Maybe it is because she is jewish and gay. Or maybe it is because she is married to a designer. Whatever the reason, something about Julia Turshen’s cookbook, Small Victories, spoke to me.
I discovered her after spiraling down an Instagram rabbit hole. I must have been on her wife’s account (@designsponge) when I saw several posts promoting Julia’s new book. I ordered it immediately and within a week I was cooking a delicious and aromatic pot of curried red lentils with coconut milk. It wasn’t the first time I’ve cooked lentils, but I’ve never had the urge to lick my plate clean like I did that night.
Without much delay, I bought a new blank journal, sent a photo of it to my girlfriend, and said there was something fun on the horizon. Her half-joking reply was “I think you should have a goal to finish a notebook!” Like so many things in my life, I often do not finish what I start and am a master of procrastination. Whether it is one of several journals only filled 1/4 of the way, a children’s book review blog, graduate school, or organizing and cleaning our apartment. I have a tendency to get excited about something, but I do not always follow through.
What makes Small Victories different from any other cookbook I’ve owned before is that I want to read every word from cover to cover. It’s not just a collection of recipes. It is an ode to a woman’s love for food, family, relationships, and community. She encourages you to get personal (use your hands!) with your food and makes it incredibly accessible to do so. Most importantly, Turshen’s cookbook invites you to bring your own creativity into the mix. You end up creating a foundation and building on it with the tips tucked into the small victories outlined in every recipe. My most used one so far? Letting meat get to room temperature before cooking. Game. Changer.
So really this is another fun project idea that I am embarking on. I suppose there are some hints of Julie & Julia here as my goal is to cook the entirety of Small Victories and document the journey. This will not be solely a food blog and I imagine some of my own recipes and food adventures (as well as some non-food adventures) will creep their way in. Much of my passion for food is tied to my family and I look forward to sharing some personal traditions and stories too.