Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cookbooks and memories

Today I got offered a job! It's so nice to know, and not have to do job searching anymore, it has been a big pain. Last night I had a girl's night at my place with a few friends, and it was great! We just sat around and chatted, helped with some wine, but it was so nice to talk with women again. So much understanding that guys just don't get. Like the joy of a "good cry", and how cathartic it can be. In fact, a few friends are joining me tonight to watch The Notebook, as they assure me that it's too sad to watch alone :)

Ate the last of my Mexican wedding cookies that I make a few days ago (or Russian teacakes, if you prefer). Got the recipe form a great old Betty Crocker cookbook. When I was growing up, I learned to cook at my mom's side, along with her trusty Betty Crocker and it's white vinyl cover. So many memories are associated with that great cookbook. I still remember each recipe that I made, especially the times when I tried to make dinner for everyone in the family. It still amazes me how easy going my mom was with me cooking, especially as it could be quite dangerous. In fact, most of the injuries I've had since being a kid have been cooking related. I have nicked, zested and burned my fingers and arms more time than I can count, not to mention just tearing up constantly around onions, and cutting chile peppers and rubbing my eyes like an idiot.

Guess I've always had a fascination with food and color and texture. For a long time I poured my creativity into writing, and then oil painting, but now it's mostly cooking and baking. Of course, it's hard to really paint when you have to worry about a rental deposit, and I do so much technical writing that it's not as much fun anymore. Of course, this blog has been pretty nifty so far, mainly just because it's fun to post memories, thoughts, and feelings somewhere. And I know my friends and family are getting tired of hearing about my obsessions ;)

Anyway, back to the cookbook. So my mom had this great cookbook with so many memories tied to it, and I really wanted a copy. Turns out, they're kinda rare and go for a lot of money on eBay all the time, even without the special white cover (it's usually a red pie cover, even though the cookbook's exactly the same). Being a sweetie, my mom offered me hers, even though she still uses it all the time. After some watching on eBay (and sniping, it felt so wrong!), I finally found it. Well, technically the 11th ed. instead of the 10th ed., but basically the same, especially down to the white vinyl camper. Such a flood of memories, holding that cookbook in my hands, and weird to realize that when I cooked with it as a child, my hands could barely hold it, the book was so large. I have this great picture of me on my fridge of when I was 2 years old, taking hot cookies off a baking sheet with a spatula and potholder. I hope the cookies turned out well :)

Now, I have my own favorite cookbook that I pick up whenever I have a general question ("How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman, a fantastic book to learn all about food itself, as well as cooking). In fact, now I have lots of cookbooks with different themes and styles, like all my New Mexico cookbooks (best food ever!), my Indian cookbook, plus all the baking and Alton Brown (best at explaining science behind cooking, really the why to everything). But somehow, the white Betty Crocker will always have a special place in my heart, and I'll probably use it often enough to leave pages spotted with food and notations in the margin. One day far in the future, I'll have my children at my side, learning to cook just as I did from Betty Crocker plus the other cookbooks on my shelf. Seems silly, but I love the thought of passing on my love for cooking from my mom to me and to my children in the same way.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Spent the day cleaning the house in prep for a long awaited girl's night tomorrow with friends. With my hubby gone for a few days, it will be nice to have the place to myself. But actually, it's already feeling a bit empty and lonely, generating random crying at movies already. Decided to make chicken parm tonight, and it turned out pretty well. Guess it's a dish hard to mess up, just like salad :) However, I saw a really interesting stuntwoman documentary tonight on PBS. I kind of take for granted all the stunts done on TV and movies, and it's easy to forget that these real people can be really injured. Tonight I have a rare bout of insomnia, even though I'm dead tired, I just can't get to sleep. I should hopefully hear about the job I interviewed for soon. I really hope I get it, as not knowing where I'll be over the next few months is very nerve-wracking. Anyway, lots of usual rambling from me in this post, as will be common in the future ;). Guess I'll try getting to sleep again, maybe read a few boring books to help me along.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Thought I'd try this blog thing that's been all the rage with my buddies. A friend of mine just went to Europe for post-doc job stuff, and it's been a blast living vicariously through him by virtue of the blog. Mostly though, I'm just hoping for a tiny piece of the internet to share my love of all things cooking with anyone who cares. I get the feeling most of my friends are worn out listening to all my discussions of food, although they seem to like the food itself pretty well :) Speaking of, I've been baking for anyone of my group that gets a job offer, which has been quite a bit of people lately. The most recent baked good I tried was Mexican wedding cookies. Very yummy, and kind of hard to part with. Luckily, I made two batches, so my husband and I can devour a batch all on our own. Which reminds me, some baking is due for my Europe friend with a current total of 3 job offers now. Hmm, that means 3 new things to try :)