From My Bookshelf: Recipes

Last month I wrote my 25th From My Bookshelf post. Since October 2016, I have shared more than 75 books that I own – which wows me and hurtfully reminds me of my challenge to read all the books in my possession. I really need to step that up.

Anyway, for my 26th From My Bookshelf post, I’m going in a slightly different direction than sharing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry titles. Instead, I’m featuring three recipe books that I hold near and dear.

From My Bookshelf | The Cake Bible | Rose Levy BeranbaumThe Cake Bible Rose
Levy Beranbaum

Published in 1988, this recipe book is like the ideal teacher: stern but enlightening, detailed yet straightforward, instructional and entertaining. Baking is a more recently developed hobby of mine, but it has quickly become a favorite hobby. The Cake Bible I have is my mom’s, but it lives here in my apartment kitchen and I’ve made several of the cakes inside. One of my favorite things about it is the very 1980’s dessert pictures in the front – they remind me of those stomach-churning vintage recipes, except in this case the desserts, although dated in style, actually seem appetizing because you know they are just chocolate, flour, sugar, etc. (and not Tuna and Jello Pie or Lobster Relish). I haven’t veered into the more complicated cakes, because I’m still working on technique and the basics of cake making and decorating, but the ones I have made are delicious, both in my opinion and in the opinion of those I give my cakes to (I’m more of a one-slice of cake and I’m good kind of person. Pies and pastries are more my thing).

From My Bookshelf Cooking Down East | Marjorie StandishCooking Down East: Favorite New England Recipes
Marjorie Standish

I have yet to make any of the recipes in this book, but this is a pretty typical cookbook to know and have in Maine kitchens (the secondary title is more general with the use of New England, because although Marjorie Standish was a Mainer, these recipes resonate throughout our region). A quick Google search of her name will give you plenty of news articles, commentary, and stories of her prominence, as well as direct and indirect explanations about why these recipes, although lacking in excitement and exoticism, are such staples. The quick and easy answer: Mainers are simple, resourceful, and nostalgic. This cookbook highlights the positive attributes of those qualities.

From My Bookshelf | Kate Spade Recipe BookKate Spade New York Recipe Book

This is the recipe book I use to write down recipes I like, and while I am better at printing recipes and putting them in the folder sleeve inside (which takes no time) than writing them out (which takes more time), I do think it’s a special item to have. It’s much more satisfying to open up to a page on which I’ve written a recipe, and see a subtle dusting of flour or some yellowing where my vanilla extract dripped or where oil dropped after splattering out of a pan, than it is to have to deep clean my cell phone because I’ve tried using a recipe directly from a blog and touched the screen with my floury or eggy hands. Was that a bit of a rant? Yes, but I hope it shows you my love for this recipe book nonetheless.

Do you use cookbooks, or have one that you hold as dear as a favorite novel? I would love to know. 😊

5 thoughts on “From My Bookshelf: Recipes

  1. Kathy Hamilton says:

    Funny, I just wrote a post like this a few weeks ago for the same reason! I love books but I feel like no one talks about recipe books much? They’re such a well-loved part of my bookish life. I have a similarly ancient recipe book for cakes- it doesn’t even have pictures! But every bake works like a charm.

    • Kelsey @ There's Something About KM says:

      That’s wonderful! I think they are certainly underrated. And I love that you still use the recipes without pictures – The Cake Bible’s individual recipes don’t have images either, although more of the “extreme” baked goods are accompanied by a photograph. I think leaving the images out takes some of the pressure off – when you only focus on the ingredients and instructions, and not on how something will look at the end, the baking experience is a bit more gratifying, I think. 😃

      • Kathy Hamilton says:

        Yes, I have started to really enjoy baking cakes/biscuits etc. from the recipe book without pictures since it let’s my imagination run wild a little bit. Like yours there are some illustrations (for the correct way to roll a Swiss Roll for example) but for the most part I can just have fun with them.

Leave a Reply