My cookery books are like old friends squeezed into my kitchen. The larger ones sleep on top of the dresser in the pantry.
...Others crowd the dish cupboard in the working part of the kitchen....That's where you'll find notebooks full of untidily handwritten family recipes. Ones I scribbled down standing next to friend or relative with pen in one hand and wooden spoon in the other. Helping and learning...one minute sous chef...the next student. Or mum's neatly scribed Aunties Apple Cake recipe in her careful script, Mama's Cutlets, Rosie's Boiled Fruit Cake and my Foolproof Madeira. All close at hand, feet from the stove with the 'Step-By-Step Cookbook' keeping them in place. It makes a perfect bookend.
...Then there are some on the kitchen shelves. I've had these the longest time and all-but-one were gifts... Standing straight, side-by -side...not an inch of room to spare.
I counted my books. There are thirty-five in total. Mostly gifts. Sometimes prompted by a gentle hint or item on a present list. Other times because someone's spotted me sitting at their kitchen table hunched over a coveted tome carefully copying recipes. Still others a gentle nudge on the part of the giver, like the biscuit book 'A' (a lover of biscuits) gave to me to encourage me to bake even more. Some chosen because they are beautiful like Tessa Kiros' Apples for Jam or Fallen Cloudberries that I read often and yet hardly cook from, or Miss Dah'ls Voluptuous Delights. It's both beautiful and useful.
I bought just four of them:
- The Legendary Cuisine of Persia which is extremely useful if you ever want to make Persian food. It has lots of information about the history of food, customs and celebrations with clearly explained recipes.
- The lovely Alys Fowler's Thrifty Forager an amazing guide for anyone interested in urban foraging.
- A vintage copy of Lesley Blanch's Round the World in Eighty Dishes because she was such an exotic bohemian...even though the recipes are a bit peculiar.
- Last but not least, Nigel Slater's Real Food. Which I think would be my desert island one...because he loves real food...He loves potatoes and chocolate and chicken and garlic...and so do I! ...although maybe Thrifty Forager might be more useful on a desert island...
...And secreted in-between all my lovely books are treasured things like Fran Ward's little booklet that was free in one of the first Issues of Red magazine and pages ripped from old magazines. I'm not sure why I keep them...probably something to do with lingering memories of happy meals made from them long ago...
And unlike Dom I don't have a big stash of cookery books in the bathroom...but sometimes on a leisurely Saturday morning I reject the shower in favour of a more luxurious soak and indulge in a bit of recipe reading so it's handy to have one close by...
I'm linking over to The Belleau Kitchen for Dom's latest challenge...I can't wait to see where everyone else keeps their cookery books...are you coming for a nosy too?