In 1993 I purchased cookbooks for the first time. That was a year of Jansport backpacks, overpriced flannel, and my first non-parent-owned kitchen. The only other books I had in my collection then were a church fund-raising book that my mother purchased out of pity, Pepperidge Farm holiday pamphlets, and a free Dole book with recipes that featured—surprise!—Dole products. My collection cried out for an upgrade.
At the bookstore I pondered my choices with the seriousness of a woman about to embark on a new career. It was a watershed decision—these books would shape my culinary future and live with me for the rest of my life. After consulting my flannel-clad roommates, narrowing down my choices, and considering my limited skills, I bought one “fancy” cookbook and one “homestyle” cookbook to cover my ass: Julia Child’s The Way To Cook and the 1989 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Bookends for my buttocks, if you will. Both books still grace my kitchen shelves. Along with 117 others.
It started innocently enough. Intimidated by Julia and dissatisfied with Better Homes, I began investing in practical, all-purpose books that covered as much area as possible. As my skills grew, a growing obsession with Indian cooking gradually added 16 books on Indian food alone. I moved into more specific but still encyclopedic cookbooks such as The Cheese Bible, The Pasta Bible , and The Cake Bible. I had found my religion. Hallelujah!
My downhill slide gained momentum in 2005 and 2006. New areas of interest like canning would spark yet another buying spree. Food bloggers raved about new releases that would somehow fall into my shopping cart and show up on my doorstep to be devoured and set aside like all the others. Then the most dangerous book of all sucked me in: the pornographic coffee table ornament—books filled with beautiful prose, sexy pictures, and airbrushed silicone-breast-enhanced recipes that look so good on paper that you’d never actually make them lest you ruin the hot, dirty fantasy. My Amazon wishlist bulged with glossy books promising countless hours of hedonistic reading for the small price of only $29.95. I could feed my lust for less than nine cents a day!
When did I go from the pragmatic, conscientious buyer trying to squeeze the most from each book to the spendthrift, greedy slut buying books by the armful and tossing them on the shelf after using them once for my pleasure?
I admit it; I have a problem. But know this: I am stronger than my problem. I am stronger than my problem. Yes I am! Don’t talk back to me, problem! I’m the boss of you now, because things have changed. My New Year’s Resolution is no buying food books, cookbooks, or baking books in 2007. Instead, I will focus on cooking from the books I have and eliminate those that I don’t want.
Warning to my readers: the next few months of Bon Appegeek posts will likely be on the testy side. You may see more profanity than usual along with uncontrolled bouts of rage and evidence of excessive substance abuse. I apologize in advance. Bear with me. Please try to have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! despite my suffering.
Oh, and if you get a chance, send methadone.