Many people in this world collect things. For me, it seems I have unintentionally collected cookbooks since I was in my early college years! I love them, and pour over a new cookbook for days. Although I don’t often use cookbooks for a recipe unless it is baking related, I reference cooking times and various things in my cookbooks all the time. They are a great inspiration for me, and I consider them among my most special posessions.
When I travel places I try to purchase a cookbook significant to that area. Sometimes I even remember to write something inside the cover about the year, trip, or who I was with. A lot of times I have chosen Junior League cookbooks as they seem to reflect passed down recipes from the area. When travelling to other countries I find the small, spiral bound local ones are the best. It is like a neat culinary journal of my life and travels. My cookbooks are also a place where I tuck in sentimental things. Notes from my children, a card from my dad, a tag from a special gift at the Holidays, an annniversary card from my husband…different things can be found and I never know what will fall out. For me, it is a neat way to remember these things from time to time, and I randomly put things in various cookbooks.
Of course, I have my favorites and a handful of books I seem to choose more than others. However, I often pick out a “cookbook of the week” to use for new inspiration, and I thought I would share this idea. I hear from people quite often who seem to run out of dinner ideas, or say they cook the same things again and again. If you’re one of these people, I hope you will find new inspiration from your cookbooks. Recently I featured a French menu from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook “Around My French Table”, which is a great cookbook that makes French food less daunting to any level cook. At Easter I adapted a recipe from “Simply Montana”, purchased in my younger days when I lived in Bozeman, MT, for my Lemon Sour Cream Muffins.
This week I have chosen the cookbook “Sea Island Seasons”. In looking inside the front cover, I purchased this on my first trip to Beaufort, SC, in 1997, where my mother in law still lives. It was published by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, and it is the only cookbook I know of that has a chapter of recipes titled “Men”. In this chapter all the recipes were contributed by men, including one from Strom Thurmond for Pecan Pie.
I hope you might find some new inspiration in any of the books I have mentioned, and hopefully you will go to your own collection and find an old friend in them again. If not, there are always Wednesday Dinner Pick Up’s to count on!
Enjoy the best of food and life…and this week may you find it in a cookbook.