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LADYIRISH317
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My new treasure

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v SHARON10002
    My favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, has it's binding all broken and unglued, pages falling out, and cooking/baking stains all over the cover and all throughout it. That's how a good cookbook should be. Well used and loved. Now I use a cookbook holder which does help keep my newer ones a little cleaner. emoticon
    1406 days ago
  • v THINRONNA
    Oh you gotta use your cookbook! That is what they are for. Simple. I even write notes in mine...sometimes with small changes I have made, conversions or thoughts on the item. I think they become more treasured with use...they become truly "yours".
    1408 days ago
  • v MRS_TOAD
    Use it and enjoy every moment! It is one of your greatest passions and joy! emoticon
    1411 days ago
  • v MONETRUBY
    Yes, you do know what Alton would say-use the darn thing until it falls apart! It is a sign of your love of his work, and your love of cooking, if it falls apart and becomes stained from years of use. Don't make yourself feel guilty for enjoying and using your new new treasure!
    1412 days ago
  • v POETLKNG2LOSE
    Go ahead and cook to your heart's content. You can always modify the recipes that are higher in fat or calories. That is what we try to do unless we have to cut too much then we don't make it. For instance this one Betty Crocker Recipe had a chocolate cake that was over 1.000 calories for 1 piece. The calories came from all the chocolate that was in it plus the butter and other stuff.
    1412 days ago
  • v RAINBOWFALLS
    I wore one cookbook out so badly that my son found the same one and gave it tome for Christmas one year.
    1412 days ago
  • v CARRAND
    Use the book and enjoy it! Books are meant to be read.
    1412 days ago
  • v MISSKELEBEK
    "binding cracked from use, a stain of broth on this page, a splotch of butter on that"

    That's how I remember which recipes are the best in the book emoticon Don't be afraid to use your new cookbook .
    1412 days ago
  • v WESTIEGAL1
    Definitely use the book, just like your pots and pans and other appliances. Their beauty will shine through in the food that you make. They were made for you to use them! emoticon
    1412 days ago
  • v CAROLJEAN64
    I took my mother's cookbooks after she died and my sister-in-law wondered why. She said, "The bindings are broken, some pages are loose and many stained." Those are exactly the reasons I wanted those books. They have the recipe, badly stained from the chocolate cake that was Mom's specialty and the first thing I ever baked. Each page is a memory.
    1412 days ago
  • v BECKYSRN
    My favorite cookbook has pages falling out and cooking/baking stains all over it. That's how a good cookbook should use.
    If you keep yours as a museum piece, then all it will do is make you ask 'what might have been?'
    Happy cooking!
    1412 days ago
  • v LITTLEWIND53
    I agree with what everyone else has said. A pristine book is a boring book and what is the use of a cookbook if you don't use it......

    Enjoy!
    1412 days ago
  • v REACHING4HOME
    WHERE DID YOU FIND THIS MASTERPIECE? IS THAT THE ACTUAL NAME OF IT:
    "GOOD EATS: THE EARLY YEARS"? I WOULD LOVE TO GET A COPY OF THAT MYSELF. BOBBY IS THE KING OF THE GRILL, BUT ALTON IS EASIER FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND. I ALSO LIKE WOLFGANG PUCK BUT HAD A HARD TIME CONVERTING HIS GRAMS TO OUNCES.
    ERIN
    1412 days ago
  • v CHEFSOPHIE
    I definately vote for using it. A back up could be to find the ones you want to try and see if they are also on line, and if so print them off for when you are cooking.
    1412 days ago
  • v LIS193
    Have fun using your new cookbook! What is the point of it keeping it pristine rather than using it? Cook some great dishes and enjoy!

    1413 days ago
  • v MPARKER67
    I would rather see a used cookbook. To me, it means there are many good recipes in it. If it looks unused I would feel the recipes aren't worth making.
    1413 days ago
  • v JAMARIGOLD
    If I went into a kitchen and saw pristine cookbooks and a well worn cookbook, I'd be more interested in seeing the worn book because it would be obvious it was loved! I'm sure Alton would rather see it in that condition. Enjoy it fully!! emoticon
    1413 days ago
  • v 1CRAZYDOG
    USE that cookbook! You know, I am obsessed with the 1953 version of Betty Crockers Picture Cook Book. It's the cookbook my Mom had. Then I found one for myself when I got married 23 yrs. ago. It got very dogeared . .. I mean duct tape on the spine of the book so it wouldn't fall apart! THEN about 5 yrs. ago or so the cook book was reprinted in binder edition, and I got that. So, if all else fails, buy one as a "spare!" Sounds squirrley, but they's how I handled it!

    I have so many cook books and just saw Alton's book @ Costco. Am going for it today! LOVE it. He intrigues me because he's the only one who really explaing the science behind the recipes. I love that.

    Enjoy your book! And, of course, Good Eats!
    1413 days ago
  • v BIGPAWSUP
    I'm not a cook, but I do have my dog training books. My favorites look like I gave them to the dogs for toys. The sign of a good book is in it's tattered pages. Make it a loved book.

    Kitty
    1413 days ago
  • v IAMFRANSGIRL
    My favorites are all dogeared and written in like my sketchbooks. The notes about who liked this or that and such are as lovely as the illustrations, stories and recipes themselves. My mother would be horrified, but heck, they're my books and my memories. I say it's more important what you do with your cook books than what they look like.
    p.s am totally envious of your Hope Diamond...
    1413 days ago
  • v NUTRON3
    Enjoy it!
    1413 days ago
  • v GINNJEN1974
    Yeah I think Alton would say hop in and cook some Good Eats! If the book shows some wear over the years it just shows how important it is to you.
    1413 days ago
  • v FERRETLOVER1
    Knock your socks off and USE THAT COOKBOOK! Life is too short not to. Go for it!!
    1413 days ago
  • v SPIRIT42013
    Well, you could rob a bank and get 2 copies!?! emoticon
    1413 days ago
  • v GLAMNGLOWDIVA
    Use it and enjoy. You should see my cookbook from Giada, post-it notes, comments and all in there. It is well used. Have fun making something.
    1413 days ago
  • v WINDSONG~
    Use it to its fullest!
    I use to watch the Frugal Gourmet!
    1413 days ago
  • v BLUE42DOWN
    I missed the furor, but am glad so many others were available to reassure and support you.

    To me the most beautiful cookbooks are the ones with notes along the edges, a smudge or smear on the pages of favorite recipes. A book that is sterile and untouched may look pretty on the outside, but for all intents and purposes it might as well be empty on the inside.

    We don't buy books for the binding or the condition of the pages. We buy them for the text and images on those pages and how we will use them. With a novel that is becoming involved in the characters and story. With a cookbook that is finding and following a recipe.
    1413 days ago
  • v FRENCHMARKET
    I agree with what Alton would say!!! A pristine cookbook is like a home that is just a showplace!!!
    1413 days ago
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