I am a cookbook cook and actually very proud of it. It all started with being frustrated that I had a few cookbooks but they just gathered dust. You have to admit, they can be scary things to the uninitiated or beginning cook. Seeing a cookbook in the kitchen can set the viewer in all manners of direction. That is also its biggest trapping. It is too much at times and when that happens we can divert our attention to the next shiny object, idea or conversation.
To break down these barriers for myself I decided about five years ago to read my cookbooks from front to back and list the recipes I would like to try. After listing them on paper I then went to Word, listed them by protein, main ingredient, or dish and gave a brief one line description along with the Cookbook title and page number. I made my own Google index. It proved to be an epiphany for me and my family. The index is in its own 3 ring folder and with Word, I was also able to transfer it to Microsoft One Note. In this index folder, I write notes and give the recipes stars or brief notes. In the actual cookbook, I always write the date first tried and how it was. Being the nature of recipes, I do from time to time come across recipes we did not like at all. Those recipes get the Do Not Do Again written in bold in the cookbook and I scratch out the recipes line and description in my own index folder. I periodically go through the my index to make updates, delete bad recipes, and add recipes from new cook books I’ve acquired.
One of the biggest inspirations and set this whole ball in motion was going to an estate sale. I walked into this cool county style kitchen and they had a ton of French Cookbooks. At that time I only owned maybe two books was in awe at was before me. I loved escargot growing up as a kid, there was only one main French restaurant in town, but I always looked forward to ordering the escargot. I guess I really liked the butter and garlic but especially dipping he French bread into the ramekins.
I was after escargot recipes in that kitchen. One of the relatives of the deceased came over and told me on how she grew up with her mothers cooking and these were her favorite cookbooks. I ended up with the Cooking of Southwest France, Gourmet France, and La Cuisine from Oliver. She tried to make sure I went home with a copy of Escoffier, but I declined. I had no idea who or what he was, all I remember was thinking it looked the most daunting and intimidating of the bunch. Sorta bummed on that one but learned a good lesson. I still don’t have his book yet but interested in how it may show up someday in the library.
Wow, I just counted all my cookbooks. 78 in total. Thanks God I started the index. I’m more amazed at what life would have been like without the index. The family has had some amazing meals and of course some clunkers.