Tell us about your favourite cookbook
Growing up in our home did not include preparing us for life outside the cocoon. Hence when I left home the first reality with which I was faced was that I had no idea how to cook. I don’t mean how to cook soup or bake a cake, I am talking about how to boil an egg or heat up a can of baked beans. How hard can that be you ask, pretty darned hard if you’ve rarely seen the inside of a kitchen. Did the egg go in cold water to be boiled, or did one boil the water first – which cracked the egg every time. Ah! I hear you say if you put vinegar or salt in the water it will keep the egg from disappearing from the shell if it should crack. See I know that now because I learned it from my first cookbook.
The exploding tin of caramelised condensed milk was one disaster I had to contend with although I must say the caramel dripping from the ceiling made for a tasty clean up job. However, by the time I was scraping baked beans off the ceiling with a cloth wrapped around the head of a broom, I was well over the cooking lark … Take me home country road. And then someone gifted me a copy of every New Zealand housewife’s saviour, The Edmonds Cookery Book.
The Edmonds Cookery Book has been an essential ingredient in New Zealand kitchens for over 100 years. Full of everyday recipes that are sure to be a success from Afghan Biscuits to Bacon and Egg Pie, plus a great selection of practical cooking tips, you will soon see why it has become an enduring icon. With over 4 million copies sold, Edmonds Cookery Book is the biggest cook book in our history.
What a godsend that was. My copy dates back to 1985 although it is my second copy, having worn out the gifted edition. My cookbooks are an organic part of creating a meal and mine bear witness to their participation in the process as dobs of various ingredients mark favourite recipes.
Like my Bible, cookbooks are an integral part of my life and therefore carry notes in the columns. A case in point, is the Marshmallow Shortcake recipe which didn’t pass muster: ixne on the malloway!
This prompt got me wondering what the difference is between a cookbook and a book or folder of recipes. I think a recipe book is a collection of recipes that have been trialled and enjoyed, and placed on record so to speak for future enjoyment. While I enjoy our two cupboards filled with a wondrous variety of cookbooks my two recipe books are my go to cooking resources on the infrequent occasions I now get into the kitchen.
Both recipe books have identical covers; in one are all the savoury meals, soups, relishes etc and the other is my sweet recipe book; in which I record desserts, cakes, slices and other items of baking that are tried, true and never-fail favourites. I received both books one Christmas, one from the MOTH (man of the house) and the other from my son. The two men in my life on the same wavelength and in tune with my wish list. How blessed can a woman be!
The recipe book above was given to my by a friend when I started cooking. Whenever possible I ask the person whose recipe I am wanting to write in the recipe book, or write the recipe out for me so I can paste it into my book. That way I know from whom I received the recipe as well as having a keepsake of their generosity, time and friendship.
Do you collect recipes from friends and would you consider asking them to write in your book?