April 19, 2009

What's With the Whole Cooking Thing, Anyhow?

While I’m waiting for dinner to slow cook itself into readiness, I figure I’ll do some writing.

Rather than write about what’s in the slow cooker (BBQ brisket), the oven (Baked Mexican Black Beans) or the fridge (cole slaw) for tonight’s dinner, I thought I’d tell you a bit about why it is that I’m so obsessed with cookbooks that I have 46+/- cookbooks and countless food magazines lying around while hardly, if at all, being used.

The easiest explanation is that it’s all the fault of my Mom and Dranny (she’s my maternal grandmother).

Yep. I’m going to lay this habit squarely at their feet. I don’t even feel the slightest twinge of guilt in blaming them for this. After all, next to their collection of cookbooks, mine is insignificant. Absolutely, utterly, 100 percent insignificant.

Of course, I don’t help them much since I’ve added more than a few cookbooks to their collection. That’s beside the point though.

Actually, in all seriousness, I really did learn my love of cookbooks from my Mom and Dranny. We would sit together and read through cookbooks quite a lot when I was growing up. We would pick out recipes to make or just drool over the pictures and recipes. Heck, we still do for that matter.

One cookbook in particular, “Texas: The Beautiful Cookbook,” which was a gift to my Dranny from one of our B&B guests, is still a favorite of mine. When I graduated from college and moved into my own place, it was one of the cookbooks that I wanted for myself. However, on a Hill staffer's paltry salary, paying $60 for a cookbook was more of an extravagance than I could justify at the time. I did buy it for myself several years ago when I found it on sale at Barnes & Noble. I still have it and will pull it out every once in a while and just flip through it. Gorgeous pictures, interesting recipes and some great info about how the recipes are tied to Texas.

In addition to blaming my Mom and Dranny, I have to give them credit too. When I decided to make something, they’d let me.

For example, the tuna noodle casserole that was one of the first dishes I insisted on making all by myself. I might have been in 4th grade, maybe 5th. It took me nigh on to forever to fix, but I did it. How my Mom and brother survived the wait without either bursting in to the kitchen to help me or to kill me is still a mystery to me.

Even better was the time I got it in to my head that making petit fours from scratch would be a good idea. We all laugh about that one - now - and use it as a cautionary tale for others. It seemed like so much fun and so simple. Ha! Cutting all those little cakes and glazing them and decorating them. Not even close to easy.

To this day, I can still smell the weird almond-flavored glaze and can only shudder in horror. And you know, now that I think about it, I’m not sure we even ate any of them. That’s how disgusted I was with them by the time I finally gave up on them.

This is only part of the reason I’m so obsessed with cookbooks in particular and food in general. The rest of the explanation will have to wait because dinner is just about ready.

Dinner time!!!!!! Yay!!!!

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