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Highly recommended.

I look at cookbooks like other people look at travel books. They often are travel books. I don't know if I'll ever cook from my French Farmhouse Cookbook, but I love to look at it and read the anecdotes about French country life. Sometimes, cookbooks are history books. I have read and re-read my mom's American Heritage Cookbook, which is as much history book as it is a cookbook. History viewed though the lens of food is both educational and, for me, highly entertaining. I re-read it when I'm sick in body or sick at heart, because it always cheers me up. But I doubt I will ever cook anything out of it.

Then there is The Beautiful Cookbook: Pacific Northwest, that I bought for $4.00 out of a bargain bin about ten years ago. The Beautful Cookbook was, the book tells me, a public television series. One of the few about food that I never watched or even heard of, I guess. I bought it primarily because of the pretty cover photo and you couldn't beat the price. I have since carefully peeled off the sale price sticker. Not just because it interferes with the beauty of the cover, but because I didn't want the book's face marred or its reputation tarnished by the inference that it deserved to be tossed into the bargain bin! The inside cover tells me that it would have cost $45.00 at full price, and while I doubt I would have ever paid that much for it, it is only because I didn't know how much pleasure it would bring me. Not just reading pleasure, but actual eating pleasure! Although it takes its inspiration from a location that is a source of fascination for me, and is full of swoony photos, it is not just a picture book. For here it is, at last: a cookbook that I've actually used for its intended purpose!

It's true that for years I was just a sightseer, paging through the book and mentally bookmarking all the dishes I'd like to try if I had unlimited time, money, and skill. I fantasized that if I ever won the lottery, I would hire someone to cook nearly everything in this book for me, recipe by recipe. Especially the seafood dishes! Then, as it transpired, I found myself in need of an apple pie recipe ... Yes, this cookbook is the source of the apple-cranberry pie I make every Thanksgiving, and my first scratch pie crust, too. Although I must admit that I've never tackled any of the protein-based recipes from this book, not yet, anyway. Whenever I have cracked its pages, it has never let me down. The magical success of that first pie gave me the confidence to continue and expand my baking expertise. Now I have the skill and confidence to make far more advanced mistakes!

Now I'm attempting one of the recipes that first caught my eye so many years ago: Pumpkin-Pecan Cake. The cake is in the oven, and the apartment smells like Mrs. Claus' boudoir! If it tastes half as good as it smells, it will be another triumph! Thanks again, The Beautiful Cookbook: Pacific Northwest. You were a fine investment, and have become a trusted guide. Almost a friend.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Oh, that sounds good- I may do some baking tonight (although that means I'd have to clean up the kitchen). I bought a pumpkin bread mix...mmmmm
Dec. 5th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
How did the cake turn out?
Dec. 5th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
It is moist and spicy, and the cream cheese frosting adds a nice amount of sweetness without being overwhelming. I would definitely make it again!
Dec. 5th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Hello! I'm joeyhemlock's girlfriend, and he has said lovely things about you and suggested that I friend you. I hope it's okay.
Dec. 5th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Of course! More than okay! I've seen you around the ol' LJ, and everyone says nice things about you, too. :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Maria Jr.

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