23 August 2009

You Sweet Talker, Betty Crocker.

There it is, y'all. My first cookbook. Well, it's not the actual one, that one's still at my Mother's house in Oklahoma. But this cookbook used to fill me with hours of wonder, flipping through the pages, trying my hand at making my first white cake and chocolate chip cookies. I loved this cookbook so much, that when I saw a copy available on ebay, I had to snatch it up straight-away.

Coookbooks are a funny thing. When I was a kid this was the only cookbook I remember having. I remember watching food shows on tv, Julia Child, the Galloping Gourmet and the Frugal Gourmet tempered with a little Justin Wilson, the cajun cooking G-d. But I don't remember ever reading any other cookbooks. This was it to me. Food was made like the food in this cookbook, and Julia and everyone else just made variations on the Betty Crocker theme.

I suppose in a sense that's accurate. But now, it made me laugh when I put my Betty Crocker classic on my (bulging) cookbook shelf. There's Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Ricardo, the Alinea cookbook, Vij's, the Splendid Table, Julia Child, Moro, Gluten-Free books, the beautiful book 'A Mediterranean Feast', and countless others. There are books by scholars and bloggers, British food writers and critics (yeah Jay Rayner), and then countless countless food magazines all clamoring for my attention.

And I love them all. I recently had a book purge (I buy books like some people buy drinks in a bar. It's a sickness, truly). I had to clear out some room on my bookshelves, and there were a few who had no business hanging around anymore. They were cookbooks that I never related to or enjoyed looking at, or made a single recipe from, and really, what's the point of that? But it all goes back to this Betty Crocker cookbook.

I don't know how I didn't end up with a career in food. But thank goodness for being able to blog about food, to share what I like and don't like, to talk to others about what makes them happy and how and why food is so often tied up in that. I don't want to go all new age-y about it all, but having this Betty Crocker cookbook in my house finally makes it feel like my home. It was the piece that was missing, and I didn't even know it was lost.

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