For Cookbook Addicts, Temptation Is Always In 'Store'
"I will not buy any more cookbooks," you proclaim. And you mean it, too.
You avoid your favorite bookstore. You steer your cart around the edges of Costco to avoid that mountain of books in the middle. You refuse to click the links to the "Best Of" lists in your newsfeed. You promise the people who live with you, "I will read that giant stack of cookbooks (in the den, next to the bed, on the kitchen counter) before I even think of buying another one."
And then it happens where you least expect it: at the dollar store. Yes, even that depot of discount household goods and gadgets can be a trap for cookbook junkies. Who knew?
We recently stumbled upon a cornucopia of cookbooks, right there on the shelf next to the crayons and flash cards. Most were pretty easy to resist, those about Christmas cookies, bagels, and other mainstream matters. But digging a little deeper we found some treasures. "African-American Holiday Traditions" by Antoinette Broussard contains recipes and remembrances from notable actors, artists, writers, and business entrepreneurs. Lauren Chattman's "Cool Kitchen" offers 150 hot-weather recipes that don't require a stove or oven.
It got worse. So much worse. "In the Kitchens of Castile," by art critic and journalist Gijs van Hensbergen, details the author's account of working as a restaurant apprentice in Segovia. "Recipes Into Type: A Handbook for Cookbook Writers and Editors" by Joan Whitman and Delores Simon promises clarity and consistency for foodie wordsmiths.
Some fiend had assembled a collection of works by iconic British food writer Elizabeth David, added forewords by Alice Waters and James Beard, then published the whole thing as a gorgeous hardback titled "Elizabeth David Classics" with an embossed dust jacket.
You can guess what happened next, can't you? Of course you can.
We bought cookbooks. In our defense, we limited the damage to books we really, truly needed. Books we'd definitely use; books that were essential to anyone who cares about food. Using remarkable restraint, we went home with just six new books.
As any addict will attest (an honest one, that is), even the best buzz doesn't last. Once it wears off, you'll be back chasing what you crave, whatever it takes to justify your jones. It never ends.
And that reminds us: Weren't there some holiday cookbooks on the shelf in that dollar store? We should definitely go back. It's never too soon to start shopping for the season. After all, Christmas is just a little more than six months away.