Friday, November 11, 2011

Cookbook Search and Rescue

I used to say I'd taken "a sabbatical" from cooking.

I looked the word up; according to it means "bringing a period of rest" or " any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training."

Truthfully, I just sort of quit cooking. But I have been "on sabbatical" from writing.

While I "rested" my pen (or keyboard) for a period of time, the rest of my life has been a whirlwind. The year of 2011 has been one of profound change for me and my husband -- and included buying a different home, selling our old house, and moving.

If you've ever moved -- you know what stress and "un-rest" that creates!
Just for example, let me tell you about my cookbooks.

If you really KNOW me -- you know that I am the Anti-Cook. I just flat don't do it, if I can avoid it. (Yes, there are definitely some blog stories about my "expertise" in the kitchen, coming soon!) I'm grateful to have married a gentleman who not only is a great cook, he loves cooking and wants to spend time in the kitchen every day! I will wash dishes all night long, if somebody else will cook! We have a pretty good partnership, when it comes to cooking.

Back to my cookbooks -- I have a few that are special to me. A couple I received as a child, including "Betty Crocker's Boys' & Girls' Cookbook" that has a really good Sugar Cookie recipe in it -- plus instructions on how you can make a heart-shaped cake by baking the layers in one square pan and one round pan. (Hint: you cut the round layer in half and place them on adjacent sides of the square.) I remember making a heart-shaped cake for Pop (my grandfather) because his birthday was the day after Valentine's Day.

I also have some "down home" cookbooks, like "The Deep Creek Baptist Church Cookbook" (oh, that Cold Oven Pound Cake is wonderful!!), "Peachland's Kitchens" and "The Peachland Centennial Celebration Cookbook." I actually have a couple of recipes printed in there, proving that not everything I cook turns out bad! These three books all show the marks of being favorites, with their dog-eared pages and stained covers.

Then there's that good old red-and-white-checked "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" -- as much a staple in the kitchen as flour and sugar. Oh and don't forget the "Fix It And Forget It Crockpot Cookbook" from my days as a working mom.

When we began packing up to move, we had tons of books. I weeded out our collection, donating some here and there, selling a few on Amazon. But I carefully held on to my cookbooks, packing them away in a box to be moved to our new place. That was in early April.

It's now mid-November -- and I've been looking for those darn cookbooks ever since. This morning, I launched an all-out Search and Rescue Mission: If those books were anywhere in this house, I was determined to find them TODAY!

I looked in boxes under the beds -- surprisingly, most of them were empty! But in one box, I found my gold foil angel wings (YES, I really DO have some!) -- I wore them as a child in a long-ago Christmas play. I dragged EVERYTHING out of the guestroom closet and rummaged through the assortment of boxes and bags. The upstairs bedroom looked like it had been ransacked, with the contents of tubs and boxes spilling out in the floor. I found six rolls of Christmas wrapping paper (just in time!), my old Appalachian State annuals and a set of Looney Tunes drinking glasses -- but no cookbooks.

I looked in the built-in cabinet in the living room. Lots of dvds and our old tax records, but no cookbooks. I emptied the closet in the front bedroom. I found scads of piano music and hymnbooks -- but no cookbooks.

Then I zeroed in on the front closet. Mostly we'd stored suitcases in there, but there were a couple of boxes that I dragged out into the hall. The first one had some clothes in it -- and I found the shoe for my little doll (who spent the summer with one shoe on and one bare foot) -- but still no cookbooks.

The second box was full of computer paraphernalia. I found some blank cds, and a really cool scrapbook of my husband's from his days of service in the United States Marine Corps. Then I spied that beautiful red-and-white-checked pattern, hidden deep in the bottom of the box. HOORAY!! I'd finally found the missing cookbooks!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Gleefully, I inventoried the tattered stack of books. Yep, they were all present and accounted for! I quickly gave them a place of honor on a shelf in the pantry. Who knows, I may get daring and try my hand at cooking something soon!

But I think it would probably be safer for us all if I picked up my notebook and started writing again. Maybe soon you'll read about the time I blew up the shrimp!


Aliza said...

Don't you find that things you've lost are always in the last place you look???

Anonymous said...

Anita.. I have all the same cookbooks and love that kids cookbook too.. it has recipe for 'smores! LOL

Anita said...

*laughing* Aliza -- I was planning to go through all my seasonal decorations in the basement if I had to -- almost didnt know what to do with myself when I found them in that closet!
Andrew, that little cookbook is a CLASSIC! I always loved the pictures in it!