Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I Don't Just Collect Ghost Stories

Upfront Disclosure: This post is not about the supernatural, at least not in the usual sense. 

But my habit of collecting recipes does seem to border on the un-natural.

I don't cook for fun. I don't find it relaxing like some, or challenging, like others. I do it to feed my family and that's basically about it. Jim is the one who really likes cooking. As do my kids. But me? Not so much.

So I don't necessarily understand the weird compulsion I have to collect recipes. Let's start with cookbooks. The other year, I gave away at least a full two foot of bookshelf space of cookbooks. I don't know how I acquired so many of them -I suspect some of them were gifts- but I went through the entire collection carefully and culled out the ones I knew I would never use. Like the entire tome of baked potato variations. Or the one of soups with the kind of ingredients I knew my picky eaters would never deign to even taste. 

I also had about a gazillion cookie cookbooks. I understand why I had those. I am a bona fide cookie freak and all of the books I gave away had beautiful, glossy pictures of treats that in the end, I would never have had the energy or ambition to bake. Giving away all of those gorgeous books was easy once I figured out that I didn't WANT to make them; I wanted someone to make them FOR me so I could just eat them. That said, I think I do still have a good five or more cookie cookbooks on my shelf, but in my defense, I bake at least one recipe out of each of them on a semi-regular basis.

But that's just the cookbooks. I also have printouts of recipes from the Internet in a file folder that is getting dangerously overstuffed. I should probably go over all of those, too, because I know that some of the recipes I printed out on the spur of the moment aren't going to sound great the next time I take a look at them. I'm not sure why that happens: why one day a particular slow-cooker chicken recipe I run across will sound terrific, and then the next time I look at it, I think Seriously? I was going to make that?

Then there are recipes that I've clipped out of magazines and newspapers (back in the day of actual printed newspaper subscriptions. I still miss that, but that's a whole different story.) Some of them are quite yellowed and brittle and probably date back over thirty years. And I still haven't made most of them Maybe not any of them. And I actually have a cardboard shirt box stuffed with newspaper and magazine recipes. And that's still not all.
Way back in my more ambitious days, I actually started a kind of scrapbook for my collection, where I taped recipes photocopied from friends, or actually hand-written when I didn't have a way to get a photocopy of the original. Talk about devotion. I'm not certain how many of those I actually made, either. Except for the chocolate zucchini bread. That one was definitely a winner!

I also have clipped recipes crammed into the covers and slipped between pages of practically every cookbook I own. The slow cooker book has got a few stuffed inside the front cover. And my favorite cookie cookbook? As if the recipes in the book itself weren't enough, I am probably breaking the binding with a handful of papers detailing how to make kolachkis, oatmeal scotchies, Swedish oatmeal cookies, and roll-and-cut Christmas cookies. (I probably have eight to ten different versions of those alone. 

So no, I don't just collect ghost stories. I collect ways and means to make delicious dinners and desserts, breads and cookies, crock pot meals and casseroles.This may not be paranormal, but the collection is truly monstrous.

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