The food challenge continues

cookbook shelf 1

Cookbook shelf 1 (Photo credit: chotda)

Recipes (Photo credit: pirate johnny)

I read about a woman who compiled a cookbook based on her lifetime collection of recipes, and began sorting through the collection of recipes I have assembled over the years. However, mostly my recipes are for desserts and most of the desserts are cakes and cookies.  Yes, I have a sweet tooth and two dozen recipes for sugar cookies.  But having a sweet tooth is not what made me fat.  Having friends who could cook (or wives of friends)  led me down the slippery slope.  I am a victim of Christmas hall parties and showers. 

Several of my recipes come from my life long friend Sherry who loved to cook.  She also loves cats.  Her cats loved to climb on the kitchen counter and monitor her while she was cooking.  I loved to watch her cook, even if it meant consuming the odd cat hair.  (She probably won’t be a friend anymore if she reads this.) 

In addition to Sherry, have collected recipes from the following sources:

1/ Historic homes and churches here in Virginia, such as ginger cake from Strafford Hall (home of Robert E. Lee), ginger cake from Gunston Hall (home of George Mason) where I worked a docent back in the 1970s, ginger cake from Pohick Church where I also worked as a docent. I have about 49 recipes for ginger cake made with real molasses, big at historic Virginia homes dating from the Colonial era;

Gunston Hall
Gunston Hall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2/ office mates, wives of office mates (I attribute at least 20 pounds to office parties);

3/ my kid’s friend’s mothers (everybody raise your hand if you have a recipe book assembled by the PTA or room mothers) I even have a recipe for “play dough;”

4/ Mom and aunts (particularly Marge and Audrey);

5/ Mexican-American dishes (friend Gloria’s Mom showed me how to make tacos from scratch);

6/ Italian-American (Gina showed me how to make lasagna, pizza, and other dishes from scratch),

7/ Portuguese-American (sweet bread and malasadas; my friend Loretta taught me when I lived in Hawaii);

8/ Greek (Baklava and Spanakopita, and other dishes with Feta cheese and phyllo from several friends).

7/ From my MILs:  Southern (Rachel could cook like Paula Dean), German (Mom liked lots of beer, wurst and kraut),  Russian (David knows how to get juice out of a lemon);

8/ The Ex-wife of an Ex-lover sent me a recipe or two for Korean dishes along with his collection of shot glasses (he was a lying, cheating, smoking, drinking Army Colonel but she was very nice).

My recipes tell the story of my life. I became a good cook but it took years and years to develop my eclectic talents. I stopped cooking at different times along the way, and then resumed again when I was inspired by some new happening. 

These days I am working on converting my more caloric recipes into less fattening versions via Weight Watchers software.  


 I spent about an hour this morning installing a rack to hold some of my baking pans.  In June, my granddaughter Amelia is going to help me clean, and rearrange kitchen shelves. Later, I will make arrangements to have the kitchen repainted.

Although I still use my antique Revere Ware pans for making soups, omelets or frittatas, I am a fan of Chicago Metallic bakeware for cookies, cheesecakes and muffins and Emile Henry cookware for roasts and souffles. I have been down-sizing or right sizing my cookware to fit the needs of two (we do not entertain, family occasions take place elsewhere). 

Cooking for one or two people you don’t need family sized pots, pans, and processors.  Chicago Metallic and Emile Henry sell small pans to fit Toaster ovens, although I will still make Cheesecake and perhaps Quiché in the big oven. 

Yesterday, I located a 7-cup Cuisinart food processor (June kitchen budget) which I can use to prepare ingredients for our reduced portion dishes.  

David likes to eat as much as I do, but Doc told him to lose 8 pounds.  He is in a snit about it, but I wish all I had to lose was 8 pounds.  Eight pounds won’t even reduce my ring size. 




12 thoughts on “The food challenge continues

  1. You are so good and so funny. I too have my own collection now saved in four volumes. I still use them sparingly. Cooking light stuff is of greater value than WW’s recipes to me. You can get the points from the list at the bottom of the recipe, and they seem tastier than the WW.

    I collect americanna cookbooks. The best is Beard, but I have most of the Joy’s…try the broiled lemon chicken, through the Milwaukee Setlemennt House Cookbook.My problem is that I discovered chocolate 30 years ago, and that was the end of me.


  2. Two possibilities:

    1) A themed cook book of puddings, sweets, etc.

    2) An autobiography with recipes. They are becoming popular. You could start a separate blog; post a recipe and tell its story. A good way to attract a publisher. But I want credit in the dedication!


  3. That’s quite a co-incidence, I am compiling a post on my collection of cook books and recipes too. Like you, I have a box file full of recipes for puddings and sweets. Since my dairy intolerance started I can’t use them, so they’ll have to go; that’ll be the perfect opportunity to sort through them and chuck out piles of paper. I’m a little chubby but not fat, I like vegetables too much to overeat on greasy foods. I do all my own cooking and convenience foods are rarely seen in our house. Pasta, bread and other starchy foods break this camel’s back, I’ll have to cut back on them to lose the flab.


  4. You have me thinking about the source of all my recipes. I’ve thought for several years I should downsize my cooking items collected gradually through the years. When I recall the acquisition process as I consider parting with items, I find myself thinking, “…but, I might need that…” Perhaps if there were family members nearby who were receiving the items I’d find it easier.


    • David and I attended a seminar on downsizing and the moderator said, “Your children don’t want your stuff.” My daughter lives nearby, but she doesn’t need anymore stuff from me…except perhaps a few of my cookie sheets.


  5. Interesting post. I tend to cook the same things every week. It’s such an effort to sit down and go through new recipes and write down the ingredients on the grocery list. There are days when I am really inspired and then there are days when I feel too lazy to do anything. When the latter happens, I order take-out. Just by being mindful of what I consume, I have managed to lose 4 lbs since Monday. My goal is to lose 50 lbs. in 2 years.


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