Thursday, August 28, 2008

CookBooks: under the Library of Congress Subject Heading "Cookery"

I have a ton of cookbooks. Poor JR.

Every time I go to the used-bookstore I pickup one or two more. Then we move. It might just be across town or across country. We de-clutter, toss out, and generally pare back to the basics. I have tried to convince him that this is a good thing. That we don't need all that stuff. That massive amounts of material goods are not good for our souls. That materialism is evil. He buys that for about 10 minutes or until he gets to the 10+ boxes of cookbooks. Then he tries to tell me that I can't possibly need this many, I can't possibly use this many, and that keeping all these bookcooks is not good for my soul and is evil materialism. I'm not buying any of that!

The poor misguide man! He just doesn't understand that I really do use all of them in one way or another. I may not use the recipes out all of them. They may just be sentimental. A couple of examples of ones that fit into the sentimental category are my Joy of Cooking and my The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer.

The Joy of Cooking was given to me by my mother-in-law (MIL for short) in 1992. She was given this same book by her mother (I don't know when). This book is inscribe with the following.
My MIL wrote to her mother; "To the best cook I know - the one who gets the most joy out of it! Love, M.C."

My MIL wrote this to me: "Mother left the book to me so now I can pass it along to my daughter-in-law. Michele is a great cook!! +++"

Now, I ask you! Could I get rid of this? I don't think so!

Plus, I use this cookbook. It has the best tasting, most kicked up, the most the most fall down after drinking 2 glasses Wassail recipe to be had. When the Wassail has been drunk and if you are still upright then eating the fruit is pure joy.

The other one that you will never see me part with is the Boston Cooking School cookbook. It has no copyright date in it but I think that it dates to about the 1910's. It is well used and falling apart. There are notes, recipes, and poems in at least 3 different hand writings scrawled in every available space. Two, I recognize as my MIL and her mother, the 3rd I have no idea. There are recipes cut from newspapers and magazines tucked between the pages and paper clipped to the pages (horror! For a librarian. I'll have to remedy that soon).

I especially like the advertisements in the back. I've dated this book by the stove in this advertisement. The stove is circa 1910.
If I ever need to be able to tell the different between a cold, warm or hot oven this is the book to come to. If I ever need to know how to field dress any animal from a squirrel to a deer this is the book to use as a reference. If I ever need to know how to cook possum, raccoon or wild turkey I'm reaching for this ratty little gem.

The last one that falls under the heading of sentimental is, "100 Meat-saving Recipes" by Ann Roe Robbins, 1943. It has the falling apart notes in the margins thing going for it also but what I really like about it is the Preface. The author talks about rationed and non-rationed foods; about how the American Housewife should be grateful to have 2 1/2 pounds of meat a week because in England and France it is unheard of and how the canny cook will be creative in the use of scarce items. I haven't tried many of the recipes in this book but I have several marked so I must plan to. My MIL must have used it often. She was a fairly new bride in 1943 so this would have come in handy. As a piece of WWII social history is it unique. It doesn't deal with how patriotic the housewife should be but how ingenious she can be.

So, if I can't get rid of these I surely can't get rid of the 500 others I have. JR will just have to understand that someday, maybe, it's not out of the realm of possibility that all or maybe one or two will be sentimental to his daughters-in-law or granddaughters. Since, we don't know which ones that will be we just have to keep all of them. I believe that don't you?


1 comment:

  1. Didnt get the bars made but we have all the three oldest "settled in" to their apts and the tomatoes are canned. House is presentable. But i will someday soon.

    Have a great trip!