Friday, June 1, 2012

I Heart Cookbooks


I used to have quite a collection of cookbooks.  Not like Nigella Lawson's up above, but a nice size for a beginner.

I love seeing glimpses of her collection, though, and day dreaming of the day she'll let me sit on the floor for hours in there surrounded by them and looking through them.  

I would my cookbooks, when I got them, like novels.  To me it's a window into someone else's beautiful world, especially these days, when there's so much personality in them -- the books and the people.

Sadly, I had to give away/sell many of them when I moved up north since we were going to be sharing a small place with my parents when the transition to single momhood began.  It was rough-going getting rid of all some things, but especially books (and my lovely college SLR camera).  I still go to my book shelf wanting to reread something by Frank Peretti or Nathaniel Philbrick, etc., and am a little disheartened to find it gone.  But life goes on, and I've gained so much more in the meantime.

It was a little bit funny, though, trying to pack up and get rid of things, because every time I'd pass the pile of cookbooks destined for the yard sale, I'd think, "Oh, no, not that one," and grab it and throw it in a moving box.  So I'm not completely cookbook destitute.  But it's not what it was...


The silver lining -- there's always one of those, isn't there? -- is that while I unfortunately got rid of a couple of good ones, most of them were probably only so-so, and therefore their departure has made room for some better choices that I may find in used bookstores, in moments of weakness on Amazon, or receive on (ahem) birthdays and such.  And there are so many wonderful recipes online these days.  At this very moment, my home is filled with the delicious smells of Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken, a recipe by Meg at Sweet on You.

And here are some cookbooks from my wishlist to soon replace the old:

This is one is being released in October and was written by Rohan Anderson at Whole Larder Love.  I love how he leans toward more rustic foods, and using what's local taking it a step further by hunting, growing, and gathering for himself.  And his photos are just inspiring.  It's probably a good thing he and his family live 15,000 miles or so away, or else they'd be incredibly creeped out when the five of us just popped over unannounced for dinner.  Instead, I'm getting this book one way or another when it comes out.

Interesting side note:  I checked out of curiosity, and Google Maps' suggestion for getting from California to Hawaii, Hawaii to Japan, and Japan to Australia is by kayak.  Yes, by kayak.  I think they're a little optimistic, however, in estimating it taking 56 days or so to get there.  I'm actually an experienced sea kayaker (though it's been a little while), and I'm still pretty sure I'd never make it.  So my estimated time should read something like:  Never, ever in a million years.

Hardee har har, Google people.

I love pie.  

True story:  I spent a decent chunk of my growing-up years living near Apple Hill, California.  And my mom and her grandmother would spend a decent chunk of time each year getting together and turning out batch after batch after batch of delicious variations of apple pie.  Some of these were given away as gifts, some of these were eaten at Thanksgiving, some were frozen baked and unbaked to be revived in all their original glory at a later time.  Then comes summer vacation with my brother and me spending the day alone in the house with a stand-alone freezer in the garage full of apple turnovers.  Oh, dear.  Picture me hanging over the side of the freezer rearranging items to hide my theft.  

Of course, now as a parent myself, I don't doubt for a minute that mom knew.

Bless you, Mom, for all the things you let go...

Then there was that Scottish bakery in Maryland... but I could go on forever.  Anyway, I was delighted to find Handheld Pies by Sarah Billingsly and Rachel Wharton.  And thank heaven for brilliant food photographers.

One day, Lily and I will go traveling around the world looking for good things to eat.  I have a two-year-old who will try anything.  She loves food.  I have three horrible picky children and one delightfully adventurous one.  Well, not horrible, but more than once I've cried out woefully, "Well, fine.  If you're not even going to try anything, I'll just make whatever I want!"  But I do love them all immensely in case you wondered.  But when it comes to food, Lily wants to help make it and help eat it, grin, and say, "I like it!"  It's a blessing to have a person to cook for who loves to eat.

So I'm going to grab Lily, and we'll start making things out of this French food cookbook.

And I want this one, because I, too, love butter and sugar.... and tattoos.  You can see some of Joy Wilson's creative genius, too, on her blog, Joy the Baker.

And this one, because it will look totally rad on my bookshelf.  

Ha!  Just kidding.  But the pictures are so beautiful, and it will take me a couple of visits within its pages to work up the courage to start cooking from it.

So now I'm off to surf more food blogs (Oh, my goodness!  I just found i am a food blog, and where has it been all my life.  I have a sticky note on my computer screen with the words "Pulled Pork Pancakes with Bourbon Syrup" on it, and now I'll never be the same.)

Or maybe I'll be responsible and clean house a little.

Or surf food blogs.

What are some of the cookbooks on your wishlist?  And what are some of the favorites you have?


  1. This is fun Mama Poobah. Cookbooks are one of my favorite subjects. And there are so many available. I also have many, with some in a box in the garage, I may take most of them (in the garage) to the next garage sale. A few of my favorites: Moosewood cookbook, wonderful vegetarian choices, the Dinosaur Barbeque cookbook, and the one that I am compiling, with favorite recipes. I have way too many cookbooks to mention. Maybe you should bring the kiddos over some summer afternoon and you can browse & we can talk cookbooks. I like reading some of them too, just for fun!

    1. It's a date! And let me know when that garage sale is! :)