When Alyssa and I come up with an idea or theme for future posts, we each stick them into a Google document so we can decide on what’s coming next. I add things like “make things with lemons!” and SHE adds things like “bake bread”. This is actually a terrible example since we’re making bread for next week, but you can probably tell the technical different between Lemons! and BREAD with YEAST AND SCARY THINGS! (I’m, um, probably not doing the yeast thing…) So since you’ve probably already read her post about her favorite cookbook, I’m betting you know what’s coming.
This is my cookbook area:
Yup, they’re on top of my wine stand. And there are so few that I have to improvise the spare space with a candle. Throw in the fact that a lot of these books are really only HALF cookbooks mixed with decorating ideas or ways to throw a party or make meals quickly and well, I’M JUST A TOUCH SHY HERE. In fact, the Smitten Kitchen cookbook is twins with the Pioneer Woman cookbook (oddly not pictured) as the only “real” cookbooks in the house, with the Junior League cookbooks trailing very closely behind.
But if I had to pick a favorite from that picture, it’s the Party Central book from the defunct magazine Budget Living. (I greatly mourn the loss of so many magazines, isn’t it a bummer when they shut down?)
I should start off by mentioning that I’ve never ever thrown a party. Never. It’s both a goal and a terrifying prospect because I’m THIRTY ONE YEARS OLD, people. When am I going to start with parties if not negative ten years ago? This book is genius though because I really enjoy parties and I defnitely like making things to bring to YOUR party. The book is set up into one party theme for each month (that’s the July Red, White and New theme pictured up there on the right) and gives ideas for decorating and music and menus. The items are easy enough to make and often include a yummy cocktail, making it even easier to get it all right. I’ve made items as simple as Parmesan Popcorn and as “complicated” as Potato Zucchini Pancakes and everything has been scrumptious and perfect for a group (or just me). Right now there are 15 copies available on Amazon starting at only $2.44!
Still, like many of you, I’m sure- my favorite resources are actually online or (even BETTER) magazines.
I have a very real addiction to magazines (which is probably what makes me so sad when they shut down). I crave all sorts of magazines, but the food and wine ones are so amazing and I probably spend the most time rereading and scouring them. Look at that Bon Appetit cover! THE CREAMIEST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE? OK! Healthy ways to make breakfast? PASTA?! Absolutely. However, unlike Alyssa’s strategy of keeping the whole magazine (which I actually would really love to have done in hindsight since I’m certain that my tastes and food wants have changed since I started), I tend to pull out anything I really want to make.
(In that case, I loved the ideas for Simple Syrups. Great for at-home cocktails or tea!)
You can see I have quite a stack amassed there. That’s FAR more honest than what I’m about to show you, but the intention is that eventually all the pages that you see up there will get bound up in a binder for easy reference. Full pages get thrown into a plastic sheet protector. Smaller recipes get cut out and attached to a clean sheet of paper, ready for recipe friends and notes and further ideas.
As you can see, it’s easy to attach recipes and organize them into their sections. Even better, I can write tips right onto the paper! And if I clip something that I ultimately don’t enjoy, I use removable tape and can chuck it into recycling without a second thought or even much any rearranging pain. (PS- if you like Ginger Ale, especially the “real” Reed’s kind, etc- MAKE THAT RECIPE. If you can’t see it, let me know and I’m happy to email it to you. I preferred a bit more honey (as you can tell from my note), but it was crisp and ginger-y and incredible.)
Despite my scattered brand of recipe culling, here are some cookbooks that are currently on my wish list:
(The fact that I didn’t own this exact book is actually the reason I never made ice cream until my Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream post. I LOVE Bi-Rite ice cream and can’t wait to make it at home.)
(I saw a similar title in Mendocino while on a quick weekend trip recently and found this book (which is better reviewed) on a search for the original. I’ve never canned or pickled before, but I’d love to learn and make a small stockpile for myself and to share with those around me.)
(As a food lover, I’m OF COURSE interested in the idea of cooking in a sustainable way that is healthy, delicious and conscious. Lucky for us, we grow MANY things here and are rarely unable to find an item which is not “in season”. (Imagine my surprise when I moved to New England and realized there really IS a blueberry “season”!)
(I feel like this one is self-explanatory, but I love baking and I love Bouchon. Kind of a no-brainer, this one.)