Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In my day, TV was called books....

Princess Bride fans will catch that approximate quote. Here at the house that Comcast forgot, we are still living the simple life without tv, phone or Internet. Something that I've immediately noticed is my reliance on the Internet for everything, including my recipes. Over the years, I've collected tons of cookbooks - three from Ina Garten, a couple from Martha, new ones about cupcakes (of course) and tapas, celeb chefs like Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and Todd English have a spot on the shelf (though why, I don't know because I hardly use these books). I have a couple of "Lost Recipes" books, which have recipes that are anything but lost - you can't toss a WWII recipe card without hitting a version of mayonnaise cake or monkey bread.

Ok, so my point is that I have a lot of recipe books. But when it comes down to cooking, I tend to head to the Web and let my fingers do the walking. That's all fine and dandy until you are cut off from the streaming network and you must rely on yourself - and your library of friends. And so, I've been perusing my stacks, in between unpacking boxes, and discovering why I liked these books in the first place.

Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken really is wonderful and that banana cake recipe from Confetti Cakes that I've been wanting to try does make some tasty cupcakes. Martha Fosse's technique from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea really does make an easy to peel hard boiled egg and her egg salad recipe was pretty swell too. That UK book of Jams and Preserves had a great recipe for lemon and orange marmalade that simmered while I hung pictures and smashed cardboard.

And cooking hasn't been the only reading material I've checked out (Oh, for a close library...). My compendium of Homemade products provided a recipe for bathroom cleanser (we had none with us) and it did a good enough job that I just might switch. I've almost finished The Other Boleyn Girl (I'm a sucker for Elizabethan fiction) and I've cracked into Zen and the Art of Homemaking (yeah, I do read about homemaking, for fun).

Twice now, I've walked into NR's room and caught him reading - unprompted - from his own library. Of course, as soon as I notice it, he's done so I keep my thoughts to myself on this.

So does this mean that I'm calling Comcast and cancelling the TV service? Ummm, no. But it is nice to find some fun on our own shelves and to remember why we collected those books in the first place. I used to be such an avid reader but in the last few years, that has ebbed. Now I know what I've been missing.


Only Mostly Dead said...

(husband here) I'd like to note that if you'd asked me if there was a library nearby, I would have told you there's one down the street. But I have to see the question on your blog. Hmph! HMPH, I say!

Lorraine said...

Yesterday The Child and I sat in the back garden and read for an hour. It was awesome. I know what you mean...I used to polish off 4-6 books a month but in these last few years it's more like 4-6 a year. There's something very not right about that.

Wish I could help you hang pictures and smash cardboard. But that's probably just so I can snag some cake and marmelade during breaks.

Julie Todd said...

We read nonstop, recipe books too, so I decided, "Hey, no need to get cable or satellite when we move." That lasted about a week. We were in a major home-improvement store to fix the shower in the new house when a satellite TV guy approached us.
Husband gives me puppy dog eyes.
Me: You have four boxes of books you admit you've never read.
Him: * more puppy dog eyes *
Me (to satellite guy): Sign us up.
Now, we peruse recipe books while watching "Good Eats," which makes me feel slightly queasy. I'm not sure if it's because I'm cheating on the books with TV or because I'm cheating on Alton with another cook.