For most people there is no such thing as “cooking season,” as you have to eat every day, 365/year. But I remember clearly when I was writing The Cook-Ahead Cookbook and had to wait till December to start.
Why? you ask. Very simple: Hurricanes.
Huh? you are probably thinking.
Let me explain.
I should start by telling you that every single recipe in that cookbook went through a testing process in my own kitchen. Then let me further point out that the cookbook featured recipes that, for the most part, served 4 or more and were designed to be frozen in single servings and defrosted and reheated as needed. At the time, I was living alone, though I had friends over for dinner more nights than not. While I was writing the cookbook, my friends knew they were to be guinea pigs. I might cook three recipes a day, on average (sometimes way more), and each recipe was frozen in single servings to be reheated and consumed later.
Meanwhile, since my fridge’s freezer didn’t remotely begin to hold the quantity of food involved, I invested in a large used chest freezer. (Fortunately I was still living in my old house at the time and had room for it in my laundry room.)
But this is South Florida, where we keep a wary on the weather reports from the first day of Hurricane Season — June 1 — to the last — November 30. Should there be a hurricane, even if your house doesn’t succumb to the winds and rain, your electricity is likely to go out. And stay out awhile. (In the first of the hurricanes of a few years ago, we were without power for 10 days before it was restored.) I couldn’t risk being caught with TWO freezers full of food that would go bad in case of a prolonged outage. So I had to wait till December — the end of Hurricane Season — to “declare my test kitchen open for business.” It was just too risky to chance losing everything in a bad storm.
Of course, the downside to all that frozen food was that for a looooooong time thereafter I hardly got to cook at all. And, as you know by now if you’ve been following this blog, I LOOOOOVE to cook. But with TWO freezers full of food, I had to use up the packages expeditiously or risk still having full freezers half a year thence, when hurricane season rolled around again
I did take the occasional break from the freezers’ goodies to buy and prepare something not to be found among the many frozen packages. Mostly recipes that don’t freeze and reheat spectacularly and were not included in the cookbook. Or recipes that fell into my hands after my work on The Cook-Ahead Cookbook was completed and that I was too eager to try now to put aside for the many, many months it would take me to get through the contents of the freezers.
In fact, when June 1 and the next Hurricane Season rolled around, I had not yet emptied the freezers, though the largest part of their contents was gone.
Thankfully, there were no hurricanes that year. And I had no complaints from my guests over being guinea pigs for my recipes.
But it’s a bummer to have to plan to write a cookbook only in “cooking season.” Ah, that’s life in the tropics for you!
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Author of over 50 published books, including The Cook-Ahead Cookbook (Bristol/Nitty-Gritty) and many books on other subjects, Cynthia MacGregor is a full-time freelance writer/editor. She is available to write, edit, ghostwrite, and do public speaking. Her website is www.cynthiamacgregor.com, and her email is [email protected] She lives near West Palm Beach.