For this week’s Sunday Showcase I thought I would let you in on one of my obsessive collections. I should probably hang my head in shame on this one – but I won’t. I think I can semi-justify (for now) this compulsion I have for these particular items, because I use them!
As you can see from the picture above, I have a lot (and I have purged many of them). Yep. I can’t stop buying them.
They are like sweet nectar to my cooking soul!
I have slowed down in recent years. I really have never just bought a cookbook to buy a cookbook. It has to have meaning, or be something I know I would use.
My mom and grandma used the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. You know – the old one with the red and white checked cover. Man, by the time I got that book it was falling apart…and I still used it, carefully putting each yellowed, cracked page back in its place each time I opened it. I loved that cookbook – more for the history and memories than anything else.
That beautiful, red book finally got to the point that I could no longer save it from its inevitable demise, and I finally had to replace it. At the time there was an anniversary version (see the pink awareness spine in the photo above). The books above at the ones I go to most often.
When I started watching the Food Network many, many years ago, I had 2 shows I watched without fail, and I have added a 3rd now (and this has led to much ridicule and teasing over the years from the Rocket Scientist and The Boy): Semi-Homemade Cooking, The Pioneer Woman and Cooking with Paula Deen (no longer on air but on her online network).
Sandra Lee is such a magician in the kitchen. She figures out the best of already prepared items combined with extra ingredients to make the perfect dishes. I love the semi-homemade philosophy. It is simple, fairly quick and results in some amazing dishes. There is no shame in not always making everything from scratch. Additionally, the thing I love about Sandra Lee is the fact that she always does a tablescape and a drink to go with her meals. A cocktail girl is a girl after my own heart – especially when they are always so pretty!
Lest you think I didn’t get any books from My Girl, Paula…see the photo above. She speaks to me. Now I know she got into some hot water a few years back…and that made me sad, but it didn’t make me stop loving her (or her very talented sons). We all make mistakes – some just get slaughtered in the media for those mistakes. Alas, Paula speaks to my very Southern side. She reminds me of all of my aunts rolled into one person. I literally feel warm inside when I hear her voice. When I’m cooking from her books I feel like she is right here in the kitchen with me. She is to me like Julia Childs was to Julie in the movie “Julie and Julia”. Given a better schedule, I will cook my way through one of her books and make it a blog series.
Ree Drummnd – aka: The Pioneer Woman – is my 3rd girl from the south that speaks to my heart. I will confess, initially I didn’t really follow the kitchen/cooking part of her blog. And then she posted a Texas Sheet Cake to the main portion of the blog and I was hooked…HOOKED I tell ya! And then came her first cookbook! And then came her dog, Charlie’s, kid’s book! And then came the show! And then another cookbook!!!! Eek! She is another one who I want to pick a book and cook my way through it!
Gooseberry Patch books are also books that speak to my country, Southern side. The books I have from them are actually seasonally themed: Christmas, Winter, Thanksgiving, Autumn, etc.
Of course I have a lot of other cookbooks and I do pull from as well. I just love being able to walk over to that bakers rack and pull a book out and either follow recipe exact, or play around and tweak it to fit me. Additionally, cooking magazines make their way into our living room often! Then I tear them up and put the recipes in a clip on the shelf as well.
So, there you have it…my guilt, obsessive collection!