Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Collecting

Most people have a collection of some sort.  Some people have a collection but don't realize it or are in denial over it.  Think hoarders.  Those people have collections of collections!  Children oftentimes will start a collection of some sort...seashells, stuffed animals, baseball cards.  Adults have different collections...sports memorabilia, coins, cookbooks.  Yes.  I said cookbooks.  Thing is, I started my cookbook collection when I was a young girl.  I remember the very first cookbook I received.  Sadly, I no longer own it.  I had accompanied my maternal Grandmother one evening to her Arts and Crafts Club meeting.  This is the same Grandma that developed several of her own recipes and entered and won cooking contests.  For whatever reason, at this particular meeting there was a white elephant gift exchange.  I remember that night as if it were just last week.  It was at the home of Janice Jones.  She was in a garden club too if I remember right.  Janice always had beautiful floral arrangements entered at the Richwood Independant Fair.  That evening, for refreshments, Janice served, among other things, Zuchinni Bread.  She had sliced the bread thinly and then spread cream cheese on it and topped it with another slice of bread and cut it on the diagonal. 
Wah-lah...finger sandwiches for the rural set!  I remember thinking it very fancy and couldn't get enough of it.  Grandma let me "win" her white elephant prize and as it so happened, my prize was a blank recipe book.  It could have been a journal for all I knew.  It had a hideously designed orange and black and yellow cloth cover.  Janice was kind enough to offer a then very young girl her very first recipe and filled in the first page with her recipe for Zuchinni Bread.  I made that recipe many times over during the course of my growing up years.  That blank recipe book was the start of something.  It was the trigger that propelled me to collect not only cookbooks, but recipes too.  Ripped from magazines, torn from newspapers, printed from websites and scribbled from a friend over the phone. 

When my Grandma Blue passed away a few short months after I graduated from Ohio State, I inherited something more valuable than real estate or jewelry or money.  I inherited her cookbook collection.  Boxes and boxes of books.  Some in German that I could not even read.  Many with recipes I likely would never care to try out.  But still.  I kept them.  They were hers.  They are now mine.

When no one knows what to get me for a gift, they are safe with getting me a new cookbook.  I eagerly sit down and read a cookbook like some women sit down to devour the latest Danielle Steele novel.

I have no idea how many I own now.  I used to know.  I don't know anymore.  It doesn't matter.  There are a lot; that's all I know.  Some are referred to often.  Some never.  I will continue my collection, I suspect, for many more years to come.  And then, there is a daughter who is welcome to take them over.  When the time comes.

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