The Sophisticated Ladies started as a joke between my high school friends. When four of them were together in a small-town bar, a gentleman approached them and said, “Well, aren’t you a bunch of sophisticated ladies”. No one was dressed up or being particularly “sophisticated,” but rather were focused on catching up. Sophisticated Ladies stuck.
When we all turned 30, I was out of a job and living with my parents. I had limited resources, but plenty of time on my hands. My mom and I had been cooking up a storm while I was home and I had a great stack of wonderful recipes. Whenever I would talk to my Sophisticated high school friends, they always teased that I said cooking was so easy and would try to convince them to make some of the recipes I had. So, I decided to put together a book of my favorite recipes – mine, my mom’s, my sisters’. My mom and I raided her recipe box that had forgotten gems. Recipes that were no more than a list of ingredients because directions were unnecessary. And we put together our first book. I gave it to my friends who liked to cook the least as a present. Each recipe has an introduction and the directions are expanded so non-cooks are not intimidated by what to do.
In the past 10 years, I have passed the book on to countless friends. But I have also amassed a ton more recipes. I love to cook food from different parts of the world and in the meantime have married an Indian man, so have expanded my go-to recipes to include quite a few Bengali favorites. My mom and even my non-cooking friends have collected recipes as well. So I put a call out to anyone who might have a copy of it with a request for their best recipes. The book covers every type of dish I can get my hands on. And I got a great response – over 400 recipes. However, my husband and I have not been able to test them all out. Right now I am working making it a more manageable number of recipes and trying to make sure that I try everything out so I can make sure the directions are clear. If there is an odd ingredient, there are directions on where to find it in the grocery store or what kind of grocery store to hunt down. This is taking a lot of time.
As I continue to plug away on it, I can see that this is really a never-ending process. And if I had started a blog 10 years ago, putting this book together would be so much easier! So this blog will be the companion piece to the cookbook. I hope to include some of the same recipes in the book as well as ones that don’t make it. Once the book is done, this will be my spot to add more new recipes.
I also hope to add in more pictures and videos to demystify some of the challenges of cooking from a cookbook.
Sophisticated reader, I ask that you please join this food conversation. It doesn’t matter if you are an uber-foodie or if you think you might be aware of a kitchen in your residence. Everyone is welcome here and all skill levels are welcome! If you read a recipe and find it confusing, please comment! If you aren’t sure, surely there are plenty of more people even more confused. If you try a recipe and find a better way to do it – let everyone know! And this is not for ladies only, I hope that Sophisticated Gentlemen will join us as well!