Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Joy of Cookbooks!

I love to try new recipes!  I won't say I love to cook (I'd rather bake), but there's something about poring through cookbooks, looking at all the beautiful pictures, lists of interesting ingredients and visualizing serving the perfect meal to your family and receiving accolades unlike anything before. Until recently, reading through cookbooks, recipes torn from the newspaper or a magazine and handwritten scribbles on a piece of scratch paper were the only way to obtain tried and try creations.

When I was first married and was expected to bring a dish to church events or family functions, it became a running joke that Shari would bring the green pistashio pudding fluff - because that's all she knows how to make.  (I loved it because it only had 3 ingredients!)  So I decided to explore my options...and oh what a glorious world of options awaited me...and so I started acquiring cookbooks!   I became a cookbook junkie, buying up cookbooks at any book fair, school fundraisers, grocery store checkout stand, etc. I would often ask to borrow a cookbook or two from family members, after scanning their collections. (If you are missing any cookbooks from your personal collection, there's a chance I have it.) I can honestly say I have books that I've never made one thing from...and then I have others that are dog-earred and splattered with food. There are those "go to" recipes that I love to make over and over - and the favorites that are requested for special events. 
Within the last decade, I starting using the internet to look up recipes.   A couple of the first ones I used are still my favorites - is a great one for restaurant copycat recipes. This is ideal if you want to figure out how Red Lobster makes their Cheddar Bay biscuits or what is in the Tortilla soup at Max & Erma's.  My other favorite is that is a lifesaver, in that you can enter the ingredients that you have on hand or you want to use (and also those you don't want) and it will match your choices to the recipes in it's database.  I know the internet searches are so much faster - but only if you know, or at least have a good idea of, what you want to make.  

Lately, I've heard mixed reviews from friends and family using e-readers.  Although they love the convenience of being able to download and read a book on a tablet, they miss the feel of the book, the smell of the book and the actual holding of the book.  That's how I feel about cookbooks.  By leafing through a cookbook it's so much easier to just browse and daydream about your magnificent creations...and there's a new surprise waiting on every page. 

A few years ago, I had a nice rustic display of some of my favorite cookbooks at floor level in an old wooden crate.  Just the right height for my granddaughter, Gabriella, who was about 2 years old at the time, to investigate.  She would bring me the books and want to look for all the yummy desserts and pretty pasta dishes.  Instead of reading Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, we read Pampered Chef's Delightful Desserts and Taste of Home's Casserole Collection.  I was fine with that.  A few weeks ago, my daughter called me to let me know that she found Gabriella sitting on the floor with their two dogs, reading a cookbook to them.  My heart (and stomach) smiled!  I hope my love of cookbooks is passed on to the next generations.

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