Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I’ve promised myself I’m going to exercise self-discipline. I’m just going to say no. I’m not going to buy another cook-book.
It’s not like I don’t have enough. We have an entire bookcase of cookbooks, and in the kitchen, several more shelves of cookbooks and recipe card files.
But one of our daughters is tempting me with her new favorite cookbook. It’s filled with recipes for things I’ve always wanted to try, both to cook and to eat. The directions are clear, and the text is fun to read – just what I like in a cookbook.
I like to cook, and I like to read about cooking. Reading a good cookbook is like having a conversation with someone who likes the same things I do. The photographs and illustrations inspire me, new ingredients and recipes intrigue me.
“I could do that,” I tell myself smugly, as if creating a three-layer coconut cream cake is, well, a piece of cake.
The problem is that all the hungriest people have moved out of our house into homes of their own, and the preacher and I can’t possibly eat everything I can cook or bake. Oh, the hungry people all come back regularly, and they bring their own little hungry people with them, but their visits aren’t regular enough to justify the kind of cooking I used to do. And while the preacher’s a good sport, he does occasionally take note of the left-overs.
Sharing a meal with people you love is one of life’s most persistent blessings. Like most blessings, it involves a fair amount of effort, but even that effort becomes something of a blessing when the work is shared. Showing the kids you love how to shuck corn or peel potatoes or make a piecrust is not only helpful – it can be fun. The cook gets some help, and the helper gains a new skill, not to mention that lovely feeling of contribution and accomplishment.
A good cookbook is an encouragement, offering direction, instruction, and vision. It’s a back-up for when the cook runs out of ideas – or patience in instruction. And having a shelf-full of cookbooks is like having a kitchen full of friends.
So what's your favorite new cookbook?