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MID WEEK PHILOSOPHY: COOKBOOKS

January 25, 2012
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I have my fair share of cookbooks.    Some are in the kitchen in a designated cupboard , some are in the guest bedroom ( I really still call it my daughter’s room, even though she no longer lives with us)  on a bookshelf.  Some cookbooks  I have given to people whom I can’t remember and thus will never see  those cookbooks again!  But what I use the most are my own cookbooks.  I use that term very loosely.  They are really a collection of recipes from people.  People that I  love, like my mother, my aunt, my mother in law, who are no longer here.  I cherish those the most.  Some are written in their own hand writing, some are written by me while they were making the dish, some are ones I’ve taken over the phone.  I also have recipes from  my sisters, friends, co-workers, friends of friends, friends’ mothers and their friends:  recipes that have been tossed around from one  person to another and are sure-fire excellent.  Some recipes I have collected  from food magazines (some of which are no longer published).  My new thing, is to get recipes from the web, either on blogs or recipe sites.  These are a lot of fun because people usually comment on their results,  which is almost like cooking it yourself but without all the work!!

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To get my  ‘cookbooks’ together was extremely tedious.  I did it one winter.  One very long winter…..!  I had outgrown my little file cabinets and was finding them annoying to use.  I wanted books.  So I got binders, sheet protectors  and dividers  and just started.  I did it for a couple of hours almost every night, at the dining room table while others in the household were asleep or watching television or doing homework.  I think the most difficult thing of the whole project was how to categorize.  I used cookbooks to help me but even some recipes really had nowhere to go.  Where do you put granola bars:  are they a  cookie (sort of)?  are they cereal ? (well, they have a lot of cereal components in them.)  I ended up putting them in the cookie section under the tab “Other”.

My mother always told me, ‘It’s great to be organized and file everything away.  But sometimes you can’t remember where you decided to file it!”  Boy, was that true.  I ended up putting a Beef and Macaroni Recipe in two spots:  one in Pasta and the other in Beef because I’d lost it temporarily one day!!  And where do you put marshmallows?  I know I have recipes for these but I can’t remember where!  I will come upon them someday……

I also share new recipes with my daughter who lives in Boston with her husband.  I will make something new, it will taste very good and I will e-mail my daughter the recipe.  She does the same for me and we have collected quite a few very nice recipes this way.

I still read cookbooks.  I get inspired when I am reading them but it doesn’t last and I end up putting it on the bookshelf  and slightly forgetting about it.  I am perplexed by this….. something to work on because I am sure there are some great recipes in those books!! I really enjoy cookbooks where the author talks a bit, either about how they came about making the recipe or what they were doing at the time.  It makes it more personal, like reading a novel.  Some of my favorites are:  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg, The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Barefood Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.   Two technical cookbooks that I reach for on a regular bases:  Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (ring-bound) and Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (I no longer see mine available but one of the newer ones should be good, too.)  And two books that I have put on the shelf and have now taken off and will be making some food from!!: Chocolate & Zucchini, Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier and The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

Happy reading, from my kitchen to yours!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2012 2:00 am

    One of my new favorite spots online to get recipes is called http://punchfork.com/. Not only does the name make me giggle, but it is a great resource. It gathers all sorts of recipes that people rate from many different internet sources like Epicurious and Bon Appetit.

    I am not as good as you to make my own “cookbook”, but I have been trying to be better to add to the binder that you made me! It’s definitely the cookbook I use the most.

  2. January 26, 2012 2:12 am

    Thanks for the ‘punchfork.com’ tip: definitely will be looking it up!!

    I was in my 40’s before I did the ‘cookbooks’, so you have plenty of time!!

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