Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 2

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There came a moment—for me it was a little more than a year ago—when cash-strapped music lovers like myself realized that, even without file-sharing or bit torrent, one could download all the songs on a newly released record if enough bloggers wrote about it. The avalanche of mp3 blogs (coupled with better search engines and aggregators for these things), in addition to ‘legitimate’ media giving away free promotional content, has made it very, very easy to get your hands on most new releases.

As it is for records, strangely, so it is for cookbooks.

Last week, while reading this thread about cooking every recipe in a whole cookbook, I was led to this thread, a group effort to cook every recipe in James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor, a book I hadn’t heard of. Reading the accounts of making such unfamiliar—but clearly delicious—Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean dishes as Beef Rendang, Javanese Chicken Curry, and Padang Fish Curry made me instantly want this book. A quick search showed that I wouldn’t be able to find the book in London, so I ordered it from one of Amazon’s second-hand sellers. Within days, I would get to start cooking from this exciting new source.

But (such is my obsessiveness these days) I wanted to start cooking from the book right away—in fact, we had friends coming over for dinner later in the week; what I really wanted was to use the small dinner party as an opportunity to make two or three dishes from the new book. I wanted, it now seems to me, to share my bizarre excitement. But, of course, the book would not arrive for at least three or four days; there was no chance I would have it in time for the dinner party.

As you may have guessed, this was not a problem.

As I continued to read through the egullet thread, I would google any dish that looked particularly appealing (this was most dishes). Sure enough, I’d find the recipe. There was the Malaysian Chicken Satay recipe on Oseland’s own website. There was the special piece on Epicurious, complete with six of the book’s recipes. There was a similar piece in Salon. And then, of course, there are so many, many, many, blogs. Honestly, the only dish I was really curious about but couldn’t find was Potato Rendang. I had no problem coming up with a menu of Chicken Satay, Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice, and Stir-Fried Asian Greens with Garlic & Chiles. The dinner was every bit as delicious as I had hoped, and was a big hit with our guests as well.

I wonder if cookbook publishers will emulate the RIAA and send out hired goons to hunt down offenders like me and bring us to justice. In any case, I did already pay for the book, so I don’t feel too guilty. It arrived the morning after the party, of course.

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2 Responses to “Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 2”

  1. Chris Says:

    Most of the websites don’t have the sumptuous pictures, though!

  2. g00blar Says:

    Of course! Nor the excellent treatises on individual ingredients, nor the personal anecdotes from his travels in the islands, nor the pleasures of having A BOOK.

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