Someone asked me a couple of days ago what my favorite cookbooks were. How providential!!! As I was literally in the process of writing a post about that.....which is quite a miracle. I really didn't become interested in cooking.....and the like.....until I was married.....had a soul to feed, and another one seven years later. R2D2 tried to teach me when I lived at home.....but I was about other things. Sigh. Luckily.....I had watched her enough, that I remembered the basics.
The following are seven of my favorites.....listed in the order of original publishing date. I have many more.....as I have become somewhat of a cookbook junkie.....although I do try to keep it minimal, as not to take up valuable space. I am very scrupulous in my choices, and what I want to invest in, for my cookbook library. There have been a couple favorites.....that somehow.....through seven moves in our nearly sixteen years of marriage.....have been lent out.....misplaced....or lost. Poor things never found their way home. One of them was irreplaceable......
Okay.....moving on.....as not to start snottin' everywhere.
1) THE SETTLEMENT COOKBOOK
This cookbook made the slogan "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach" famous. Published by Simon and Schuster originally in 1901. Mine is from 1976.....and was given to me by R2D2, who used it a lot. It is falling apart.....but I treasure it. The recipes are basic and vintage. My favorite being "Quick Potato Soup" on page 515. We ate this many, Many, MANY times when I was a girl. The ingredients are only: potatoes, butter, salt and pepper, onion, and milk. This is comfort food for me.
Also by Simon and Schuster in 1931. This is a family legacy of cookbook authors! Originally by Irma S. Rombauer.....her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker followed suit.....and her son Ethan Becker (Irma's grand-baby) came behind. My copyright is 2006. This family hails from my parts of a southwest Ohio heritage.....specifically Cincinnati. It is so basic in teaching you how to cook ANYTHING, that in the original edition, Irma says in step one "Face the stove."
My favorite recipe is the "Cincinnati Chili Cockaigne," which is an AUTHENTIC version of the Cincinnati style chili you would find in the restaurants of Skyline and Gold Star.....local to our area. It is a bit labor intensive, and takes two days to make. BUT IT IS WORTH IT! I usually make a big batch once a year in February.....divide it up in about 7 meals.....and freeze it. This stuff is to die for.....and is healthier than the chemical laden yum, you would get out to eat.....or in the can. The cookbook is worth it's weight in gold.....but you can find the recipe online.
Given to me by a dear friend from the South, this is a Mennonite cookbook (1976), and a classic in their communities. Authored by Doris Janzen Longacre (deceased). If I were forced to have only ONE cookbook (or if we were going into the mission field).....hard choice, but it would probably be this one. Any description that I attempt, will not give it justice. You must get it for yourself, and read it cover to cover! It is a regular resource listed in support groups for those desiring to grow in homesteading, and self sufficiency lifestyles.
By Jeff Smith (deceased). He was on PBS for many years, a college professor, and Methodist minister. My mother watched him FAITHFULLY! This is his original work (1984) among MANY cookbooks that are worth having.....ALONE.....on the historical commentary, and geographical identity, he gives with each recipe. Amazing, fun and intriguing information!!!
I have several of his cookbooks, but go to this one most often. I have cooked the "Red Beans and Rice" on page 292 a gazillion times.....as well as "Lentil Salad" on page 371, that I also mention in my post "The Dinner Bell ~ Fresh Hobbit Food." His Christmas cookbook is where I get my gingerbread cookie recipe from.
You MUST check out all of Smith's cookbooks! His "Cooks American" could be a whole year of homeschool history.....and I have his "Cooks With Wine" as an alternative for low sodium flavorful options. There are several others to explore.
This was given to me by a very special Aunt. It is a modern classic, and I refer to it often for home style basics involving the common American family fare. She inscribed it for me, with a very special note, early in my marriage. Therefore, this cookbook will be handed down someday.
The cover of this describes the simplicity of why I invested in this. I needed assistance as I embarked on more crock pot cooking, in light of a busy schedule, as many of you have. I have TWO crock pots that I have fired up regularly at times, trying to get a day or two ahead of the ballgame around here. This speaks for itself, and has a great variety.
I know this doesn't surprise you in light of my starstruck awe with the Pioneer Woman. If you have at all been a frequent reader of my blog, or my Daisy Boots Facebook page.....you know that I love, Love, LOVE her! This is her first cookbook, and has a second one out that is just as wonderful. I own them both. Her recipes are not for the light at heart.....uh.....literally. With her hard working ranch husband, hands, and family.....they don't skimp on what makes food taste good. So.....you can tweak these recipes a bit for your preferences. I don't.....and only go to this on occasion for something special, or if we need something different outside of our normal health conscious fare. This book is very user friendly.....packed personal stories, and is a photographic journal for the recipes.....which made her blog famous. She is a humor, and human interest story DELIGHT!!!
So.....there you have it folks.....an effort to inspire you with fresh creativity, as you fill your loved ones bellies.....and nurture their souls with family, and memories.
Oh! ONE MORE THING.....cookbooks can be a family heirloom. Write down the dates and occasions RIGHT IN YOUR BOOKS, to commemorate when you made the recipe. A simple and easy way to journal your common family life....that generations to come, will appreciate.