Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I have an addiction.

The first step of an addiction is admitting it, right?
I have been collecting cookbooks for years now.  It's been somewhat of a hobby, trying to get one cookbook from each country that we visit (it's hard to find a Middle Eastern cookbook in ENGLISH!), or finding new ones to inspire.  We now have a big enough kitchen, that an entire section of cupboards is dedicated to them.  I have always wanted to be able to do this...have them at arm's reach, so that I can make a new recipe, tweak a new creation, or see a photo of something I'd love to make.  I tend to irritate Graham once I am done, as he always says:
"You can make this again right?  I mean, you didn't just look in a cookbook for inspiration and make up your own recipe again, did you?  I'd really like it if you would be able to make this AGAIN!"
Unfortunately for my dear husband, the latter is usually true.  I love to READ (yes, like a book) new cookbooks and see an item that I'd love to make, usually studying the recipe and not completely following it.  I mean, there's always the basics that you can swap out to make a recipe your own.

Does it call for peanuts and you want to add pecans instead?  Does it call for All Purpose flour and you want to use rice flour to make it lighter (yes, there's a secret I'll share with you!)?  Does it call for water and you want to use sparkling water, or cola, or anything fizzy to make it rise better or be more fluffy?  Does it call for eggs and you want to swap in mayonnaise, oil or applesauce instead? 

There are always fun ways to make things your own.  Things that someone will say to you, "this tastes like something I've had before, but slightly different."  Maybe you added nutmeg to your mashed potatoes (seriously giving away my little secrets here...), or grate frozen butter into your biscuits or pie crust to ensure it's SUPER buttery and flaky (didn't everyone learn this from their Grandmother?).

We have a collection of over 100 cookbooks.  Some are left behind in England, as there wasn't any room left in either of our shipping containers.  Sad, seeing as they were some of our most used cookbooks, holding notes in the margins, on what we did to make them ours, or make them "better".  There are some that we couldn't live without, so we have repurchased them, and some that we have to call Tom for on occasion, to get us the recipe (poor guy!).  But mostly, our collection is something that we love...cookbooks with cuisines, baked goods, chocolates, and tips from all over the world.  It's so funny sometimes when we cook a full meal out of them, as Graham could pick a side dish, where we have to measure by a scale, we might have a main that needs to be measured in ounces and we might have a dessert, that needs to be measured in cups and mls.

I LOVE to go out shopping for new cookbooks, especially if I can get them on sale, or at Winner's/Homesense for cheaper.  I often use my Michael's coupons for 40-50% off something, on a weekend and buy a baking book with it.  You will NEVER see a Christmas go by (and we get made fun of for having a "crappy" list sometimes), without at least 2-5 cookbooks on EACH of our lists.  It's something that we BOTH LOVE and we BOTH LOVE TO DO TOGETHER.
Here were my little finds today, nothing was over $10!

I have already picked out a DELICIOUS looking breakfast bar recipe out of this one!

This one has a KILLER waffle recipe that I would love to try for the next time that Mom and Dad are over!

This one has some GREAT basic tips and starter recipes to go by, that you can EASILY tweak by changing the flours, oils, nuts, fruit, dairy or flavourings!

I am determined to make a Whoopie Pie recipe out of here that is entirely gluten, dairy, egg and nut free!

What inspires you?  What do you go out looking for that's part of your hobby?  Do you tend to follow recipes "by the book", or do you like to go rogue like us?

What's the ONE thing you have ALWAYS wanted to cook/bake or eat, that you have always been afraid to tackle and why?


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