Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Me and My Cookbooks

Some of my collection
On my 9th birthday, I received my first "very own" cookbook and there began my love of cooking. Snickerdoodles, pumpkin custard, and hot milk sponge cakes were a few of my early specialties. (I always have liked the desserts!) Over the years, I've added--extensively (ahem)--to my cookbook collection, with a special interest in old ones--those dating from the 1960s and earlier.

Some of the reason for my interest in old cookbooks is a fascination with history. Not so much the wars and explorations, but the everyday stuff, about everyday people--how they worked, played, and just lived. And in their own way, cookbooks are a kind of history book, chronicling economics and lifestyles through food. In addition to that, the older cookbooks embrace real food, like butter, lard, eggs, and cream instead of modern "quick and easy" recipes that rely on heavily processed ingredients and factory produced mixes.

Some time ago, I decided that instead of just reading cookbooks for fun, I would use them and actually cook the recipes in them. (I know!! What will I think of next?!) I was born in the 1970s--way after the good old days, in my opinion. But what better way to experience an earlier time than by eating its cuisine, its "daily bread?" Shopping for the same ingredients and making the same recipes that my Grandma did will let me experience a bit of her world in these days very far removed from that time.

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