Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Joy of Cooking

Cookbooks line the counter top in my kitchen. I've collected them for years. I have some that I've only read once or twice, some that are stained with spills and splats from frequent use, and some that are precious because they were given to me from someone I care about.

Being that I'm a meal planner, I've always loved finding new recipes. With the ease of the internet and phone apps, cookbooks are quickly becoming dinosaurs but I still love them.

I try to cook from a new recipe at least once a month. Sometimes they are a success and sometimes a flop. Sometimes they are so-so. While they are eating, I will ask, "Is this a redo?" meaning, do you like it enough to eat it again. The next time I'll tweak it and make it my own, until I'm happy with the end result. I'll then record it in my faded blue cookbook on whatever corner of a page I can find. At this point, that blue cookbook has more of "my recipes" in it than the originals and I certainly cook from my found collection more often than any other.

My favorite cookbooks, just like my faded blue, are the "home cook" type collections, often used as fundraisers for churches and such. I like them best because they have a great variety and I think about how that recipe might have passed down from generation to generation when reading them.

It was those collections that inspired me to scrapbook a family cookbook. I gathered my favorite recipes from my grandmothers, mom, and others and now have a family keepsake. Many of the recipes are copied cards in the handwriting of those I love. I will forever cherish the memories they give me, not only when looking through the book, but making the dishes again for my family.

While I can never quite recreate my Grandma McGuffin's wine chicken...or my Mom's biscuits...or my Grandma Davis' sugar cookies, I can have fun trying. I can remember being with them, tasting those wonderful recipes, and sharing great times in their kitchens.

Noah already has a love for cooking and I hope to pass down my faded blue cookbook to him, filled with a few recipes and many memories for him to cherish too.


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