When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~ Laiko Bahrs
What’s your favorite recipe? You know, the one that has all the stains, smudges, and fingerprints all over it from all the times you’ve used it? The one that comes out when you need some homemade comfort. Or if company’s coming.
I love recipes. In fact, I think I have collected more recipes than I would ever be able to make even if I did nothing else but cook all day long! Most of them will probably never be tried, experimented with, or cajoled into working out right with most of the ingredients. Yet still I collect them.
I have a particular fondness for cookbooks. The printed kind. The ones full of cooking possibilities that delight the mental senses even before they become reality in the kitchen. I kid you not. This is my cookbook collection….
The others are loosely divided by topic – cakes, desserts, cookies. Heck yes, cookies! It’s almost holiday cookie-palooza time. There are themed cookbooks – by product, food type, cooking style, regional specialties and the like. And there are also some historical ones, plucked from garage sales, auctions, and online purchases. I’m far less brave about trying some of the “historical” foods (aspic, anyone?), even though some of the best dishes come from tried-and-true recipes in those books.
In the top corner, the one closest to my kitchen counter, are my go-to cookbooks. The ones I know have all the answers, whether it is the right substitute ingredient, the correct equivalent measurement, or the best “what can I make from these items?” recipe when I have no ideas for dinner. These are the ones with bent pages, torn covers, and all the other signs of being well-loved and often used. These are my cherished ones. Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens general cookbooks are there for everyday answers and suggestions. Personal ones, collections of recipes from co-workers, church congregations, or local women’s organizations are there as well, as there are no finer recipes than those which come from such groups.
And don’t get me started on the online recipe sites! I’ve lost many hours hopping between recipes and sites, and oftentimes I can track down recipes I remember but no longer have on these sites, much to my delight. One of the many reasons I love Pinterest, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, is the ability to anchor specific items, including recipes, and to categorize them by type if I want. No more searching through a bazillion bookmarks or printing out every one I “might” want to try. I pin it to a board, with a visual reminder and a note as to why I want to remember it, and it’s there for me to rediscover easily when I get the urge to try it out.
But my favorite recipes still tend to come from my recipe box or a book on my shelf. Mostly, I’m sure, it’s habit. I go to what I know will be good. That will work every time.
With winter looming, however, I always get the urge to explore a whole new set of recipes to try during the cold weather and long nights over the next few months. So this year, I’m starting early by asking you to share some of your favorites. I promise to share mine later in the week, but until then, I’m curious to hear from you.
What’s your go-to cookbook? Your favorite recipe?