I like to cook and I have real cookbooks in addition to the antique ones. Not too many though. I have a good friend that has an impressive collection and I’d guarantee that she’s read each and every one.
While I have read through my real CBs, I seldom use any of their recipes. This is what I use.
And, I’m sure every person alive that cooks has something similar. A place they put all the recipes they’ve gotten from friends and family, cut out of a newspaper or magazine, or copied off the internet. Originally that book was two of the same size – 50 years of collecting. Last year I went through my 2 books and winnowed them down to just one. Then, I reorganized it and can actually find the recipes I’m looking for – yea!
The CB I use as a reference book the most? The Freezing & Canning Cookbook by the Food Editors of Farm Journal. It starts with Slick Freezing Tricks and ends with Curing Meat, Poultry, Fish and touches on everything you might want to do. It covers a lot and has always been handy on my kitchen shelf.
The funniest CB I’ve ever read? Oh, no question – The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner by Jill Conner Browne. There are some v e r y appealing things in that book and I’ve been, oh so tempted many times, to make Pig Candy. I mean, bacon and brown sugar – what more could you ask for.
The prettiest CB I have is The Spice Cookbook by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey – A Complete Book of Spice and Herb Cookery - Containing 1400 Superb Recipes for Traditional American and Classic International Cuisine. It has the prettiest artwork. I’m not a fan of photos of food. Just doesn’t do a thing for me. First of all, my result doesn’t necessarily look like the professionally photographed item made by a professional chef in a professional kitchen that has all the toys you could ever want. And I think cooked meals lose their appeal in a photo – no aroma, no dimension, -- just a flat photo.
As I said, I like to cook. And, I’m a bit of an inventive cook. So, the recipe calls for something I don’t have – well, what can I substitute??? Sometimes it works just fine. Sometimes, not so much.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child