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Community Cookbooks Spark Creativity, Preserve Traditions

Community cookbooks prepared by members

“How did your cookbook collection start?” asks home cook Kathy Sterling in her Just A Pinch online discussion group, Cookbook Collectors Corner. “Perhaps someone gave you a gift and it started your romance with cookbooks, or you inherited your family favorite cookbooks.” Indeed, Kathy’s passion for cookbooks is shared by MANY of us here at the Club. There is just something so very special about sitting down and turning the pages of a recipe collection – one by one. Equal parts relaxation and exhilaration.

“I read a cookbook like most people read a novel,” continues Kathy, a Blue Ribbon cook from Cypress, TX. “When I get a new one, it is by my bedside while I devour its contents. I didn’t realize I had a cookbook collection until I started putting them together in one place! I had a few in the kitchen, some on a bookshelf in the den, some in a closet then low and behold they began to grow.”

I couldn’t agree more! My own love of cookbooks started with a stack of worn church cookbooks. My mom kept them stored in a drawer in our kitchen, and I’d pull them out to look at the pictures and read all the notes my mom had added. Each of the ladies featured in those books seemed so regal and important! I knew some of them as friends of my mom, but the others I got to use my imagination on! Simply put, the recipes from those cookbooks are among the best food I’ve ever eaten.

The Crew and I were tickled pink recently when we got to roll out our tribute to this tradition of community cooking: Custom Cookbooks! This is a new feature to our home here online. Compilation cookbooks of your favorite recipes – shared by cooks from all corners – are now a snap to create. We love organizing our recipes online, but we also never tire of flipping through a bound cookbook and wondering about the cooks and their stories.

Cookbook fan Kathy says it well; “I look [for] cookbooks with stories, regional books with pictures of the area it came from and family cookbooks with photos of gatherings.” In fact, Kathy herself has her Blue Ribbon recipe for Tiny Pecan Pies featured in a Just A Pinch cookbook compiled by home cook Gail Welch of Carthage, TX! The cookbook, entitled “True Confections“, is a delightful homage to Gail’s family… and her obvious sweet tooth! “[This book is] dedicated to those who like things a little sweeter,” writes Gail. With an absolutely charming family photo on the cover and pages chock full of time-tested recipes, Gail’s book is truly an irresistible treat in itself.

Please join us in this celebration of community cooking – a tradition worth preserving.