Matt’s parents are still here at ‘Carlton’ staying with us – long story about their car being stranded in Ballarat and a two day visit turning into over a week long stay. This could explain my terrible intermittent blogging schedule, I apologise. Anyway, my mother-in-law (not that I’m allowed to call her that, she’s my husband’s mother) commented on how many cookbooks I had. In her forty-odd years of cooking for her family she has accumulated… three cookbooks. Which got me thinking about the value of my cookbooks.
Sure, I don’t read mine religiously, in fact I rarely refer to them. Odds are that if I’m looking for a recipe I’ll head to the internet or pinterest or ask a friend on facebook. That’s just the way I roll. Mostly, I flick through my cookbooks for an idea then I go about creating something sort-of-maybe-along-the-lines of that. Maybe. I’m that home-cook throwing random ingredients into a bowl and not measuring things properly. A dash of this, a sprinkle of that. I probably give those really precise anal chefs a migraine just thinking about my style of cooking.
Rustic home-cook or not, there’s still no denying the beauty of a great cookbook – the Donna Hay’s and Stephanie Alexander’s of the cookbook world. Pages full of beautifully styled and seemingly delicious morsels, fresh ingredients laid out and beckoning to your inner Nigella. As a once-upon-a-time commercial photographer I definitely appreciate my cookbooks for their food photography and pretty styling.
In actual fact, I don’t think I have that many cookbooks – not compared to some of my foodie friends who seem to have whole libraries bursting with all these amazing titles. As I sat at our kitchen table I counted 25 neatly lined up cookbooks in my collection. Then as I ticked off each one in my head I realised that I had never actually purchased a cookbook for myself.
Donna Hay’s Seasons?
A wedding gift.
Free with The Weekly Times subscription.
Savour the Outback?
A remarkable fundraising cookbook I worked on as part of the Longreach School of Distance Education last year in outback western Queensland, gifted to me by the school.
Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion?
Actual my mum’s and I’ve stolen. Oops.
Bill Granger’s Open Kitchen?
A 21st present from my cousins, the pages stuck together from when we lived in the world’s coldest, dampest house.
A Year’s Worth: Recipes from the Dunsandel Store?
Quite possibly the most beautiful of my cookbooks, a sweet gift from a dear friend as a thank-you for looking after their farm so they could go ‘home’ to New Zealand.
And so the list went of gifted or free books which have made their way into my possession. Despite my husband’s complaints that I’m ‘constantly buying cookbooks’ – I was surprised to find that I actually have never done anything of the sort! So there. My cookbook collection might seem a lot to some, or few to others, but as I flicked through them today I realised they all have an individual story about how they came to be in my possession and sit proudly on my shelves. They really are the gift that keeps on giving, if I cook a meal from a book gifted to me from a special someone, chances are that meal will always remind me of them. Food is powerful like that don’t you think?
Got any special cookbooks in your collection?
How many is too many?
Lived in a damp house with page-sticking tendencies?