Monday, January 26, 2009


I have quite a few cookbooks, although not as many as I had about five years ago (Jarrod has some of those, I think). I love cookbooks. I love to spend time looking through them for recipes. I usually read new cookbooks from cover to cover a couple of times before ever cooking anything from the pages. I'll admit, I've never cooked anything from some of my cookbooks. Some are mementos from traveling (beats T-shirts and shot glasses!). I have a couple solely because I love Tyler Florence. My favorite collection is The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Her recipes are interesting, not difficult and real. She uses her hands to toss, which I love because I do that, too. I have many Rachel Ray cookbooks, but don't really use them, same with the Moosewood collection. I have some that were gifts that I love to look through time after time. I have the Kristianson family cookbook, The Lewis and Clark cookbook and the one from the Native Indian Smithsonian. I enjoy reading Maya Angelou's cookbook, which is as much about her faith as it is about the food. Cookbooks serve as a kind of escape from the present, similar to how travel guides can take you away. I think of the the occasions to serve food and the places I may do that...and the taste!

But, when I cook for every day, I rarely use a recipe. Sometimes I use a recipe the first couple of times, but when I get the method down, I change everything anyway. Last night I made a roast beef for the first time (I'm not a big fan of roast beef, so have never felt the need to cook one). I saw a recipe that uses mustard as a glaze and is roasted over potatoes. It was terrific. I've already thought of a few variations for the next time, and the time after that. Today I prepared chili for tonight's dinner. I don't know if I've ever used a recipe for chili, but I know it is never the same twice. Today's chili has ground turkey, black and white beans, beer, tomatoes and spices. I added 2/3 of a jalepeno for some extra spice while I cooked the onions and garlic. It is now simmering in the crockpot and I can't wait to taste it in a couple of hours to adjust any spices. Cooking is one of my joys in life. I am happiest as I am doing it, and almost as happy when people enjoy what I've cooked. Cooking is happiness for me.

So, we are moving in a couple of months when Roger has a new job. I have to go through all the cookbooks and will likely be giving some away. It is hard to part with a cookbook (or any book, really), but there will be a few that won't make the move. Jarrod, they are your's if you can get here to take them. Otherwise, I am sure I will find good homes for them. Until then, I will enjoy rereading each cookbook and deciding what to keep...and maybe I'll find a few recipes to try out before we go!

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