Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The book is cooked


First came dog-eared pages, noting recipes I used over and over. Then came scribbles and annotations on varied pages, as I adjusted ingredients for our likes and dislikes. I crammed pages with recipe clippings from our newspaper, which offered competing ideas for deliciousness. I hand wrote favorites from family and friends inside the front and back covers and on the blank space of end pages.

Yes, this simple, paperback cookbook became quite beloved over time, 
received as a wedding gift some 34 years ago, and 
slowly morphing into my cooking bible, 
the one place I stored every recipe that mattered. 

I knew our relationship was ending when I went to put it away and a third of the back cover remained glued to the I-didn't-know-it-was-wet counter. 

I have to say goodbye to this cookbook, don't I? 

How can I do this, with all this history and family lore within?

One recent evening, its spine split in two. 
Even so, 
I and it 
trudged on, 
with me gently handling its two parts whenever I need a favorite recipe - 
not a pretty look, for a cookbook.

Do I have trouble letting things go?

I flip through these broken pages and I am time traveling - 

the tried and true recipes that I fed my family through the years,
oh my, remember the disaster vegetable loaf that I made in the early weeks of our marriage? oh how we laughed when it was a soup not a loaf, and then we melted cheese on chips and called it dinner that night; I never dared make that recipe again ... what did I do wrong?
oh yum, the turkey chili that has long been a go-to staple on a cold winter night...
oh and here's the lentil soup that I brought to so many staff lunches...
on and on and on

Do I have trouble letting things go?

Yes, I guess I do.

Thankfully, I shared this dilemma with my youngest son, who just so happens to work in a bookstore. I explained that I had not been able to find another copy, that it perhaps was out of print. 

After I indulged a wee bit of teasing about "high carbohydrate eating" being such a retro thing, no longer consider healthy, he did some investigating and 
lucky me, 
he found me a new copy!! Woohoo!

Yes, I immediately got my pen out and started copying all my annotations and recipes into the new book.

Score one for nostalgia!


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!


  1. How wonderful that your son was able to find a replacement book for you. I totally understand writing in margins, tweaking recipes to family taste, having dog-eared pages. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have such a cookbook.

  2. I loved reading your post! I also received a cookbook 34 years ago and it has seen better days, as well. SO glad your son listened and found you a copy. Of course, you need to NOT let that loved book go. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this post. Like you, I have several cookbooks and printed recipes that I've collected over the years. A vanilla stain here, grease splotches there, scribbled notes and marked pages. It's like a whole separate story on TOP of the book.

    Glad you were able to find a nicer copy, though saying goodbye to the well-loved version is TOUGH...

  4. Fun! Congratulations. Your first copy is quite a cookbook review. It must be good. And I love the "high carbohydrates" in the title. That is retro!