Building a Cookbook Library
I collect cookbooks.I know I could look-up just about any recipe online, but I can't give up my cookbooks. I love sitting down with a stack of cookbooks and planning a holiday meal or dinner party. Sometimes, if I'm feeling bored or anxious, I'll pull a favorite cookbook off the shelf and just read it. I love the photos. I love to daydream about making the dishes. Sometimes they inspire me so much I get up and bake something.
To me, cookbooks are so much better than cooking blogs. Is it just me or have they gotten impossible to navigate? First there's the pop-up ads that always seem to crash the website at the very moment I'm rushing to check how long the brownies are supposed to bake. By the time I reload the website, I have burnt bricks of chocolate.
I also hate the long, drawn-out stories before I get to the actual recipe. Don't get me wrong. I love a good story behind a recipe. Heck, when I share my recipes, I usually give you a story. What I hate about most food blogs though is that the story is usually so peppered with keywords to ensure it's SEO status that it no longer makes sense.
To alleviate some of this frustration, I have just started sticking to my cookbooks. 'If my cookbook doesn't have it, maybe I don't need to make it.' has become my motto. Honestly, that just about sums up my view of the internet and the state of the world anymore. Who needs to add any extra irritations to their life in the form of pop-up ads? Who wants so many choices that they become frozen and unable to make dinner because they are simply too overwhelmed by the sheer number of sheet pan chicken recipes they can make? Or, more likely, have spent so long looking up recipes that they run out of time to actually make anything? (Guilty as charged.) I'm simplifying my life and I'll just pull a cookbook off the shelf and I'm none the worse for it. I have a big enough collection to be able to source a few different versions of a recipe, and I'm told I'm a pretty darn good cook too.
So, in that vein, I thought I would share some of the cookbooks I use the most consistently. The ones that have been workhorses for me, that I can depend on good getting good results from every time. The ones that have scribbled notes about how long my own oven takes to bake something or an ingredient I've added or subtracted, The ones with splashes of sauces and slightly rippled papers. The ones I imagine my daughter will inherit one day and treasure because my handwriting is on the pages and she will be able to get a taste of her childhood if she uses the recipes.