Me and my cookbooks - Georgeanne Brennan

Georgeanne BrennanWe're pleased to present another installment of the "Me and my cookbooks" series. Many EYB members have told us they enjoy meeting members and special guests through this feature. We'd love to introduce more people, so if you'd like to be featured, just email us at


Georgeanne Brennan is an acclaimed food writer who also runs a vacation cooking school in a medieval village in Haute Provence, France. Her many cookbooks include the award-winning Food and Flavors of Haute Provence and Aperitif, as well as Savoring France in the Williams-Sonoma Savoring series. Georgeanne writes features for the San Francisco Chronicle's food section and is a regular contributor to Fine Cooking and Bon Appétit. She lives with her husband on their small farm in Northern California. Brennan recently shared her love of cookbooks with The Sacramento Bee.

Like many of us, Brennan notes that while she has no trouble packing up old paperback mysteries or craft books and giving them to her local library, she just can't bear to part with any of her cookbooks. They are different, she says, describing them as "memories packed between covers." She expounds on the concept, saying "When I open any of my cookbooks, I am reminded of dishes cooked or pondered, of the friends, family or lovers I cooked for, of bittersweet moments, of places visited and meals eaten, of who I was at 20 or 50, and the years between and after."

Reminiscing about several of her favorite cookbooks, Brennan describes how they transport her back in time and place. When describing her now well-worn copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she recalls when and where it was purchased: with money received as a gift, and bought at a small shop no longer in business. She goes on to share a memory of a particular dish: "One recipe in particular, braised sweetbreads with brown mushroom sauce, reminds me of the stubborn, determined overworked mother and teacher I was, one insistent upon cooking and serving a civilized meal every night no matter what. In this case, it was sweetbreads for dinner on a school night. My then husband, now deceased, chastised me for being unrealistic, which I now recognize I probably was. However, the sweetbreads were delicious and my son and daughter remember having them growing up."

Read the entire essay at The Sacramento Bee's website.

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