"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well-used cookbooks

I love this article about well-used cookbooks. There is no better gift to pass on generationally, I think, than recipes, be they contained in a battered old edition of a beloved cookbook or a box of recipe cards, or even a notebook with hand-written favorites inside.

My copy of How to Cook Everything is rather battered. I have a softcover edition, and the spine is cracked, the edges curled, the pages marked with all variety of post-it notes and folds and little drips. But I find that most of my hardcover cookbooks not only are too beautiful to get dirty, but also are too stiff to stay open unsupported.

Voila! Behold! The beauty of my new cookbook stand, courtesy of my parents' Christmas offerings. It keeps the book open at an adjustable angle and it also protects pages from splatters. It's also a small size, which fits perfectly in my tiny kitchen.

Maybe I'm just finicky, but many of my cookbooks are like small works of art, full of glossy pages of beautiful photos, and I thus don't want them to get dirty. This is why I'm so happy for my cookbook stand. No more propping the book open on a kitchen stool with cans of beans to keep it open! Huzzah!

But I have to say, I do like the fact that my HTCE shows the signs of wear, because this is the book that first taught me how to cook. It's also probably too enormous to wedge into the stand, so it's great that it already lies flat whatever recipe I need. And I did also just get a spiral-bound journal to write my favorite recipes in, so I'll be able to collect and create my own "custom" cookbook of sorts. This is a book I hope to pass on to someone in my family someday, or to a close friend who I know will treasure it.

What are your favorite cookbooks? Do you have a favorite cookbook or recipe collection that you want to pass on to someone? What do you do with your favorite recipes--do you clip them out and put them in an envelope, do you have a dedicated recipe journal, or do you have some other filing system for them, physical or otherwise? (Some people keep their favorite recipes filed in their brains!)


Anonymous said...

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of my favorite cookbooks. Julia Child has never steered me wrong. From Cheese Souffle to Beef Bourgignon she gets it right. I also never follow her recipes to the letter. She tells you to blanch bacon in one recipe which to me is silly. I like the smokiness...Sorry, Julia. She has served as a guide for many of the dishes I have made and I don't feel like I've ever been led astray by her.

Raquel said...

Yes! Julia is a big fan of blanching bacon indeed. She seems to just appreciate bacon for its fatty goodness rather than its scrumptious flavor. I think you're wise to pick and choose when to follow her advice (especially on something like bacon blanching!). It's certainly uncalled for in some instances; bacon lovers, unite!

Jill said...

I need to come up with some kind of system to organize my recipes. Right now, I just bookmark the recipes I see online that I want to try and store them on delicious. Then, sometimes I print them out, and the pages end up floating around my apartment on random shelves and in drawers. Also, I only own a couple of cookbooks and I don't look at them as much as I should. It's part of my mission to get more experience in the kitchen--organization!

Raquel said...

Kitchen organization is a great goal for 2010! Maybe you can get a big binder with envelopes or those clear sleeves in them, with one for each type of food, and you can put the loose recipes in those. Good luck, lady!