As a young bibliophile, receiving the Scholastic book club newsletter was my idea of a great time.
After putting in my order, I’d surreptitiously pass by the secretary’s desk at lunch every day to see if the book club orders had come in. When I caught a glimpse of that brown paper package, it was all I could do to sit in one place until the end of the school day when the teachers would pass out our packages. And when it did, the heavens would part, the trumpets would play, and I’d skip all the way home until I could crack open my first book.
One of my first book orders, at about the age of 10, included the “Boys and Girls Cookbook: A colorful step-by-step guide to preparing cookies, cakes, sweets and desserts.” The pages to three recipes are still folded in: Crepes, butterfly cupcakes, and peanut butter cookies.
I never got around to making the cupcakes, but the crepes and Apple Brown Betty were a big hit. It was from this book that I first learned the importance of trial and error and that – for the most part – you must have the utmost precision when baking.
Since then, I’ve amassed a large cookbook collection of about more than 60 books, and another 20 literary titles of food essays or food writing – and of course a recipe book that’s bursting at the seams from the pages I’ve ripped from magazines in waiting rooms. (Guilty as charged).
While I haven’t touched my first cookbook for years, I have a soft spot and I’m loathe to ever give it away.