I was browsing my mothers zillion cookbooks yesterday. I asked her how many cookbooks she owns, and she confessed it was in the arena of six to eight hundred. Cookbooks on anything you could imagine, jams and jellies to meat to the classics. Many, many dessert cookbooks–she’s always been a champion baker–and antique cookbooks. She gave me my first for my birthday when I was seven or eight, the ubiquitous Betty Crocker Cookbook for Children. A born social historian, she points to the history of food as (in part) the history of women, and there is a lot of truth in that.
But what I stumbled over yesterday was the chocolate cookbooks. Ultimate Chocolate, which has the most amazing photos, and 1001 Chocolate Treats and The Chocolate Cookbook. It made me think about the great cookbook I discovered while writing Elena, and weirdly, about a special on honey I saw the other day–the way bees make honey and how they create the combs, and what you can do with honey when it is put in jars–and about other luscious things.
Do you have a favorite cookbook? A favorite novel with recipes? What is your favorite sinful food treat?
7 thoughts on “Something happier…chocolate”
Well, it doesn’t have recipes per se but the heroine of Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a baker and her wonderful sounding creations (especially the Cinnamon-rolls-as-big-as-your-head seeing as cinnamon rolls are one of my fave sinful foods) always make me hungry when I read it.
Oh and then there’s that No Place Like Home book by some gal named Barbara lol
Barbara, have you ever read any of the Elizabeth David cookbooks — in the 50’s and 60’s she did a lot to educate English people about cooking various kinds of European food — French Provincial, Italian, French country etc. What makes her so special, I think, is not just that she was a passionate cook and her recipes are excellent, she’s also a wonderful writer. She draws you into the place, the time, the spirit of the food and its preparation. The books are completely absorbing, even if you never read any of the recipes. There was an edition recently where a wide range of well-known writers chose their favorite passages and recipes from Elizabeth David, and it was lovely. She’s a writer’s cook, not just a cook’s cook. My only complaint about her books is that they have a habit of walking out of the house…
“Oh and then there’s that No Place Like Home book by some gal named Barbara”
I just read No Place Like Home recently and I loved it to bits and raved about it on the Berkley Bulletin Board.
ooh, Sunshine IS a book that makes you want to do some baking and eating of sinfully delicious things! LOVE that book.
I just finished Julie & Julia, a memoir by the blogger that cooked her way through Mastering The Art of French Cooking in a year. Reading about marrow and brains didn’t make me very hungry, though.
The author of the Mitford books, Jan Karon, has a cookbook that is all recipes from things her characters ate in her books and they are smashing & scrumptious. I learned how to make hardboiled eggs that were golden yellow instead of with that nasty grayish green rim around the yolk from that cookbook. And there’s an amazing red pepper tomato soup recipe in it that everybody in my family loves.
Mel, I forgot about Sunshine! I should reread that one of these days. Such a great novel.
Anne, what a wonderful tip. I’ve not heard of her, but I will look and see if the library or Amazon has anything.
Elena, I was enraptured by Julie/Julia’s blog and delighted when when she landed a book deal out of it. Best blog ever, though I am so with you on the marrow. (For myself, I recently bought whole trouts and cut off their heads my own self. It was a proud cook moment!)
PS your book is coming soon! Lots of recipes there, of course.
Robin McKinley also has a blog which has a whole recipe section…sadly, not yet including anything from Sunshine but we ask occasionally. http://www.robinmckinleysblog.com/recipes/
I also have a weakness for the “foreigner moves to gorgeous country, has housing/work/something disasters and possibly meets cute man/woman” genre. A Year in Provence, Under the Tuscan Sun etc…they make me both hungry and itchy-footed.
Oh and Jenny Crusie’s Agnes and the Hitman had great food too.
Your mum sounds like an absolute legend. The problem wouldn’t be finding a recipe, it would be chosing one from so many options! Where does she keep them all?
My favourite cookbook is my oldest one, an old Country Women’s Association cookbook someone gave me for my kitchen tea. It’s stained and buckled but has the best recipies for the simple stuff. Country women sure know how to cook 🙂
Coming in close second is the tattered folder of photcopies and hand written recipies I inherited when Mum passed away. But I know most of those recipes off by heart, so i figure it doesn’t count so much.