I love to cook. But, even more, I love to eat! And because of that I will never again fit into my size 4 Jordache Jeans from 1980 something or other. I also love cookbooks. I love to buy them, receive them as gifts, give them as gifts, and sit and just pour over the delicious recipes and the beautiful colored glossy photos. I DON’T like cookbooks that don’t contain pictures. They are boring and depressing. Plus, simply reading a recipe versus visualizing what the result should look like is just lack lustre. Also, it doesn’t give you anything to compare what you made to what the perfect cook behind the photo made, giving you the chance to feel like a failure when your dish doesn’t look anything like the one featured.
Even bigger than any of those reasons, it’s really hard to know if a recipe is enticing enough to slave over and serve when you only have a list of ingredients to go by. Albeit, there are times when just reading a list of ingredients can tell you that dish will be delicious, and make you drool. Like Cinnamon Rolls. You don’t need a photo to know that reading a list of ingredients that includes cinnamon and butter will be scrumptious…and fattening. But, what about a recipe like my sisters fantastic Tuna Mousse. I love the stuff and could eat copious amounts of it (and I do). But if I had never had it before and only read the list of ingredients, without even an accompanying photo to do the recipe justice, I would have never made it. The list of ingredients does not sound like it will produce a delicious ending. Worcestershire sauce, tomato soup, tuna fish!?! These are not ingredients you would normally put together and expect to have success with are they? Not to me, especially since I absolutely HATE tomato soup, and this recipe has it as a key ingredient. But as weird as it may sound, it all works together and gives you a delicious spread for crackers, bread, or just huge grotesque amounts out of the container you stored it in from the night before. (Not that you would ever catch me doing such a thing.)
The first cookbook I ever bought was back in the 80’s and I still have it to this day. I really had no interest in cooking anything back then, and since I was a teenager and still living at home with my parents – who did all the cooking – I don’t really know why I even bought the book to begin with. Maybe I knew that later in life I would be so bored with cooking for my family that I would use that book as my inspiration to get off my butt and make something different. I took the book home and my parents had the best time reading it. My parents enjoyed the book so much that my father went out and bought a copy for my brothers and sister. It wasn’t a book filled with fantastic out of this world recipes or gorgeous full color photographs. It did have photos, and it did have some very appealing recipes. Most of them were things I had grown up eating anyway and some were a different variation on things I grew up eating. What made it such a fantastic book was the stories it contained. Growing up in an Italian/Catholic home (my mother is the Italian and my father the German. But since we ate pasta and tomato sauce a lot, and my father never made us bratwurst and sauerkraut, I can only speak about growing up in an Italian home)it was exciting to see a book that contained not only familiar food, but a familiar face with funny stories about their own Italian/Catholic heritage that we could find the humor in. Truth be told, I think many people, of any heritage and faith, bought that cookbook and enjoyed the stories it contained, along with the recipes that accompanied them.
It remains one of my favorites and I still pull it out and read it from time to time. It went out of print awhile back and I had loaned out my copy years ago and never had it returned. Thankfully, my sister had an extra copy she had bought years earlier and in a very sisterly fashion, she gave me that extra copy! Thanks Debbie! This is why I can truthfully say you are my favorite sister. Okay. She’s my only sister, so I can say that without hurting feelings to my other non-sister siblings.
Oh, the book. I got sidetracked. Dom DeLuise wrote a cookbook in the early 80’s called, “Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better.” You may have it yourself, or now you may just want to rush out and buy it for yourself. If you do, you are in luck since it is now back in print.
Before each recipe, Dom adds an amusing story from his childhood, which was what made me fall in love with the book from the beginning.
So it is with the help of this book, and this blog, that I hope to use as the inspiration I need to get more creative with cooking for my family. Maybe if I follow in Dom’s footsteps and share the embarrassing and stupid things I do daily in story format, I’ll become inspired to cook something different for my picky eating family. It’s worth a shot. And since I am now “Bored Cook-less”, it might be what I need to get myself motivated to try something completely different, and stop using the same old standbys.