I have cooked since I can remember standing on a chair next to the stove and acting as my Daddy’s sous chef…I have loved it ever since.  Mom was the baker she cooked beautifully as well and always had magnificent meals every night. Daddy, on the other hand, cooked by taste, I think most chefs do that and remember my Father was an artist and loved to work out the thought of the recipe as he went along and that is how I learned to experiment with recipes.  I don’t have many of his, I have already shared his Borscht with you but I do remember a couple of them.  Why don’t we all write down our family’s secret recipes when we horrible that they are lost forever!  Mom being a baker had to follow a recipe with her delicious breads, I can still smell them no greater a smell than freshly baked bread, at least not in my mind!  And her pies, oh my, unfortunately, I can’t make pie crust to this day, I guess I either over or under work the dough, oh well, thank heaven for Pillsbury’s dough!   I can remember my Father coming home from a long day and saying to Mom, “Honey, you have been busy all day, I’ll cook tonight!”

Now for the subject of today’s post, Cookbooks.  Many people use The Joy of Cooking for their everyday cookbook ( I do have it, of course)…ours was Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, which I gave to Mom for a Christmas gift when it was first published.  I think she only used her family recipes and other cookbooks until that time (vintage now, some of which I still have).  Of course, she also did many of her menus from memory.  When the original Betty Crocker book started falling apart (by the way, I still have it and still refer to it, it has some amazing recipes for basics, I will share some with you on my Wednesday posting of Nena’s recipe box). I started collecting recipes from friends and cookbooks in high school and have continued to this day. I am particularly fond of “community” cookbooks, those that have “personal recipes”. I do love the Silver Palate cookbook (the original) and use it often. I add to my collection constantly but space limits minuscule kitchen needs to have a bit of prep space or how can I prepare the recipes!!

I started the Time-Life cookbook series long ago, again, amazing recipes, I still have some of them and pick up others at book sales or the Printer’s Row Book Fair, which, by the way, has at least one dealer that specialized in cookbooks who has an extraordinary collection or  Antique Malls and, of course, the Randolph Street Market  My philosophy of buying a cookbook is if I get one new recipe from it, I go for it. I also am driven by the photos and illustrations and in some cases just the writing, all of which I find in David Lebovitz, Ina Garten, and Martha Stewart’s books. volume of the Time-Life cookbook collection.

Of course, I have the entire Julia Child collection but find her to be a bit involved, might do a Julie and Julia year at some point in time!  I do qualify for the tiny kitchen although I wouldn’t call myself a novice cook…that, I am sure could be debated!  Let’s say I am willing to tackle any recipe.  I relate my Cassoulet experience with you in another post, it will be the entire subject, it was an unforgettable experience!  My feeling if a souffle falls you have a “pudding”!

I adore all the Lee Bailey books, he did many personal appearances at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago and most of my collection is signed to me, Lee not only gives you fantastic recipes but also exquisite photography and wonderful writing along with table settings, menus, the entire entertaining picture.imageMy Lee Bailey collection with a peek at some of the Ina Garten books.

imageA fantastic series one I use often and one I don’t want to purge.

One of my most favorite cookbooks, long out of print.  The best lamb curry recipe you will ever find. pride and joy book for recipes, amazing photography and reminiscences, Vincent Price not only an accomplished actor but an art collector and cook, quite a combination!

I’m dying to know which cookbooks are your favorites, vintage and/or new and which recipes you like in them and what are your treasured recipes that you can share.  Do please post your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom on this page.

imageSitting on a hand-painted distressed vintage chair in the kitchen…all waiting to be melded into their categories, others will have to be purged to make room for them. I do, indeed, follow many Food Network shows and use some of their recipes as well as follow many food blogs (another posting to be sure). I am exceptionally fond of the New York Times Cooking app, it is amazing, get it, not only does it give you amazing recipes and advice but allows you to save your own recipes that you collect from other sites…I mean, seriously!!! I will continue to collect, I love the feel of a book in my hand and the joy of creating a new recipe or revisiting a trusted timeworn classic. Now where to find space!!!!!


  1. Tom Mantel March 1, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I too love cookbooks. It is fun searching for that recipe I remember. Which book was it in?

    • nenasnotes March 1, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Exactly my problem. We both need to keep a “recipe address book”!!!!

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