Wednesday, August 15, 2012
First of all, I owe a huge thanks to all the wonderful Sparkers who supported me the last couple of days. Everyone is right, I am NOT going to let a self-righteous sourpuss drag me down.
Today I received the Hope Diamond. All right, not really. I got my copy of Good Eats: The Early Years. It's gorgeous -- so many pictures, a lot of liner notes, tons of photos, all the recipes from the shows AND recipes that were never on TV. I skimmed through it every spare second I could get (the package came to my office), and I plan to sit down and read it like a novel. I seriously can't wait to get the other two volumes and his other books. Alton is giving Bobby a serious run for my attention lately.
But it raises an old conundrum for me. The book is SO beautiful! I find myself afraid to crack the binding or damage the pages. I almost want to keep it like a museum piece. But is that what a cookbook is for? In the foreward Alton talks about his favorite cookbook (The Frugal Gourmet). He says his copy is dogeared, stained and about to fall apart. And he totally loves it. So I'm asking myself -- is a cookbook more beautiful in its pristine state from the dealer? Or with a binding cracked from use, a stain of broth on this page, a splotch of butter on that? I'm asking myself if the real beauty isn't what I do with it, not the book itself.
I have a nagging feeling I know what Alton would say if I could ask him.