Monday, January 10, 2011

I love cookbooks

I really do.  I read cookbooks like others read novels.  I have well over 100 books, I'm sure.  Sadly many are in plastic totes, as I don't have the space for them all yet.  Someday I will have them all out again.  For now I have a selection in my kitchen of ones I look at most often.  Yes, "look at."  I love cookbooks, but I don't often cook directly from them.  I tend to use them more for ideas, tweaking the recipe, or abandoning it altogether in favour of something that it has inspired me to create.

Right now I've got barbecue books and canning books (canning recipes are always followed) on the middle shelf, baking and holiday books above them, along with books that came with things like my food processor and mixer, and on the bottom shelf are a few of my all-purpose books, from chefs like Jamie Oliver and Michael Smith, plus Betty Crocker and Taste of Home.  There are also a few of my "escape" books that I love to read just because.  All Around the World with Sheila Lukins, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, The Silver Palate Cookbook...  They aren't "pretty" books, but they inspire me with tales of food from other places and cultures.  A well written cookbook can transport and inspire me in so many ways.  I also own two books by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford.  Hot Sour Salty Sweet and  Home Baking.  Both are wonderful just to look at and read, even if one never cooks from them.  I have a few books by Nigella Lawson which really need to get into the cupboard too.

So recently another local blogger who inspires me as much as my cookbooks (just read Eating Niagara and try NOT to be inspired... good luck) took up a challenge to not only enjoy a particular cookbook as an inspiring read, but to actually cook from it.  Shocking idea, that!  I am looking forward to reading her "Tuesdays With Tony" entries.  Several of us began talking about the challenge and decided to step up and try it ourselves.  Thus far I have no clever name for mine, nor a set date to start, but I am looking forward to it.

For those who follow my blog, you're familiar with my gourmet group.  9 ladies who get together regularly to share food.  The hostess sets the menu and hands out the recipes, and it is our job to make the recipe as written.  For some it's easy.  For me it's a challenge.  I read something and think, "That would be better with..." or "I'm not sure 'x' will work in this."  But I follow the recipe nonetheless, because that's the "rule." This challenge reminds me of gourmet nights.  I need to choose a recipe and actually follow it.  I need to use a cookbook, not only for inspiration, but for actual instructions.  I'm really looking forward to it.  And I will blog about it, even if I don't come up with a clever name.  :-D


  1. I have quite a few cookbooks too, not as many as you, mind you. I inherited most of them from my mom. I have some vintage Wilton cake decorating books too. Pretty fun. But yeah, I rarely crack them open. I hope to again soon, though.

  2. Some of the old books make for the best reading. I have another Betty Crocker one that's a reprint of one of their originals. It's hilarious to read what was "cutting edge" or a new trend back then. Cottage cheese and yogurt were novelty foods!

  3. Hi Mama B, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I see we have lots in common. It's good to meet you and I'll look forward to reading more. Cathy at homemademummy.

  4. You, my friend, are too kind. Thank you.