Saturday, July 4, 2009

I won!

It was like Christmas at my mailbox today! Well, actually, I didn't check the mail, it was on the table. But whatever. A week or so ago, I entered a contest over on SimplySweeter and I won this fabulous cupcake cookbook! Yay! I can't wait to try some out. A quick six-degrees-of-separation: I found Anne's blog through a search for Ovations for the Cure, a non-profit you should be supporting. I thought the cakes she does are great, and her writing is hysterical, so I stuck around. Come to find out, the company I work for designed the website for David Paul Salons, where she works outside of the kitchen. How funny, right? Here's where I divulge strange information. I actually don't own that many cookbooks. Crazy, right? I am a book designer, but I just don't buy cookbooks. Truth be told, over the past year, I have been given five cookbooks—and I don't know that I would have ever bought them on my own. Why? Well, let me tell you. And have your wine ready, my stories aren't like Cliff Notes. I have one cookbook that I refer to. It's the Joy of Cooking. I'm on my second copy, as my first copy was chewed on by my dog when he was a puppy and then the spine fell apart over the years. It was my first cookbook, I bought it when I first moved out of my parents' house. I love it, because it tells you the basics. How to buy potatoes and then bake them. How to filet a fish. How to purchase produce. How to make a Hollandaise sauce. How to assemble a dinner party table. Everything. Now, I don't usually follow recipes, but it's a great guide, and helped me back when I had no idea where to start and what to do. I bought it for a few friends who were struggling with the "I just moved out, now what do I eat?" delimma. And I bought one for a friend who has lived on his own for more than 18 years and couldn't cook much more than rice. (I wasn't being mean, he met a girl and wanted to know where to start to be able to cook for her.) A friend actually said hers is riddled with notes about the recipes, and I gasped because I didn't think I could bring myself to write in a book. I replaced my copy two years ago and made myself write my notes in there. It's hard for me to do it, but just the other week, I made my first note in pen (it was on the pancake recipe, which I think is too thin and boring). However, I realize I am like my mother—I live with my recipe box. My mother never had a cookbook. And she cooks All. The. Time. My mother will clip recipes and put them in her box. She still has the Nestle Toll House wrapper from the semi-sweet morsels in her box from the first time she made them. And she pulls it out every time she makes a batch. Her box isn't organized, but these clips being on all sorts of papers is how she knows what to look for. I got her a new box a few years back, but I think she still has her red plastic one somewhere. So, back to my story. I use one cookbook. I actually have the Gourmet Magazine's cookbook, but I hate it. It's not written for the everyday cook. But I keep it because I think it's designed beautifully. And, it stands opposite Joy to hold up all my copies of Everyday Food, where most of my other recipes come from. This year, I was given I'm Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown, whom I love; and Cookwise, an informative cookbook that I don't use, namely because I like Joy better. But they are books and I can't give them away. Perhaps when I have more than two readers I will do a giveaway. Because I am not even sure those two readers will read anytime soon. Wait, I lied. I do use another cookbook. The Donvier Ice Cream Cookbook. Most of the time, I wing it. But, the company I freelance for is the publisher. So a few years ago, when I was in the office, we did a reprint, and the manager ordered enough books for everyone in the office to have one. But again, I don't think I would buy it. I'd rather wing it. How do you cook? What books do you use?

No comments: