I have a restrained love of cookbooks. I want to buy a cookbook every time I see one (well almost every time…you can keep your paleo cookbooks). I have notions of grandeur that I could make these delicious meals pictured and printed on those glossy pages. I’d be the “cooking” friend. My husband and family would flock to me for food because I made these amazing dishes.
But I know better. I am a recovering-picky eater. I look at recipes and see mushrooms, olives, red onions, etc. I go “nope, not eating that” and thus, not making that dish either. I’m also lazy. If a dish has more than 10 ingredients (unless we are talking spices, and spices that I have on hand or know I will use again), I won’t make it. If it calls for more than 2 or 3 pans, not gonna make it. So I restrain myself buying cookbooks, because I just plain know better.
I do, however, have two staple cookbooks in my repertoire. Bell’s Best and Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Any southern lady worth her salt has these in her library.
I grew up looking through my mom’s battered and stained copy of Bell’s Best. I’m pretty sure we only ever made cookies out of it, but I could be wrong (Mom, leave a comment about what you used your Bell’s Best for, please). I used to make the best, in my opinion, sugar tea cakes from this book. I now have my own copy and I’m still trying to figure out which tea cake recipe it was that I used.
I bought this book not long after Mr. LL and I got married. This was another one that my mom had and I knew I needed it. My mom used more recipes from this book (though I couldn’t tell you what, my mind just isn’t there this morning), but I remember it being out just as much as, if not more than, the Bell’s Best. The version I have is not the same as my mom’s copy, but I love how everything is broken up and all the helpful tips it provides (P.S. don’t let the cover fool you, it’s more than just edible gifts…they just have a special section in this copy for those). I have bookmarked many pages in my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, but I haven’t actually made any of it yet. Someday.