My earliest kitchen memories were “helping” my grandmother in her kitchen, which really meant watching her as she canned and made meals from what she and my grandfather grew in the garden or caught in the river.
By the time I was seven, I was making food for my siblings. It was never a chore, I was familiar with being in the kitchen already, and making food just happened. To this day, I rely on studying cookbooks and see how others put flavors together. This has served me very well over the years.
My passion for cookbooks has never waned, but I don’t like the modern style recipes that include opening boxes and cans.
I prefer to build my recipes myself. I like to know how to make the most basic things and combine them into a recipe from scratch. My favorite cookbooks reflect how heavily I relied on them over the years. They are stained and ragged, I’ve written notes on the pages, and most of the covers have been either torn or nearly torn off. I thought it would be fun to show you some of them:
Holly Hobbie’s Cookbook
This is the very first cookbook that I ever owned. It’s sweet and simple but surprisingly covers a wide variety of foods. I loved that there was also a list of kitchen terms, which helped me decode other recipes. Isn’t it sweet?
The Basics and More Cookbook
As you can see, this cookbook is used almost daily. I bought it from an Amish store in central NY, and I don’t think it has ever been rotated out of my “most used” shelf.
It is this book that taught me how to make exceptional bread. It is where I got my basic farmer’s market recipe that I still use today.
The Practical Produce Cookbook
Another favorite, this cookbook also came from the Amish store in NY. It is my bible throughout the canning season. I love to make a few foods in a lot of different ways, and food preservation is no different. It’s loaded with different ways to preserve and prepare so many foods. I would consider this a must-have if you like to put up food.
Homemade is Better
Finally, this cookbook is one that I found on a free book bench in Billings, Montana. I have kept and used it for many years because it focused on making basic mixes and using them for many recipes.
It’s much loved and the cover is nearly off. I highly recommend this one if you enjoy making things from scratch.
Do you collect cookbooks? What are some of your favorites?