I cook. I like to cook. I cook fairly well. I do not cook much more than the regular stuff. I’m not a fancy cook. So why did I find that I own nearly sixty cook books?
I’m into a cleaning mode that just passed the oven and has moved onto cupboards. That is where I found a stash of all these books. You might be thinking what shelf in a cupboard can hold sixty cookbooks? Must be some colossal shelf. But no, no, no my ITY readers. It is not just one shelf in a little out of the way cupboard. It is a full blown three shelf 22 inches wide storage hog.
One of those places that you need to wear a catcher’s mitt when you open it because stuff falls out faster than you can stuff more in. A “fibber” cupboard if you will. Ya, this spot apparently at some point in time was deemed the cook book section of my home. Now that section is splayed out all over the kitchen counter space. That should mean that I get to go out to eat right? Not. I’m cooking around the piles.
There are big, heavy, must have all the cooking knowledge in the world in them, books. Some books put out by magazines that shout from the covers that these meals will have your family running to your table. Some are just pamphlets advertising the product used to make the goodies inside will get your family running to your kitchen.
I received as a gift when I got married the staple cook book, a merry red and white covered book of knowledge by Betty Crocker. Well the Betty Crocker cookbook writers. I mean since the fictional Betty Crocker was created in like 1921—I’m not THAT old. Anyway that is really the only book I use in my standard meat and potatoes kitchen. So I began the journey through this mass of cookery knowledge to figure out where they all came from.
There were of course books put out by churches that have wonderful sounding yumminess to try. The ladies, oh and some men, of churches put out cookbooks as fund raisers and I am all for fund raisers so I buy. I found a book sent to me by the red and white labeled soup company with what are supposed to be hundreds of spectacular ways to use soup in recipes. But I have found over the years, and maybe you have too, that no matter what you do to or with these canned soups, if you really stop and let your taste buds taste—they all have that same soupy taste. Maybe a little added extra meat or pasta or cheese, but that soup taste is still there—lingering. Too much stirring the pot so let’s get along little doggie.
Oh you’ll like this one. I found that at some time I got in the mail, (I can tell I got it in the mail as it is still in the brown envelope it came in in 1988!) a little twenty page flyer with recipes from Dom Deluise put out by Zip Lock. So now I can cook like an Italian and I know how to store all the leftovers too. And hey now, it’s autographed. I do not remember this one at all. Shouldn’t I?
Also in this storage hog of a cupboard there are had written recipes. Wonderful treasures from years of eating at friends’ homes, family gatherings, pot luck meals where you eat something out of this world and ask, “Who make this chicken and pea creamed thingy and can I have the recipe?” These are not part of books but are in books. Stuffed in hither and yon like so much sausage in cabbage rolls. They are each hand written with care and received by me with longing for the taste to be had again when I try to create the masterpieces. Some people say you should organize them, put them in a file in your computer, type ‘em up and put together a binder. But I like the little papers and cards and even napkins these tales hold. These I do still use. More than any of the books I have piled up.
So what to do with these words of wisdom from the Frugal Gourmet, Better Homes and Gardens cooks and yes even, apparently my new/old friend Dom and the guys and gals at the Zip Lock factory? Sell them. Yep gonna sell them. Clear out all but Betty Crocker and my array of gathered recipes. Sounds like a plan.
I sort, stack and make plans to sell. Mexican Meals, Pasta Meals, Bread Making secrets, 100 ways to use soup… Then just as I get camera ready to post my for sale items, in comes my other half.
He cooks too. He likes to cook too. He cooks fairly well too. He cooks much more than the regular stuff. So “we” are keeping all the books. I give up.
Trina lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.