Cookbooks: A Love Affair

IMG_0540I posted this picture on Instagram last year and it started fun, new conversations with my friends. Today is lazy snow-day and an afternoon reading cookbooks is one of my favorite pastimes. It prompted me to share some titles with you.

I am very emotional about cookbooks. Many of them are gifts from family and friends and remind me of each person when I pull them out. I also connect with the celebrity chefs or stories in the cookbooks. I like to check them out of the library. After a  summer spent in Italy I checked out all the Lidia Basitanich I could find and read them cover to cover. (Photo copying the recipes I wanted to try before returning them.)  I love to read Jaime Oliver’s cookbooks. I don’t even make many of his recipes (yet – love his Grilled Eggplant Parmesan in Jaime’s Italy), but I enjoy his ‘voice’,  his stories and our shared passion for ‘fruit & veg’. Even reading his recipes sounds like he is right there in the kitchen with you. My husband gave me Made in Italy by David Rocco for my birthday a couple of years ago. Lots of eye candy in that book….(and the food doesn’t look bad either!)

My personal Southern Living library contains all go-to tried and true recipes, but not the healthiest obviously. I’m a Barefoot Contessa fan – her dishes are simple, uncomplicated and delicious and sometimes even healthy!. James Shields is the Chesapeake Bay area cooking expert and I often grab his cookbook after a visit to his restaurant, Gertrude’s inside the Baltimore Museum of Art.

After spending a summer in the fields as a work share at local farm, I have many farmer’s market cookbooks. One of my favorites is Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton, a birthday gift from a friend. Great recipes with incredible stories about her farm on Martha’s Vineyard. I totally related when she said people often mistake her for a vegetarian. She’s not, just a fellow ‘lover of vegetables’.

Although I love me some Martha Stewart, I usually get her recipes from my subscription to her Living magazine.

I have some of my Grandmother’s old tatted and torn volumes and my Nancy Drew Cookbook from when I was a kid. I also have Maryland’s Historic Restaurants and the recipes where my husband and I have scribbled notes from the restaurants we have visited. And, of course church cookbooks from around the country have priceless home cookin’ staples.

At-home cooking is the healthiest kind, but doing it on a daily basis can feel like chore. Hit up your local library or bookstore for inspiration and maybe even a departure to far-away land that you can bring home to your own kitchen.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite cookbooks. Comment below!