Monday, April 2, 2012

A Confession

A year or so ago, my husband and I were invited to have dinner with my brother and a couple of his work associates from Toronto. Because we hadn't met his colleagues, my brother Bob wrote a little introduction for each of us. Knowing that your younger brother is going to write a description of you could be quite nerve wracking (especially if we were still 12 and 10) but he did a pretty good job of summing me up I think. I actually kind of like what he wrote.

Kathleen Maunder (Kathy to some) is an artist, in the painting sense. She once wrote speeches and such like for corporate folk and now is a tamer of flowers and wild dogs. She has an entire bookcase of well used recipe books, a standing invitation at a cool bistro in Paris and knows the difference between Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean and Serena Ryder. 

Which bring me to that confession. Those cookbooks. I counted them. I now own (get ready for it) over 300 cookbooks.  Oh my.

I remember telling a friend about how many cookbooks I owned (and this was a long time ago when the number was much smaller). She said she didn't need that many books to be a good cook.  Good heavens. NOBODY needs that many cookbooks!  

It is a collection that has grown over the years. The first cookbooks I owned when I moved away from home were the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking. Both are reliable and are now falling apart from use, although I don't dip into them very often these days. There are maybe a few books on our shelf that haven't been used, but most fall open on their own to stained pages containing favourite recipes. 

I particularly love the cookbooks where you have a strong sense of the author. Jamie Oliver's books (we own all of them) fit into this category. Nigella Lawson too. A new acquisition, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, would fit here as would The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  I have some that are close to my heart. Novelist and food writer Laurie Colwin's books would be there. Whenever our organic basket contains beets, you can be certain that I will make Laurie's Beets with Pasta for dinner (from More Home Cooking).  Some are fun to use such as The Flavor Bible. It's really just a booklong list of food with flavour affinities.  My daughter Emma has Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours out on the kitchen counter most weeks.  Friday night dinners? It's probably Joie Warner's No-Cook Pasta Sauces that has been used most often.

We've tried to slow down our collecting in past years, but I can't think of  a birthday or Christmas when my husband and I didn't exchange cookbooks.  Well, because they are interesting and fun.  Maybe it's a little obsessive. But that's what a collection should be.


P.S. I bought the tulips. I'm still waiting for mine to open in the garden. :)

16 comments:

  1. LOL!
    Kathleen, I think that's a healthy confession/obsession.
    I have a few cookbooks - - ( I just went to the kitchen to count - - 26) of which I have actually used recipes, sadly, from 3?
    I am not a good cook. I have no imagination for it in fact and tend to make the same 5 meals over and over.
    Maybe I should open those cookbooks and get reading!
    (LOve the tulips, by the way) I'm sure I'll be getting some leftover Easter Lilies from the greenhouse any day now. They're super-busy shipping them out at the moment. ;)

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    1. If they are five recipes that your kids like to eat, there is absolutely no shame in that, Jody! You're lucky to have a greenhouse connection in the family. :)

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  2. I think your obsession is healthy as you actually USE your books. So many people (me included) have some books collecting dust for months and years.

    What I find funny is that we live in a society where we have so many cookbooks, food networks, magazines, etc., but we, as a collectivity, tend to cook less and less, due to a stressful way of life.

    As for me, living alone in three piece apartment, I cook less than I use to. It's way more fun to cook for others.

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    1. Eh mon neveu! :) Give yourself time. Your life has been pretty busy the past few months. Cooking can be a wonderful stress reliever if you do make the time for it. Plus you're good at it. I've seen photos of the food you've made.

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    2. And, if you lived closer, I suppose I would have eaten some of it. :)

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    3. I used to cook more in Gaspésie since I used to have a roommate!

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  3. Can't wait for a visit in the summer with the kitchen humming, BBQ grilling and fresh baking in a tin.

    P.S. Please be careful swinging from the chandeliers while taking your photos! :)

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    1. No, I had my Spiderman suit on. Oops. There goes another secret. :)

      Looking forward to a summer visit for sure. We need to plan!

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  4. ahah, you made me go count my cookbooks too ! Almost 60 of them, so don't be too ashamed ahah !! (though I doubt you are, because there is nothing to be ashamed of !!!!)
    Errr, do you think it is a disease ?? Maybe we should ask Dr Margie ;-)
    oxoxo

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    1. This is fun. So far I've made Jody and you count your cookbooks.

      Maybe some medical advice is in order. We can ask my brother too. He's a psychiatrist! :)

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  5. i don't cook, but i have my share of cookbooks too. mostly from your side of the world. i started having them when i was a kid and haven't seen a broccoli yet. aside from being inspiration for art, i keep them because i know, one day, i'll cook.

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    1. Cookbooks for inspiration are fine too. Good bedtime reading as well. But maybe I'm weird. ;)

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  6. Before I say anything else, lemme say this That I am new to your space and I am already loving it... What a beautiful and cozy blog you have here.
    And about cookbooks, my dear trust me I have more than you... Don't ask me how much...LOL....
    But you know we all can enjoy cookbooks, we really don't need to count them after a certain point.. that's all...

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    1. Thanks, Reem, for your lovely comments about my blog. I think you're right that cookbooks are best enjoyed, not counted (but I'm glad you have more). :)

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Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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