Cookbooks can be life-changing

I do not have to work very hard to convince readers of our blog about the magic of cookbooks. They have woven a spell over our lives, enchanting us with their descriptions of faraway lands, mesmerizing us with detailed scientific explanations of baking chemistry, and wowing us with evocative images and stories. It never gets old seeing others discover the joy in reading these tomes, so I was delighted to see Gemma Croffie’s recent Vittles London post on the life-changing magic of cookbooks.

Like many of us during the early stages of lockdown, Croffie had a to-do list of recipes she had never made before, such as kouign amann and braided challah. Also like many of us, she found that the stress and demands of the situation did not allow for the leisurely baking bonanza she had planned. Nevertheless, her cookbooks offered respite, and she noted that the mere act of reading a book can be a soothing balm: “A good cookbook is one that engages me; I don’t have to even cook from it,” she says. “The mark of a great cookbook is one that I enjoy reading and cooking from.”

Croffie discusses which cookbooks have captured her attention during the past several months. One of these is Shauna Sever’s Midwest Made, which has become a go-to book for Croffie. She shares the notion that “No one really needs to bake, so it feels like something just for me; the smell of bread dough is one of my most beloved smells in the world,” adding that she has “baked more from this book than from any other in the last six months.”

Another book that Croffie has been enjoying happens to be one of the EYB Cookbook Club selections for August, Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin. Croffie also pays homage to books by Nigella Lawson, Nik Sharma, and Dan Lepard. When contemplating why she loves cookbooks so much, Croffie’s sentiments echo my own (and maybe yours, too): “They are a comfort to me, an escape, and a balm for my soul.”

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  • matag  on  August 12, 2020

    Reading a cookbook is as good as reading a novel about faraway places!

  • lgroom  on  August 12, 2020

    Wasn’t that a great article? Thank you for sharing that with your readers.

  • kayanelson  on  August 12, 2020

    I just made the peanut butter cookies from Midwest Made. I just got the book and this is my first recipe from it.

  • gcroffie  on  August 12, 2020

    Thank you Darcie for featuring this, I found it hard to whittle down my list to just a few.

    lgroom- what a lovely comment, thank you.

  • JaniceKj  on  August 12, 2020

    Thank you for an inspiring article. At the beginning of this madness, I got my ingredients and recipes ready to go. But it hasn’t been that easy. Now, back to the mixer I go! I will enjoy the results and share with neighbors. After all, a full pie, dozens of cookies, cakes and others for just 2 adults, can’t be!

  • manycookbooks  on  August 14, 2020

    No need to convince me of the love of cookbooks: I have several thousand of them. One of the effects of our “lockdown” is that people are staying in their kitchens and cooking much more than before, especially baking. For that reason, although toilet paper was the first of the global “shortages”, yeast came in a close second. I haven’t been able to find any at any of our local supermarkets for months. A sign on the empty shelves always says the same thing: “limit 2 per customer”, but I never seem to get there in time to find anything!

  • BarbaraAJ  on  August 18, 2020

    I always have a pile of cookbooks next to my bed for bed time reading. Then I dream of all the wonderful things I could make one day…

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