Or do you have a stash of books and recipes you fall back on?
Or, do you just keep a few tried and true recipes you depend on?
My mom enjoyed cooking but wasn’t the most adventurous cook. She did, however, have quite an interesting collection of both books and clipped recipes. I inherited her numerous recipe boxes that are stuffed to bursting with clipped recipes, recipe cards, and the hand written notes from family and friends.
Me? I have a carefully (yeah, right) curated collection of cookbooks that focus on particular products or chefs in addition to some general use books. That means I have an inordinately large collection of Bisquick books (I’m not sure but I think there are 8.) I have at least 2 versions of the Betty Crocker book. One Taste of Home. A couple of Jacques Pepin … make that 3 or 4. Several Julia Child books including the entire two-volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have one copy of the Joy of Cooking that goes back several years and another, electronic version that is relatively new.
My collection of what I call the Aisle End Cap Mini Cookbook Extravaganza books is, to be honest, astonishing. These are the small books that focus on either a product, brand, or theme. Think holiday or chocolate or freezer meals.
Speaking of cooking magazines, I’ve managed to acquire quite a few Taste of Home editions with a few Better Homes and Garden publications.
Do I cook from these? Some more than others. Some not at all. Why do I have them? Quite simply I enjoy reading them and discovering new ideas. Pretty much the same reason I love cookery shows.
Food is not only an art form but a great way to spend time with folks. A good meal eaten with friends and family can be a wonderful experience. A bad meal can also be quite an experience – especially when you be sure to add in a touch of humor.
I’m focusing on cooking from what I already have in my library. While I occasionally waver and pick up a new book I’m finding a treasure trove of recipes and ideas that have been patiently waiting my attention.
One thing that caught me by surprise was discovering that reading cookbooks for the pleasure of reading them is actually quite fun. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is amazing on several levels – the very least of which is the way many of those techniques that were carefully documented and explained are very common today. Check them out – you might be surprised! On the other hand some books are very dated and don’t wear well. Decades ago I bought a copy of a popular magazine cookbook that relied mostly on prepackaged foods. Total waste of money.
Check out this latest entry from Voracious at the Washington Post. Maybe you’ll find a book or two that piques your interest: