Home Cooking


Do you write in your cookbooks?


Home Cooking 69

Do you write in your cookbooks?

Breadcrumbs | Mar 5, 2011 09:46 AM

An article in today's National Post (Canadian newspaper) caught my eye. It's entitled:
"From The Sidelines" and ponders whether messages and notations in the margins of books will become lost treasures. The author likens those notes to a "message in a bottle"

I always write in my cookbooks. When I'm writing in my cookbooks I'm writing to myself, in the future. . . making note of whether or not we liked the dish. Did I add or change anything? What might I do differently next time?

Inevitably, when I do see my notes at a later date, I'm glad to have them. They make me smile and I'm grateful to have the benefit of a tidbit of wisdom I had in the past that would had been long since forgotten but for this little scribble in the margin.

I also collect cookbooks and recipes. A number of books in my collection have been purchased at auctions, garage/rummage sales and used book stores. While some folks might be deterred from purchasing books with writing in them, I am delighted. I love tucking into these books as if they were a novel, imagining whose hands may have held the book prior and how much they must have cared about cooking or baking to take the time to make the notes that I've discovered, so many years later.

Some notes are scribbled in haste "not enough sauce!!' or, "BLAND!" or "Dad loved this" where others are much more contemplative, perhaps imagining an event in the future where this dish could be served again or, carefully documenting the origin of the dish "Betty's sister Mary got this from Japan when Sid was on leave there". I always appreciate the time they've taken to tell me their stories. The best notes are those written by family or dear friends. I have a very old cookbook that has been in our family for over 50 years. When my Dad passed away, I was delighted to find this book among his things. It's held together with paperclips and rotting elastic bands at this point but, no matter, its his notes I love to read. Expressions of his frustration in making and re-making a dish he loved until he finally got it right. Notes about who he shared something with or, where he sourced an ingredient. I can just hear him saying those things . . .

I've attached the link to the article below:


So what about you, do you write in your cookbooks?

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