Saturday, March 26, 2011

Food is Love in three chapters...

The problem with blogging is not what to write but rather which thing to write about! I was searching for a recipe last weekend and the result was this “still life”. I said to myself.. now THAT would make a good blog post! My intention was to write about the cookbooks but then I thought perhaps you’d like to hear about my refrigerator adventures or the decoupage of photos on the freezer door. Oh the dilemmas of a blogger…

Thus.. the three chapter essay.

Let’s begin with the cookbooks, shall we? Glancing over my collection I see the layers of my life as chief cook and bottle washer displayed in 3D living color. There’s Laurel’s Kitchen which heralded my natural food cooking era of motherhood and gave me the name “wheat woman” among my fleet of babysitters. Hidden from view is Diet for a Small Planet.. the book that heightened my awareness of how much we feed our cows corn in order to be able to indulge in a juicy steak; corn that could potentially solve the problem of world hunger. Beard on Pasta was my right hand man when creating my favorite pesto recipe from the plethora of basil that grew in our prolific vegetable garden on Tedemory Drive.

That little black book of Lebanese Cookery (under Beard and on top of Laurel’s Bread Book) was my mother’s. Not that she EVER looked at a cookbook but I need to once in a while when I want to pick up the phone and call her for a Kibby consult- knowing that she’s unavailable and currently bossing somebody ELSE around in that great Williams-Sonoma kitchen in the sky. (I can smell the onions for the meatless imjadara frying as we speak- do they have Lent in heaven?)

Horn of the Moon Cookbook, spooned (ah.. double entendre) lovingly with Laurel’s Kitchen and holding up the random food magazine pages ripped out in moments of food lust, was my friend Anita’s favorite cookbook. We were young stay at home moms together and we loved to cook healthy foods for our families and shop at hippie places like Vitamin Village and Mrs. Gouch’s. It’s not my favorite cookbook but I think of Anita when I glance through it and our lives in the trenches of raising children. She relocated with her family to Portland Oregon and since then I purchased the Pacific Northwest Palate which I never use either…perhaps longing for the good old days of our friendship.

Vegetarian Planet leans comfortably against the Joy of Cooking (wedding shower gift.. got that other Joy book too!) to the far right. Patrick bought it for his brother, Peter, after Peter’s five month stint in India and conversion to a vegetarian lifestyle. During the month that Peter stayed with me between life adventures we lifted some interesting dinners from its’ wealth of recipes. He then moved to the City and Patrick moved to Colorado, leaving me with this souvenir of their manly cooking antics.


  • I wonder what you’d find if you began flipping through these…I know mine contain crumbs, spices, stained and warped pages from casual weeknight dinners and fancy holiday fare. I love food, and yes, food is love. Thank you for your warm thoughts this dreary morning!

    • Good idea! I need to update but it’s trickier now that everything is digital. It was easier to grab those random photos out of the bunch when I picked them up at Cosco.

  • My mother never taught me to cook when I was growing up. Her reasoning – nobody taught her how to cook either. When she married my Dad, my grandmother gave her “Better Homes and Garden” and when I got married she gave me a copy and said, “Now you can learn how to cook”.

    Dawn West on said:
  • Loved this post. Can’t wait for the next chapter. This got me thinking . . . I have a plethora of cookbooks which I pretty much don’t use. I, too, have my mom’s “Betty Crocker’s picture Cook Book – Revised and Enlarged” edition (which is, alas, undated, but I’m sure circa 1955 when my mom got married) sitting on the shelf as more of a nostalgia piece rather than a resource. It sits alongside several Italian cookbooks purchased after trips to Italy or a wonderful meal at an Italian restaurant because I was determined to try to replicate those wonderful flavors at home myself. I had the best intentions when I bought “The African-American Kitchen” cookbook, thinking I’d surprise my new husband at the time with some dishes from his childhood (nope, have yet to open this book). And, of course, I have the requisite fondue (maybe someday I’ll actually use that wedding gift) and crockpot (if I can ever get my act together and think about dinner 8-10 hours in advance) cookbooks I’ve yet to crack open.

    Rather, I have a box stuffed with recipes torn out from magazines & newspapers, and wonderful recipes handwritten on paper scraps from friends & family — all completely unorganized, which is very much UNLIKE me. Yes, I’ll never be confused with someone who likes to cook, but I do however, love to eat and am very happy to enjoy any/all of the wonderful cooking of my friends and family who enjoy such endeavors — especially when we are also able to share glass or two of wine with such offerings.

    I come from a line of non-cooks — my mom stuck with basic meat & potatoes mostly (see Betty’s cookbook referenced above), while my grandmother (my mom’s mom) really only knew how to make two dishes — meatloaf and sloppy joes. Fortunately, however, I think that just maybe my daughter has not inherited this “I’m not a cook” gene as she has always been a “foodie” and has enjoyed learning to cook from her paternal grandfather (who loves to cook and is quite good at it). If I wait long enough and if I’m lucky enough, perhaps my daughter will dust off those unused cookbooks we have laying around and put them to good use. I’d be happy to be her taste tester!

    • Dawn, Love this! I had no idea that I hit such a nerve among my friends with this topic! Thanks for your dissertation!

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