Ginny I have 2 bookcases in my dining room, just under 7' tall, and 32" wide, with 7 shelves each, plus a couple of sections with higher shelves, for larger books, under a long shelf I grow plants on in the cold season. Plus, five 18 gal tubs of books upstairs, many of which I will eventually sell, but many I just don't have room for downstairs! This was going to be a project of mine, during the pandemic, until I found out how much the price of lumber had gone up! It's going down, so eventually, I'll get it made - I already have it drawn up.

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Old 09-07-2021, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperhead212 View Post
Ginny I have 2 bookcases in my dining room, just under 7' tall, and 32" wide, with 7 shelves each, plus a couple of sections with higher shelves, for larger books, under a long shelf I grow plants on in the cold season. Plus, five 18 gal tubs of books upstairs, many of which I will eventually sell, but many I just don't have room for downstairs! This was going to be a project of mine, during the pandemic, until I found out how much the price of lumber had gone up! It's going down, so eventually, I'll get it made - I already have it drawn up.

Wow! Mind you, I gave away/freecycled/donated many when we moved up here in 2011 and more just recently...but still, you have me beat! In books, for sure. I do have a digital collection too!
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:33 PM   #8
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The first thing I made sure of when redoing my kitchen, was to have a book shelf to proudly display my favorite cookbooks. Sure, I get a lot online, but there are some I just love having as a reference and it also looks cool too!

As far as inspiration, the obvious is old family recipes passed down from generation to generation, but that source has run dry, as I've gotten everything I could out of it. Now Im the one who is passing them down to my kids.

Being vegan/ vegetarian and doing a lot of road trips ( actually one coming up in a week), I make it a point to go to restaurants. Ill always select one dish I know Im going to like, and another that I have never heard of. I do this to broaden my culinary experiences and develop new ideas and tastes . Sure, not all work out, butt every now an then I'll find a gem. Ill do the same when going to ethnic restaurants. Even if with just me and my wife, ill always order a third dish just to try it out.

Gardening, Ill also try and grow new veggies then try and figure out what Im going to do with them.

Ethnic grocery stores ( Asian, Indian, Latino, Middle Eastern .... Ill go in to get what I need, then pick up a a few things I have no clue what they are. Ill often engage in conversation with the store owner or someone who works there to get ideas on how to prepare.

I did do one of those meal prep companies ( Purple carrot) where they send you the ingredients along with recipe cards. Once again, just to try and be exposed to new things. Sometimes ( as mentioned above). trying to decide what's for dinner is a pain in the butt, so its nice when someone decides for you. The issue I had was the boxes were always delivered on Tuesday, Wednesday I have off but work Thurs, Fri latish, so I had to do all the cooking on Wednesday so everything wouldn't spoil. So I cancelled the subscription.

I like the older cooking shows, but have scaled back from the food channel and other food programs. It was getting too ' Hollywood' for me. I dont need to be entertained, I just want to learn to cook and be exposed to new things. I was starting to feel more effort being placed on the Productions and less on the actual content. Sure there are a few that are OK, but I dont go out of my way anymore.

just being vegetarian with a vegan wife forces me to think outside of the box on creating new things and recreating old favorites to fit our dietary needs. Challenging but rewarding. Successes and failures.

And of course, DC. So many different people in different locations, with different backgrounds of all ages and experiences . I have picked up may tips, suggestions ,recipes and guidance through the years.
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:48 PM   #9
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Thank you Larry! Good info...do you get "Recipe TV" channel? Channel 284 on DishNetwork. Their shows are...hmmm...much less Hollywood! Lots of unusual things. I just turned it on. Right now, is Catherine's Farmhouse Kitchen. I think she's Irish and she's making a Red Lentil and Coconut soup. Looks pretty good. It is my go to, "there's nothing on TV" channel. They are NOT actors. Lots of times it is some restaurant Chef or another showcasing a signature dish. I've been known to use the pause button & write things down!
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Old 09-07-2021, 09:11 PM   #10
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I get a lot of inspiration here on DC. I subscribe to the weekly menu plan at a Danish cooking site. My mum was Danish and I have lived in Denmark, so I like a lot of those recipes. I also follow Chef John on YouTube and have tried several of his recipes. Some were more to our taste than others. I also get inspiration from some of the meals that friends share on FB. If it looks interesting, I ask for the recipe. I do that here too with the supper thread. I was also following Cook's Country on YouTube. I think they are more inspiration to me than resources for recipes. The recipes work, but there are often better, more authentic ones available elsewhere. I still check on them once in a while, but I have lost interest in watching daily.
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Old 09-07-2021, 09:30 PM   #11
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I get inspiration from whatever is in season in fruits and vegetables. There are so many dishes we haven't tried so we try new ones each week with our old standby recipes.



We read and see nutrition studies and try to incorporate new fruits veg and spices so we maximize the nutrition and taste.



Some spices we decidedly don't like, but amazingly even mr bliss has found new ones he enjoys that we'd never had before. He's much less adventurous than I am.



We're still learning how to make things we previously bought in the store, already made.
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Old 09-07-2021, 10:07 PM   #12
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The garden and greenhouse are my starting points. Just dug the potatoes and have heaps of tomatoes, so I'll be making a gallette. As household chef, I also take requests. Herself asked for something with eggs, so I made an omelette with some roasted green chile that was too ragged to vacuum pack for rellenos.

I have specialties, such as eggplant parmesan, and regular dishes like vegetable soup with a baguette, that we have a couple times per month.

Herself is trying to eat a more plant-based diet without completely disrupting our lifelong food habits, so I've been trying veggie and vegan burger, sausage, cheese, etc. to find out what's good. Just had Beyond burgers, cooked on a wood-fired micro-grill: juicy, dense, chewy, and very satisfying. Tried Impossible burger last week, and it was also good.

She's a lapsed Catholic, so I always cook fish on Friday, sort of a nice anchor for the week's menus. We joined a CSF (community supported fishery) based in Sitka, Alaska, and have lots of lovely fish in the freezer: halibut, salmon, rockfish, ling, spot shrimp. No shortage of inspiration.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:59 AM   #13
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I always start with either what I have in my freezer/pantry and get ideas from there. Sometimes I go with what's on sale for the week, or if I've been given something from a friend/relative. If I have problems thinking of some way to fix it, then I most times will go to my "trusty" friend Google. A lot of times, I don't even have to worry, as Mom will think of some way she wants it.
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:39 AM   #14
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I find inspiration from all sorts of places. Sometimes it might be a TV show, or something Ive read about online. Other times, something which catches my attention on Instagram or FB. Sometimes I just open the fridge and say to myself: Right! What am I going to do with this lot?". Perhaps I get a craving for something, like yesterday: I HAD to make a moussaka!
And then theres a visit to the supermarket. Just one special ingredient ( fresh artichokes, for example) can inspire a cooking spree. Or, again like yesterday: got a call from a friend whos an inspired chef and caterer: " give me some veggie options for an Embassy brunch". I did - and she was happy!
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Old 09-08-2021, 10:29 AM   #15
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Lots of great ideas! Thanks everyone!
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:26 AM   #16
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I have Dry Erase boards for my freezers that I keep outside in our finished garage. It's not always easy to see or remember what's in there, so I keep inventory.
When I'm looking for inspiration, that's my most frequently utilized tool.
I've also found that I can look back at my years of "Food Fotos" give me ideas as well. Sometimes you forget about a dish that you made years ago
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:56 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Kaneohegirlinaz;

I have Dry Erase boards for my freezers that I keep outside in our finished garage. It's not always easy to see or remember what's in there, so I keep inventory.
When I'm looking for inspiration, that's my most frequently utilized tool.
I've also found that I can look back at my years of "Food Fotos" give me ideas as well. Sometimes you forget about a dish that you made years ago [/QUOTE]

My FIL (RIP) was very good about keeping lists on the fridge, freezer and pantry. Me, not so much. But good for you!!! Which remind me, I need to start a new batch of pintos to become freezer re-fried beans!
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