Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On my bookshelf

It is no secret that I love books. I have a house full of them. Every room has shelves overflowing with collections of nature essays, travel guides, bird identification guides, photographic studies of trains, kids books, science fiction and fantasy (I never said I wasn't a geek!), and of course cookbooks.

Everything is organized by category and in the case of large collections (like sci-fi & fantasy) it is alphabetized. Cookbooks are arranged by subject: light fare, international, baking, down-home, and the "go-to" books for general cooking like
Joy of Cooking. I have three copies of the Joy of Cooking. Jim has his old copy 1974© stuffed full of recipes, I have my old copy 1974© stuffed full of recipes and with plenty of notes written all over it. The new edition is located on the bookshelf closest to the stove where I can grab it in a hurry if I need to looks something up.

Other "go-to" books on my bookshelf:
The Settlement Cookbook. This is the cookbook that my mom always used when she wasn't using Joy. The cover of my edition has a picture of a heart with pairs of young women in long skirts, aprons and chef's hats reading cookbooks, walking into the heart. The cover reads: The way to a man's heart The Settlement Cook Book. I inherited my copy from my Grandma Edith. I get misty eyed looking at the recipes for Ragalach a la "Hennie" and Taglach a la "Hennie" written in her distinctive penmanship on green pages of the inside front cover. Settlement was originally published at the dawn of the 20th century in Milwaukee. It was intended as a tool to help new immigrant women learn how to cook like an American. But the cookbook didn't limit the recipes to things like ambrosia salad or fried chicken. It included recipes from the European immigrant community of Milwaukee, many of whom were Jewish. Mrs. Kander, the head of the original editor saw fit to include recipes for Challah, gefilte fish, and jellied veal loaf (sulz.) There are etiquette lessons, guides for feeding invalids (sic.), recipes for diets low in sugar, starch, or free of wheat, eggs, or milk. Amazingly enlightened for my 1945© edition. I also have revised edition from 1991. I used both of them frequently.

The bookshelf with the fastest growing collection are my cheese books. I've been seeking out plenty of reference books as I've been learning all about cheese. My favorites are the guide books to cheese are by Max McCalman's Cheese, Steven Jenkins' Cheese Primer, Laura Werlin's two books, New American Cheese and All American Cheese and Wine Book. For a how to make cheese at home I love Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making. My favorite text book on the science of cheesemaking is by Paul Kindstedt's American Farmstead Cheese. It is the most critical book on my shelf. It answers the questions that I have about why milk reacts the way it does under specific conditions. Very useful.

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