I have a secret. I love cookbooks. I mean I really really love cookbooks. When I am traveling I like to pick up a cookbook from whatever city/country I am visiting. I have probably 30 cookbooks covering Tex-mex to Amish favorites and everything in between, but if I had to give up every cookbook except one I would save this orange beauty.
I grew up eating meals from this delightfully retro cookbook and I used to love flipping through the pages and imagine making things like petit fours and baked alaska. When I left home my very sweet mother tracked down another copy for me to have in my own kitchen.
After a recent week of unrelenting rain, disappointing dinners, and headaches of the literal and figurative sense, I needed some serious comfort and a little boost to my cooking confidence. I turned to Ms. Betty for inspiration, and she did not let me down.
The first thing I made was a classic apple pie, which was perfection, expect for one small detail…. I ran out of butter so there was no top crust (like I said, it was one of those weeks), but that is not Betty’s fault, and it was still delicious. Next I made curried chicken salad which was fantastic, even if you don’t like curry. But really, who doesn’t like curry?
These small triumphs led to me visiting some of the other lovely ladies on my bookshelf, like Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten. Flipping through those cookbooks made me feel like a capable adult again, instead of the flailing nutcase I was starting to resemble.
It has long amazed me how powerful a good meal can be. After a long day at work I can either grab something easy and shove it in my mouth as I walk through the front door, or I can spend a few extra minutes making a meal. The easy way stops my stomach from growling, but the extra time I put into a proper meal transforms my early evening hours into a time of leisure and enjoyment.
I feel like a beef stroganoff or a pumpkin chiffon pie might show up on my table next, or I might just toss the dice and pick a random page in a random book. Either way it is nice to be back in familiar kitchen territory and those ruined dinners that have been haunting me lately are starting to fade into the backdrop.