It's time to change that. I'm going to explore some of these volumes, especially the older, odder ones, and record my adventures here. I look forward to some gloriously unpleasant dishes (because our gastronomic sensibilities in 2010 are not the same as they were in the 1940s - who boils broccoli for 30 minutes anymore?) and some gems. I hope you'll keep me company on the journey and let me know what you think. I'd like to thank my step-daughter, Cara, for the off-handed remark that led to this idea.
To start, let's take a look at my bookshelves. For a librarian's daughter, these are a shameful chaos, but each book has a reason for being there. Buried in here are:
- three copies of Joy of Cooking
- the copy my mom obtained when she was in her 20s and gave to me when I moved out, so worn it no longer has a complete table of contents or an index
- a slightly newer copy I bought at a yard sale so I could use the index
- my husband's copy, newer still, brought into our home when we moved in together
- binders and folders of recipes my mother-in-law collected over 50 years of cooking. I don't believe she used most of them
- my grandmother's Jewish cookbook. I can't imagine she ever opened it
- a stack of recipe cards from my great-aunt that include a startling array of uses for prunes
- recipes my husband's grandmother cut out of the newspaper in the 1930s and '40s
- many recipe booklets that came with appliances and goods (blenders, toasters, household ingredients) that I've collected over the years
- guy cookbooks from my honey's single days
- church and community fundraising cookbooks from around the country
- gourmet and specialty cuisine cookbooks
I look forward to your comments - does anyone else out there have a similar problem with cookbooks? I'd love to read your thoughts about cookbook addiction, cooking from obscure and forgotten tomes and more.
(c) 2010 Laura S. Packer