Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Cookbooks

I am a person who loves cookbooks, but almost never cooks from them.

[caption id="attachment_52" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="These are just the cookbooks that live in the kitchen."][/caption]

Of the cookbooks on this shelf, I have only ever used "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts." (Even then, just one recipe: the chocolate chip cookie recipe. Which is amazing.)

[caption id="attachment_53" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="We live in the basement along with many, many other books! Don't worry, we have bookshelves."][/caption]

I have never made anything from any of these!

It is both a blessing and a curse that I work for a company that publishes cookbooks. On the one hand, I have easy access to things that I enjoy. On the other, see how many cookbooks? This is unreasonable.

[caption id="attachment_54" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Remember meeee? You were going to make a fancy apron that one time! And then you just completely forgot about it UNTIL NOW!"][/caption]

I still think I'm going to make an apron...

I don't know whether it's hubris or laziness, but when it comes to making food, I like to see what I have on hand and then throw things together. Soups, chilis, curries and stir-frys are the bulk of what I cook, and I've been cooking them for so long that I don't really need to follow recipes to feel confident that they'll turn out well.

For baking, I will absolutely use recipes (theoretically - so far, I only make chocolate chip cookies). I only started baking a few months ago, when I got a vintage Sunbeam stand mixer from my mom.

[caption id="attachment_55" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I don't know if it's the additional ease of not having to hold the mixer, you know, with my hands, or the fact that stand mixers are usually stored on counters where people can see them, but I have made a LOT of cookies since I got this thing. "][/caption]

I sometimes look around and realize that I have a lot of cookbooks for someone who doesn't use cookbooks. It's not a collector's mentality, since I don't feel compelled to get ALL the cookbooks, it's just that I currently live on the intersection of interest and ease of acquisition. "This looks interesting, I guess I'll just take it home."

This is why I will never allow myself to volunteer at a kitten shelter.

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