Cookbooks are my friends

 baking books

Cookbooks are my friends. Before you fret about the state of my mental health, rest assured that not all of my friends reside on bookshelves. However, cookbooks perform many of the same roles that my "real-life" friends do.

They comfort me when I am not feeling well. Reading about chicken soup eases my soul just as eating soup made by a caring friend alleviates my sniffles. Cookbooks make me laugh, challenge me to push beyond traditional boundaries, and fill me with amazement about the beauty and grace found in the common task of cooking. Cookbooks provide both joy and purpose. When the day-to-day grind starts to wear me down, nothing rejuvenates me like cracking open a book and diving into a new baking project.

Cookbooks hold my hand as I cautiously navigate a complicated cooking or baking technique. They teach, too. Where else can I learn that the denaturing of milk proteins contributes to making a smoother ice cream? I will never outgrow the sense of wonder that comes with creating something magnificent from a set of simple ingredients.

In some ways, cookbooks are better than people. They never judge. The pie book never tells me that my jeans are getting a little tight. Unlike my German grandmother, the German baking book doesn't ask me if I am ever going to have kids. The Southern cookbook doesn't care that my floor has a few crumbs on it or that the bed isn't made. When a dish does not turn out as planned, there is no rebuke from the book that contains the recipe.

Relationships with cookbooks are easier, too. That bread-making book doesn't care if I put it down and ignore it for a few weeks. The book about preserving does not complain that it is too hot, and it never steals the covers. I can yell at the complex and labor-intensive baking book and its feelings never get hurt. 

When I immerse myself in a cookbook, the rest of the world disappears. The pages whisk me away to foreign places with exotic flavors, and the enchanting stories inspire me to make new and delicious foods.  Cookbooks connect me to parts of the world I will never see and people that I will never meet. For the places that I have visited, pulling out a cookbook from the region transports me back to that special time and place in a way that nothing else can.

Just as human friendships wax and wane as people drift apart when their lives move in different directions, so do relationships with cookbooks. You may outgrow a volume or two, but core friendships remain through the ups, downs, and vagaries of life. My library regularly grows and less frequently contracts. I will never give up my closest friends, no matter which type of spine they possess. 

4 Comments

  • Jane  on  7/4/2017 at 9:40 AM

    What a lovely article Darcie. I agree that my cookbooks scan the range of relationships - from a new romance that I cannot wait to spend time with again to a long-forgotten passing acquaintance that really should no longer be taking up space in my life.

  • manycookbooks  on  7/4/2017 at 1:50 PM

    Yes, yes, yes! A great article, Darcie. I have the same sentiments about my cookbooks. You put your feelings so eloquently and I really enjoyed reading about someone akin to my own feelings about cookbooks. Bravo!

  • Pamsy  on  7/28/2017 at 5:05 AM

    Thank goodness other people think the way I do! A friend (who cooks out of necessity rather than love) recently commented on my cook book collection and when I replied that I think of them as my friends, she looked at me as if I was mad! Maybe I am mad, but I'm happy!

  • susiep2  on  8/2/2017 at 2:24 AM

    Loved it! I too love my cookbooks; every single one is cherished. I take care of them and visit them often...like my human friends...

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