By Nikki Pelezo / Dirt Roads
Cookbook collectors are a strange bunch of people. For some unknown reason, when we are at a flea market or a garage sale, we can reach into a box full of torrid romance novels and come out with a cookbook. I don’t know how this happens, but it is either a blessing or a curse. My husband thinks it’s a curse because I must have over 500 cookbooks. I think it’s a blessing because I’m almost the owner of 1,000 cookbooks.
I read them from cover to cover, dog-ear the really good recipes, put them up on a shelf in my utility room and hardly ever look at them again. If I were to start right this minute and prepare every recipe I’ve dog-eared over the years, it would take me about 50 years. I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
What is really strange is how did some of these wonderful cookbooks end up in a utility room in Northeast Texas? One explanation, my husband and I travel a good deal and another is other people travel a good deal and have garage sales or donate to their church thrift stores. Sometimes when a group compiles a cookbook they fail to give credit to their hometown. So cookbook collectors end up with hundreds of orphans.
Where could the home of “Valley Vignettes” be? “Bubba’s Gut Busters” doesn’t have a home. “Cuisine Ala Nordstrom” maybe Seattle? “Deseret Recipes” maybe Utah? How about the “Sandy Frastad Auxiliary”, where is home? “Taxico Women’s Club”, the “Lakeside Upper & Middle School Parents Club”, the “Aunt Judy’s Delectables”, the “Engineering Corp’s Fillers“, the “Queenie’s Quickies”, the “Redneck Belly Crammers” and the “Putz Family Recipes”? The Methodist-Baptist-Mennonite-Episcopal-Catholic-Mormon, etc. cookbooks are wonderful, but some haven’t any mention of a hometown. There must be thousands United Methodist Churches in America but only one United Methodist Church in Gilmer, Texas. Be special, name that town.
Cookbooks have feelings and hometown pride just like everything else. Groups need to remember this and let us crazy cookbook collectors in on their secret towns.
So, if your church or club is in the process of compiling a cookbook, be sure to include your hometown. There is nothing worse than being asked where did you get this recipe, and not having any idea other than “I don’t know where it originated but I got the recipe out of the “Greasy Church Gals” cookbook in Coffeeville, Texas at an estate sale of an old widow whose third husband was a man who worked for a traveling circus.”