I grew up with a mother who cooked dinner every single night. She’d dive through cookbooks, write down her grocery lists and tweak recipes as she tried them. Eventually she’d master the recipes in it and move on to a new cookbook. She had a few favorite kitchen chefs from which she collected their books. She’d explain why this new book is so exciting and which recipes she couldn’t wait to try.
Now that I’m an adult myself, I have that inner voice telling me to cook dinner every night. I grew up that way and I want to continue that way. Crazy or not, I can’t help it. So one of my goals for this year was to become better at meal planning. I talked about it in this video and I’ve done a decent job with it so far.
I could not be doing any of my meal planning without my favorite cookbooks. Yes, there’s Pinterest. And a million other food recipe apps/blogs/websites. But I love books and therefore, I love cookbooks. I like having a real book next to me while cooking. I like getting it a little dirty with ingredients, sauce splatters and marking the pages. Just last night, I burned a corner of a page accidentally and started smiling (don’t worry, it was minor). My cookbooks are used *and abused* and I love it. They have life to them.
I’m sure my love for cookbooks has to do with how my mom cooked. But I feel like she – and her whole generation – was on to something. You can mark adjustments, get inspired by beautiful food photography and simply enjoy turning the page. I love the idea of cooking every single recipe in a book and testing my own abilities. Moving on to a new cookbook feels like I’m evolving to a new level.
In middle school, I learned how to cook. We had a three hour class each week where we’d cook in groups. Our main – and only – cookbook that we used was called Tip Topf. It was given to us by the school and I’m pretty sure it’s made specifically for the Swiss school system. To this day, it’s my ultimate guide to cooking virtually everything. It breaks down how to make different sauces, different baking techniques, how to steam vegetables… You name it, it’s probably in there. And yes, the book that you see above, is the original that I’ve had since middle school. Cookbooks are awesome because they last forever. I’ve marked every other page in that book because I’ve cooked that book to death.
When I graduated college, my sister got me Three Good Things. I cooked out of that religiously because all recipes are based on three main ingredients. How cool is that?! There are more than three ingredients per recipe, but the smaller ones are there to let the other three shine. If you’re trying to get into cooking and don’t want to feel overwhelmed, this book is for you.
The last book, that is my most recent favorite, is A Modern Way To Cook. It’s a vegetarian cookbook and I’ve literally never cooked with this many vegetables or beans in my life. The recipes are easy, innovative and most importantly, really yummy. This is Anna Jones’ second book and I’m dying to pick up her first one.
Now when I sit down to meal prep, I gather these cookbooks. I peruse and compare different recipes. I mix and match ideas and come up with our dinner menu for the week. It’s fun to be creative that way. And it’s something that only cookbooks can make you feel. Do you cook with cookbooks? Which ones are you favorites?