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  • Mary

The Big Intro

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Hello, friends! I am Mary, the sister that likes to cook, although calling me The Cook sounds pretentious and far more impressive than my skills really are. I am not one who can look through the fridge, find a mango, a stalk of broccoli and a rind of parmesan and come up with a gourmet meal.

I like recipes – I like reading cookbooks, looking at pictures of delicious food and feeding people. I like the process. I love to be in my kitchen making something that my family will enjoy.

Allow me to explain our family. My home family includes my husband, John, and my least fierce critic: a Yorkie, Macie Mae (who will happily eat anything except peanut butter). Our larger family (my sister and brother and their families, and our parents) has Sunday dinner together each week. We rotate houses; each of us takes a turn hosting. So, feeding my family also includes these dinners. We have another brother who lives out of state and doesn't make it to too many of these get-togethers (sigh).

Speaking of Sunday dinners, they do pose some challenges. We have different likes/dislikes/dietary needs, so finding something that will please everyone is next to impossible. Sorry, Lea, but I cook aiming to delight 4 people in our group of 12: my nephew (The Good Eater), my husband, our brother and our sister-in-law. I get great satisfaction from hearing them ask for seconds. Or, and this sounds mean, complain about being overly full. We do, however, always have plenty of wine to go around!

This cooking challenge was born during The Pause (to borrow a phrase from the book The Last Romantics): the quarantine of 2020. Since we were eating at home ALL THE TIME, I thought about cooking through an entire cookbook, à la Julie & Julia, and wanted to select an Ina Garten one. I have all of her cookbooks and have made so many of the recipes – always, always, always with great results.

Then I spoke with my sister, who said she wanted to learn how to cook. Yay, let’s cook through this Ina Garten Foolproof together! It’ll be easy! It says so right in the name! Foolproof!

Might turn out that we’re the fools that defy the proclamation…we'll let you know in about 53 weeks.

A word on the process: I took the Foolproof cookbook and mapped out 1-2 recipes per week based on season, potential cost, and difficulty. If it was a costly or time-consuming recipe, I tried to make it the lone one for the week. If it was a Thanksgiving recipe, I placed it, well, around Thanksgiving! (So clever!)

Now, you have to understand my sister. She’s already told you she doesn’t like to cook…and she really doesn’t like food all that much. Sure, she likes chocolate and French fries and those same 5 things she cooks on repeat, but other than that? Notsomuch. Does it have onion? No, thanks. Garlic? Count her out. But she desperately wants to do this for her kids.

Here’s an example of a recent conversation she had with her son (hope she doesn’t mind me telling you this):

Lea (in determining what to feed the boy, who wasn’t feeling well): Please eat. I’ll make anything. What is your favorite meal?

The Good Eater: You mean that YOU make? Or, like, in general?

She would love for those two questions to result in the same answer.

So, join us as we navigate these recipes together. One challenge, two perspectives.

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Sep 10, 2020

This looks like so much fun!

Good luck

I am looking forward to you next recipe.

I love Ina!!!!!


Sep 07, 2020

As a somewhat picky eater, ok very picky eater, I’m looking forward to the recipes. Cant wait to try them. The tomato crostini is something I would never make but actually looked really good, I may try that one soon!


Sep 07, 2020

Great job on the Google doc with list of recipes and links to the recipes!! Now, I just need to make sure my wife can bookmark it!!!! :)


Sep 07, 2020

Looking forward to following you! :)


Sep 06, 2020

Wait, Lea already did that! She's so smart! Here's the link:

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