OK, I admit it…

I have a confession to make. A confession about an obsession. A compulsion. An addiction….

I am addicted to…COOK BOOKS. Yes, that’s right.  Cook books!

Now, I know I am not alone.  There are many of us out there.  People who can’t help but buy a cook book from the sale table at the book shop.  From the stacked display at Target.  From the books on sale at work or kinder.

I just can’t help it.

I sneak them in. I hide them under my growing collection of craft and sewing books. I have even cooked from some of them! I stick them in with the kids’ books.  I have them upstairs. Downstairs.  In the playroom.  In the study. They’re popping out everywhere.


I have some amazing cook books.  I like to just sit on the couch and read them like a novel.

I have every soup cook book you can imagine.  Every quick meal for the busy person cook book. Every Stephanie Alexander.  Every Jamie Oliver.  Every Maggie Beer.  (I even have The Cook and the Chef DVD’S. And I am sure I will watch them one day.).  I have Japanese, French, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Moroccan. Indian.  Even a traditional family Jewish cook book gifted to me by a Jewish client.

Richard wasn’t too happy when I pointed out my new Weight Watcher’s cook book and all the meals I planned to cook from it.  I must do those meals this week…

I have “Mrs Beaton’s Family Cookery” that was my Grandmother’s.  I am guessing it is from the 1930’s. I love the advertisements in this one. Oh to be a housewife in the 1930’s.


My prized possession is a cook book of my Great Aunt’s, which must be from the 1940s. It is a recipe index book that has hand written recipes and newspaper clippings.  My Great Aunt was a single woman living in England.  She moved there from Australia.  She was engaged to be married, but her fiancé was tragically killed during the war (maybe a result of the war – I don’t know!). She never married.  Sad…She worked in the newsroom of BBC, and was secretary to Basil Dean, an English actor, playwright and producer.  What an interesting life she must have led, especially for a single woman in post war England.  In her recipe journal, there are recipes by Elizabeth David and many newspaper clippings by a woman named Claire Butler. There is even a recipe written on a serviette and tucked into the pages. I wonder where she was when she decided to jot that one down?


I have never cooked from this book. But I love to sit down and carefully go through the pages imagining the dinner parties that this cook book created.  The conversations it started.  And the stories that the collection of recipes tells about her life. The dinner parties.  The cocktails. A whole different world…


I wonder, in many years when I am long gone, what stories my recipe books will tell about me.  Which books are in pristine condition, which recipes have food all over them and pages stuck together, which recipes will be passed down, and what the stories of favourite meals will be.



  1. Karen, don’t encourage her!! Susan, you know that your sister Sally says that she has never seen anyone with so many recipe books and cuttings but doesn’t cook – yes, it’s your mother!!!

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