Recipes and Cookbooks in a Pinterest World

Better Homes and Gardens NEW COOK BOOK , 1989 editionFor the past few years, I’ve been going to Pinterest more and more for recipes. On Pinterest there’s an endless variety of choices, instant access to reviews, and of course that bottomless rabbit hole of internet clicks. A search for a quick supper recipe quickly unravels into a hunt for table setting ideas, crafts, and other nonsense. Basically, what should be a five minute search for something to eat becomes a thirty minute internet time-suck.

So lately, I’ve been craving the comfort of my own cookbooks. First of all, curling up with the iPad and falling into a net of random blogs and untested recipes is not the same as paging through an old cookbook of tested, tried and true recipes. I love sticking page flags on the top contenders and building a meal from several cookbooks. 
And–more importantly here for me–constant searching and making Pinterest recipes doesn’t leave a paper trail.

My mom has a metal box packed with delicious recipes that we’ve eaten through the years. It’s like a little family time capsule of yellowed 3-by-5 cards in her own handwriting, my great-grandmother’s handwriting, my grandma’s handwriting, my aunts’ handwritings… It’s so fun to poke through the box and see who brought each recipe into our mix of regular meals and family gatherings. She also has her Better Homes & Gardens cookbook from the 70s that is so well-used, the pages are falling out of it. 

My own recipe box consists of a handful of recipes in my college handwriting and has pretty much been untouched since then. My own cooking history lies in my Pinterest pins and my internet search history. If I don’t change things now, when I’m old, I won’t have that paper trail of my own recipes. I won’t have creased and yellowed cards in my mom’s handwriting. I won’t have little handwritten notes about what worked and what didn’t when I tried a new cookbook recipe. I won’t have stained and wrinkled cookbook pages, tangible evidence of a well-loved meal.

I’m trying to break the Pinterest habit and rely more on my cookbooks and recipe box for meals and desserts. (I mean, why have them if I’m not using them?) And I’m trying to write down some of the favorites I have found online, like Kathy’s grandmother’s cranberries

Naoto and I have a small collection of cookbooks, mostly vintage ones with a few Food Network titles mixed in. (We used to watch tons of Food Network shows together on Saturday and Sunday mornings.) The backbone to our collection is the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. We both brought versions of this cookbook into the marriage. Naoto’s is the 10th Edition (1989, pictured above) and he got it in college when Auntie Judy (his host mother in Hawaii) took him to Waldenbooks and bought it for him. Mine is the 11th Edition (1996) and I, too, got mine in college, as a Christmas gift from my parents. We are emotionally attached to our respective cookbooks so we’ve kept both of them. Plus, even though the editions are only a few years apart, mine has some newer recipes and even the old standards have slight changes to them. We have favorites in each edition. My mom is bringing her edition to Thanksgiving so I can see if we are missing out on some good 1970s standards. I will report back. 

In the meantime, I’m cracking open the cookbooks to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. And cleaning…

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5 thoughts on “Recipes and Cookbooks in a Pinterest World

  1. cath says:

    The image of the metal recipebox full of well used handwritten cards touches my heart.
    As does this post. You write beautifully about the value of traditions and how to create your own.

  2. naoto says:

    What a way to honor that good ol’ cookbook and that good old time shopping in the mall with Auntie Judy! Thanks

  3. Amanda says:

    Yes yes yes! I love a good paper trail. My whole life, my mom would write notes in her cookbooks, so I’ve always done that, too. I also do the flagging of potential recipe contenders before narrowing it down. And I have my own recipe box in which I put both family recipes and internet recipes that I tried and would like to make again. I really like pulling out a recipe card rather than pulling up a website.

  4. Cindy R. says:

    Yes! I love this. I have my grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook from when she was first married and the modern version I bought her in 2011. I love all of the tips and ideas for hosting dinner parties the vintage edition has, but I’m definitely more comfortable with the “newer” food recipes (especially since we don’t use lard as liberally as they used to).

  5. Karen says:

    I have that same cookbook! It can’t be beat for tried and true recipies and cooking tips. No matter how much time I spend on Pinterest and other websites, I always seem to go back to a cook book or a stained and handwriten recipe card for ideas… Especially around the holidays!
    Thank you for this wonderful post! It has inspired me to do all of my holiday cooking and baking from my own recipe chives this year:-).

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