Friday, May 27, 2011

Cookbook Confidential

(Here’s the article for this past Sunday.  I wanted to add some pics, so I had my daughter take a few quick pictures of a portion of my cookbook collection.  I don’t think she was into  it as they were all shot from her full-standing height—one shot each.  Let’s just say, she wasn’t into the composition of her photos.  Worse yet—I couldn’t edit them!  I wanted you to see the full truth of my addiction, but not the full truth of my poor housekeeping habits!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy.  Let me know if you can relate!)

As promised, here begins the true confessions of a cookbook-aholic and why I’ll never even try to recover.

Okay, first, I come by this honestly. (Yes, this is where I blame my mother, but I will note I publically heaped praise upon her just a few weeks ago, via a blog post!) Actually, I wouldn’t even call it “blame,” per se, as I don’t believe it to be a problem—unless, of course, I account for the expense. My mom brought me up to enjoy cooking, but her mother lived for it! My grandmother loved entertaining—big dinners or luncheons and everything in between. She thoroughly enjoyed cooking, eating and discussing food. We often joke about the fact that even though she wasn’t able to work in the kitchen in her later years, she would pore over cookbooks and magazines looking for recipes; the Food Network was her favorite station. My parents would find notes about recipes she had seen on a show, Paula Dean being one of her favorites, written on anything within her reach.

They both love cooking, but it was Mom who gave me a copy of the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook when I graduated from college or was it when I got married? Anyhoo, it was my first basic cookbook—it was the one she used the most for her basic cooking and I’ve found that it’s still my “go to” book. Later however, my sister, Nikki, gave me The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins and I found my new love! I referenced that book for new twists on old traditions, but also for all of the great cooking quotes they included throughout its pages. In fact, I incorporated four of the quotes in a border I painted in my kitchen in Georgia. While in Georgia, I started receiving the Southern Living Annual cookbook as a gift from my Grandmother; she provided me with many in my collection, then my mother gave me several from my Grandmother’s collection after she passed. I’ve since decided to collect them for each of the years Darren and I have been married—I’m only missing a few!


I find that I often reference the seasonal menus you can find in the Southern Living books, which is a feature I enjoy in many other cookbooks, as well. I’ve found many of our “family tradition” recipes with this resource. Another favorite is Jane Brody’s, Good Food Gourmet, her black bean soup is fabulous and I used her Asian Coleslaw recipe for my basic peanut sauce recipe. One that I’ve purchased in recent years is Julia Child’s, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I love everything I’ve tried in this treasure—I should use it more.


My mother pointed out that Jane Brody’s book came at a time when cookbooks started to change. They became more of a lifestyle guide—meaning not just recipes, but also entertaining ideas and personal stories, as well. I think those are my favorite kind! I have a few selections at the shop written by Tessa Kiros; they are all beautiful!


I’ve purchased a few bombs, too. I know Martha Stewart is the queen of cookbooks and entertaining, but I rarely find a recipe I’d use a second time; her Carolina bar-b-que sauce recipe being the only exception. (Guess I can kiss any future endorsements from Martha good-bye!)

There you have some of my favorites, but there are so many others. They can be found in almost every room of my house—on my bedside table, in the stack on the floor by my reading chair and, of course, in the kitchen.

Now it’s time for true confessions—tell me I’m in good company! 

Thanks for your indulgence!



Auntie Bliss said...

I am housing a massive collection of them and I always go to the internet and print out whatever I need and avoid those books like the plague :/
Still can't part with them.
It was banana day here yesterday and I made a banana pudding and banana bread. All gone now!

About that was a teeny little short thing which really doesn't qualify :) his hair was pretty short already.

kimberly said...

I have enjoyed the cookbook series, think you should write more in this direction. Very cool posts.

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