Sometimes I feel like I belong on that show “strange addictions.” I just can’t seem to pass by a shelf of cookbooks without stopping to take a look. Invariably, I end up coming home with one or two volumes that I hadn’t seen before. I read cookbooks the way some of my friends read romances.
Through my roaming’s, mostly at thrift stores and Goodwill, I’ve been able to discover things like what Paul Newman’s favorite recipes are in his book “Newman’s Own Cookbook.” Making the Chicken Cassidy Kebabs with the Sundance Orzo Pilaf not only provided my family with a tasty meal, but bought back the memories of the first time I saw “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in the theaters. Absolute and pure magic.
I’ve been able to creatively feed my family on a budget thanks to the resourceful “Dining on a Dime Cookbook” which showed me things like so many more ways I could serve tomatoes then just slice them into a salad. This little volume is also filled with tons of advice and points to ponder like “an optimist is a person who expects the ketchup to come out in 3 shakes.” How true.
In How the World Cooks Chicken I’ve been able to rescue our budget friendly dinners from boredom. Who wouldn’t say no to a Latvia or Armenian recipe for dinner? Keeping a world map in the dining room also helps as we visually see where each of the recipes originate and guess as to why certain spices were used.
Besides the cooking, I’ve also been entertained. I’ve spent many a happy hour with a glass of wine reading Molly O’Neil’s A well-Seasoned Appetite as I’ve joined in her travels always feeling like I’m a welcome guest at her table.
Some of the cookbooks I’ve gotten have a short stay in our house. Upon reviewing them at home, I realize that they are too similar to something I already have, or the recipes are not those I could ever see myself making. Those books tend to be moved out quickly, sent to libraries and donation centers for others to consider.
Others, though, have earned a special place on my bookshelf – a handy reference to cheer up a dreary afternoon and a trusted friend to tell me what to do with a handful of blueberries brought home on a summer afternoon