The world has changed and we are doing our best to stay safe. Working at home, many people are spending more time cooking. Those who are already avid cooks are loving it, while others are just learning to cook not just for keeping the family well fed, but finding that cooking is actually fun and comforting. Cooking and baking is something to focus on in a positive way and can involve the whole family.
So what we need first are recipes. Even though recipes can be found online, there is something more gratifying about opening a cookbook or going through family favorites in a recipe box or notebook. No recipe box? Then make one! That could be a project for kids with the added bonus of talking to relatives about what meals they remember. This is a good time to bond with others and learn something new along the way. If your grandmother or mother has passed, and you are lucky enough to have her recipe box, dive in and make one of her favorites. Seeing those old and maybe yellowed cards will remind you how lucky you are to have a part of your loved one with you while measuring flour or stirring soup. I feel my mom and grandma with me the minute I flip up the lid of the recipe box. Every recipe has a story. An impersonal online recipe will not evoke this emotion. Nothing takes the place of a handwritten recipe on a card or even a scrap of paper. Those are true treasures.
If you love cookbooks as I do, and I am guessing this is true or you wouldn’t read a cookbook blog! I would guess most of you have a cookbook collection which can mean one small shelf in your kitchen, or hundreds and hundreds on special shelves built just for them (like The Culinary Cellar!), so go grab one to start cooking. Read it through first, maybe discuss with your family what they think sounds good, and get cooking. Kids love to help in the kitchen. Even little ones can help in some way.
If you are searching for a certain recipe or remember a special one from long ago, comment below or email me at: [email protected] and I’ll try to help you. I have dozens of such requests in my email box at the moment and I am trying to fill them all. I love doing this so don’t hesitate to ask! I have had people write me back after giving them a recipe saying they were brought to tears because it tasted just like what their mom used to make and it brought back such happy memories. Food has that affect on people, and it makes the comfort of each bite a powerful force that can make us rest easy during uncertain times.
I am an avid recipe collector! Now the challenge lies in putting gazillions of the collected recipes to use! I admit that I collect recipes both for ideas and to try!
I know what you mean, Dawn. If you haven’t already, organize by subject like main dish, dessert, salad, etc., and just take it one recipe at a time to try.
Thank you for the suggestion!
Hope it works for you, Dawn! Those kind of recipes are worth making.
I love looking at my grandma’s old betty crocker cookbook which she added tons of handwritten notes on her well-used recipes. Plus she has a lot of those extra slips of paper she added with even more recipes!
Robyn, that is the best kind of cookbook! When I am looking for vintage books, I always thumb through to see if the owner wrote comments about the recipes. I love that! It’s also fun when those extra little clippings fall out! You have a treasure.
Amen Debbie! Favorite dishes & recipes fill our lives with happy gatherings & wonderful memories. And yes, we can almost goggle any recipe now days, but there is nothing like having cookbooks that have pages marked & scribbled in with bent, torn, & stained pages from years of joyful use shared with family & friends. The kitchen & those special recipes truly are the heart of a happy, well-fed, welcoming home. Come on over!
Well said, Kim. I would love to cone over! One of these days! By the way, just five minutes ago I made some of the cinnamon-orange tea you sent me from the spice store at Pike’s Market! It is steeping now, then I let it cool and make it iced tea. It’s hot here these days!
Gaining weight from too much comfort food My recipe boxes are mostly filled with those good old fashion recipes filled with sugar, fat, and tons of calories. So, I must take up the challenge of cooking light and healthy. Doable, but Not near as much fun.
Definitely not as much fun!
I just discovered your site, Debbie and love it. I too enjoy looking at cookbooks, both old, new and in between. I have a pretty good collection of various cookbooks and so much like to pull out different ones regularly, re-read them, and cook some of the recipes. I just wanted to thank you for this site. I will probably write again with a request for a recipe that I’ve been searching for.
Thanks again, Nancy
Nancy, I am so happy you found my site! I love hearing from fellow cookbook enthusiasts. I too, regularly go through my books and try new recipes, both classic and modern, but I’ve got a soft spot for the older books that have been used and loved. I would love to hear from you again with any requests. Thank you so much for writing. I’ll be watching for you!
Just addding my thanks to you for continuing this blog, Debbie. It’s one of my favorites.
My mom and I have been talking this week about the strong connections that are made through food: growing, harvesting, preserving, preparing and sharing – even cleaning up! Sharing food presents so many opportunities for forming or strengthening relationships. I think cookbooks represent those opportunities – connections that have occurred, and the potential of the connections to come.
Thank you, Denise. I’m so happy you found me, especially so I can read all your comments. You are not only kind, but wise!
In a great cookbook called Country Kitchen Cook Book by Edward Harris Heth is an unusual recipe called 7-Layer Castle Cake (pg. 166 in my copy). I made it but discovered the amounts for the dough are not right–there is too much flour for the amount of binding ingredients. I added more butter and some cold water and got it roll-able. But I’m wondering if you can locate a recipe that has the correct proportions for the dough base for this 7-layer cake.
Hi Nancy- I wish I could help, but I don’t have that cookbook or have seen that recipe anywhere. Maybe someone reading this can help you.
Thanks for your reply, Debbie. I will just make up my own correction for it, and if I do hear from another reader, that will be a bonus. I’d urge you to obtain a used copy of the “Country Kitchen Cook Book” by Edward Harris Heth as there are many, many good recipes in it. It’s really a jewel and I’m grateful that I happened across this cookbook.
Thanks, Nancy. I’ll have to find a copy!
I’m sure you can locate a copy on one of the on-line booksellers; that’s where I found mine. You’re going to love this book, Debbie.
Thanks, Nancy. I’m looking forward to it!