I’m sure I ate stuff this week. But at the moment, I have a head full of congestion, and my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. Maybe I need to do what my Dad swears by for congestion, and eat a spoonful of tabasco sauce (the only one I have in the kitchen right now is chipotle, which is yummy, but before breakfast it might dam near kill me).

We had company this week, and one of the first things Mystik wanted to see were my cookbooks, specifically the Grange Cookbook I’d shared photos from on the blog. I was proud to show it to her, as it was left to me by by Great-Grandma Ella, and it still has little notes and strips of paper here and there to mark recipes. I was commenting that I have so few cookbooks, compared to what I once had.

First of all, my cooking habits have changed a few times over the years. Where I once had a 6’x4′ bookshelf full of cookbooks I now have a mere handful. Part of this was the move, yes, where I gutted my library. But most of it was switching over to using the internet for recipes. I had two binders full of pages I’d printed over the better part of a decade, before the move. I left them behind, something I promptly regretted, as I find it difficult to rediscover the precise recipes I’d found before. But I have, over the years, learned to look at a recipe and be able to predict with some accuracy how it will come out, which helps.

So you may be wondering which books made the grade of traveling with me from New England? My Fannie Farmer (Mom, sorry, I have no idea where my Meta Given’s went. I’m keeping an eye out at used book places, I do plan to replace it). Diana Kennedy’s The Cuisines of Mexico, which was my bible while teaching myself to cook Mexican. My Alton Brown cookbooks. The Brushy Cookbook, a community collection from my childhood hometown Tok Alaska. A handful of random titles I have picked up since arriving here: slow cooker, Thai, and baking books. My canning bible, Stocking Up III. At one point I had a shelf full of different canning guides and recipe books, this was the best of them.

In the picture, you’ll also see a purple cloth binder off to the far side. That’s my Flylady binder, converted now to just recipes printed off the ‘net that I decided I wanted to keep. I do occasionally use my tablet in the kitchen, and not even bother to print, but a really good recipe I want to be able to find later goes in the binder.

I know myself. I will acquire more cookbooks. For one thing, I miss my Julia Child books. Although I probably shouldn’t cook like that…

Today, I may not cook. Scratch that. Hamburger thawed in the frigerator will go into a slow-cooker pot of chili and the First Reader will make his famous cornbread (in a cast iron skillet, how else?). I can manage that, even with a head full of cotton wool.


Such a small collection it has become


8 thoughts on “Cookbooks

  1. Love the Fannie Farmer. I also have a 2 volume paperback version of Joy of Cooking from 30 years ago, which I love. Now that I’ve read Nourishing Traditions (the most heavily footnoted cookbook I’ve ever owned) and no longer feel that I should avoid animal fats, that Joy of Cooking is looking pretty good again.


  2. For your head: Ask your sweetie to make you Humuscide Sauce. Trust me. It’s a thing my hubby does for me when I have concrete instead of sinuses. Guaranteed to release your sinus blockage and kill corrupt politicians. 🙂

    1-2 cans of chickpeas* (you can actually use cannellini or navy beans, too. Works great)

    lemon juice or vinegar, to taste

    oil– olive is traditional, I use rice bran oil because I’m odd. Some have recommended toasted walnut oil, but I dont’ know if you’ll actually be able to appreciate it in this mix.
    My favorite is to put chile toasted sesame oil in it. Even if you spike this stuff with Daves Insanity, you will still be able to detect a hint of smoky goodness. Hint: if you don’t want that to be TOO strong, just add a few shots to what ever oil you are using.

    chipotle, to taste

    Paprika, to taste (smoked is best)

    Chilles, at your descression and preference

    garlic (is key) chopped up, or mashed. Garlic juice is also great if you prefer a smoother thing. Do I have to tell you to be generous?

    optional: some fenugreek, ground. A little not only helps you to process beans, but it also helps your immune system and helps against colds. I made fenugreek tea when I was working as a security guard, and rarely had to call in sick. (Well, until my back went out!) Epazote would also be good, but I haven’t tried it.

    Basically, make hummus with all these ingredients. So you don’t have to look it up: drain and rinse (especially important for chickpeas) your chickpeas. For what ever reason, you can use the juice from the peas, but if you don’t rinse them they tase funny. Go figure.

    Chop them up a bit, but not too far, lest you swamp your food processor. Yes, even good ones can go this way. Add chipotle, chunky ingredients such as garlic, and some of the oil. Scrape, blend some more. Add the lemon/lime juice (lime works better, but lemon– even vinegar works if that’s all you got on hand) and more oil. Scrape again. Blend until you have a texture you like. You may optionally put your spices on top, OR you can blend them in at the time of fixing. Now is the time to go big or go home. Chickpeas tend to mute flavors.


  3. I don’t have a whole lot of cookbooks anymore, either, and use very little of what I do have. I still refer to The Joy of Cooking once in a while, and I use Cooking with Coconut Flour and Goats Produce Too! quite a bit (the latter contains my goat cheese recipes). Once in a while there is something in particular that I want to look up on-line — I’ve got a good gluten-free challah bread recipe from the internet that is one of the better gluten-free breads I’ve tried. The recipes in the gluten-free cookbooks are generally way too high in carbs, though, so they hardly ever get opened any more.

    I have Nourishing Traditions and I think it’s excellent — I refer to it once in a while. We eat somewhat seasonally, so, for instance, right now we have plenty of goat milk and eggs, so we are eating that for most of our protein, and are eating very little meat. In the next few weeks, I’ll be butchering a couple of lambs and two or three young goats, and that will be our winter meat supply.


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