My first memories of cooking are of me, standing on a chair in the kitchen, stirring food in a pan with a wooden spoon. Mom didn’t enjoy cooking much, but she was a great baker. Her chocolate walnut torte was the stuff dreams are made of, and memories of her potato kugel can still make my mouth water. Dad, a butcher, liked to make all things meat…but that was the extent of his cooking. I think I learned to cook out of desperation — but I soon learned to love it — cutting recipes out of magazines, begging them from friends’ parents and relatives, and taking cookbooks out of the library.
I guess my love of cooking was no secret, because one early birthday (probably around my 8th birthday) I received my first, very own cookbook…Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls. It was at that moment that my passion for collecting cookbooks began, and it continues to grow…as does my collection which at this point numbers over 1000 (that’s not a typo!)
For me, cookbooks aren’t about get a recipe for cooking a specific dish. They are inspiration, a view behind the veil of a culture or a decade. Nowadays, I’m often found re-reading an old favorite, checking new ones out of the library (then buying those that “speak to me”) and of course, scouring the internet food blogs for interesting new cookbooks, recipes or food trends.
While I won’t deny there are times I don’t feel like cooking (shhh), most often if I need to relax, or do something creative, or wind down at the end of a busy day, whipping up a new dish or putting up a pot of soup to bubble on the stove, is all I need (with perhaps a glass of wine and some great music playing.)