Over the last year my dad has been on a mission to declutter his house, see my mom passed away about two years ago and she was a collector of many things. Many, many things. To be honest she was a packrat. A very nice pack rat but a pack rat nonetheless. Whenever I visit him or he visits here he tries of foist off a bunch of stuff I don’t want. I did not inherit the pack rat gene you see, but I did, for a long time share my mother’s desire to own every cookbook she came across. Dad has been trying to bequeath me the, over a hundred books for a while now and since I have culled my own collection to the bare minimum, I’m not taking them.
For a long time, when I was first married, I loved buying cookbooks and trying new recipes. I would pick one or two in the book try them, maybe make them again, tweaking to suit our taste and on the shelf it would go never to be used again. As the internet opened up and message boards became popular I would find out what other people where reading and cooking and I would have to try it.
See where this is going.
I had some kind of ephipany when faced with several garage shelves filled with cookbooks collected by my mom over a lifetime, some never used. I came home (with her Betty Crocker that she received at her bridal shower, containing many notes in her hand) and tossed, donated or gave away just about all of my own collection. I stuck with what I deemed useful and I have to say I don’t miss the ones that are gone at all. Of course, now just about everything you would need is available online, I am a big fan of the Food Network, Paula Deen, and Allrecipes when I need some quick inspiration but I still go to my favorite cookbooks fairly regularly as well. Oddly enough the ones that have proven most useful are two that I received at my own bridal shower given by an aunt who knew what it takes to make a good family cook.
Here is what survived.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook which is in its sixteenth edition!
Everything from how to fry an egg to making beef wellington is included in this book and you can’t go wrong with the clear directions.
Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking. This is now out of print but available for cheap on Amazon.
Another good, basic cookbook for cakes, cookies and breads, it’s clearly written and allows for some creativity on the part of the user.
Martha Stewart Cookbook. This too, is out of print but widely available. Martha has a plethora of cookbooks on the market but I have aways liked this one. People are snarky about her (and Paula Deen as well, but we aren’t getting into any of that here, thankyouverymuch) but this is another good basic cookbook and she even has a cocktail section!
Readers Digest One Dish Meals. This is out of print (I seem to have been at this a while, all my cookbooks are antiques:)). This book has an entire section dedicated to using up leftovers, including a chart with easy to follow directions. I have used it consistently for over twenty (yikes!) years and it’s taped up and falling apart.
Lastly, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This book is worth the price just to read the chapter on bone broths. Tons of information about nutrition as well as cooking. I love this book,
I also like a few others but I’ll leave that for another time. I’d love to hear what your favorite cookbooks are but in the meantime let’s get started on the menu plan for the week. Please share your links in the linky thing below and remember to link to that blog post and not the whole blog. Thanks for sharing.
Here’s my plan:
Monday: Chicken pot pie (using leftover chicken I’ve been storing in the freezer)
Tuesday: Meatloaf, potatoes and broccoli
Wednesday: Pancakes, sausage and fried apples
Thursday: Chili (it’s going to be a busy evening, they can just serve themselves as they arrive home) and cornbread.
Friday: Pizza night
Saturday: Ravioli and meatballs. The meatballs are already made and in the freezer.