Cookbooks are something very near and dear to me. I have distinct memories as a child of going to the very back of this tiny cooking store in my hometown, sitting on the floor and reading cookbooks while my mom shopped. I could read them for hours and never grow tired of looking at the pretty pictures of food or reading the meal description.
My mom called me special.
(she actually just called me special again five minutes ago on the phone when I said I wanted to paint everything in my apartment blue but that’s another story)
I digress. The purpose of this post this morning is to show you some of the cookbooks that have inspired me over the years. I have hundreds of cookbooks and love them all—but unfortunately they are thousands of miles away. When I moved a year ago, I had to make the hard choice of which books to bring to California with me—the rest would stay in storage until the day I finally moved back to the South.
This is my most stained, loved, worn and used cookbook in my shelf. It’s the cookbook I turn to when I have no idea what to make, but have the itch to cook something. It’s also the cookbook I press my tofu with and sometimes use a door stop. I’ve never tried a recipe that I didn’t love and have used many of the baking recipes as inspiration for my own creations.
My grandma gave me this cookbook when I was eleven and sick with the stomach flu at her house. I haven’t parted with it yet.
I’m in love with Susan Branch’s recipes, musings and illustrations and this is one of the first cookbooks that I actually cooked a lot from when I was younger. I have distinct memories of making the chicken and wild rice soup on a family vacation to Quebec when I was thirteen, and making fried chicken for the first time when I was a freshman in high school. Susan Branch also makes a beautiful day planner that I’ve used for years.
What can I say?
You all know by now that my heart rests with Laura. This is my third copy of this book—I received my first for Christmas when I was in fifth grade and I think it either got left on a hot burner or accidentally thrown in the pool. Things like that happen to me. However, I’ve never been without a copy and am pleased to report that all the recipes are wonderful, especially the recipes for Heart Shaped Cakes and Pound Cake (which now is framed!).
I checked this book out from the children’s library in Naples, Florida about fifteen years ago. I loved it. I cooked from it every day and took it to bed with me every night, reading away. When it came time to return the book I cried and, with my mom, searched for it at every bookstore in the area but sadly it was out of print. What’s a cookbook-sick nerd child to do?
….I never returned the book.
I know. I KNOW.
It was a very bad thing that I did and I’m certainly not proud of it. I kept the book in secret for years and then finally about six years later, my mom found it hidden in my room under a stack of Nancy Drews and made me return it. I then went online and ordered an out of print copy that took three months to arrive. I still cook from it to this day.