As you may recall from one of my earlier posts, I have a semi-problematic cookbook addiction. Rather than accept responsibility for my problem, I am going to shift the blame onto someone else: my brother.
Several birthdays ago (as in, ahem, approximately 23 birthdays ago), my brother bought me my very first cookbook, KidsCooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual, published by Klutz Press.
The book came with a set of four measuring spoons — tablespoon, teaspoon, half teaspoon, and quarter teaspoon — each one a different color to correspond with a different measurement, and the instructions featured goofy cartoon animals and spoke directly to the kids who would be cooking from it.
Needless to say, I loved this gift. Who couldn’t love a gift with recipes like this?
And characters like this?
It was, shall we say, my gateway cookbook. With it began my
unhealthy habit of buying way too many cookbooks enthusiastic support of the cookbook industry.
Some of the recipes were aimed at children’s palates specifically (see: “Non-Yukky Vegetables” and “Home-Baked Fish Sticks”), but others could appeal to kids of all ages. To this day, Deb Dana’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies stem from this cookbook, with only minor variations. (Seriously. Those cookies are delicious.) And what adult doesn’t enjoy a good old “Egg in a Frame?”
I have lived in four different cities since my brother bought me this cookbook and have accumulated numerous other tomes, from famed chefs and bakers alike. At this point, I have essentially memorized any recipes I still make from KidsCooking. And yet that folksy little cookbook, with its spiral binding and card stock pages, is probably the most meaningful cookbook on my entire bookshelf, and I can’t ever see myself letting it go.
What about you? What was your first cookbook? Do you still have it?