Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I bought another cookbook...

If you ever wanted to know,
the 'Edmonds Cook Book'
is one of New Zealand's
iconic recipe collections.
My mother-in-law buys books on interior design. You know the ones - they show you how simple and effective it is to put together a collection of wooden spoons in an old glass jam jar, or a pile of interesting shells in a pretty white bowl... she has lots of those books. All about creating a calm, inviting, relaxing space. And she can do that 'collection of interesting things' really nicely. I can't. I just have piles of junk, books and papers everywhere and anywhere.

I like looking at her design books - but honestly, both my husband and I have a 'maximalist' approach to design rather than chic minimalism.

So in terms of lifestyle books, my weakness is cookbooks. I had to discover my inner kitchen diva quite early when I became vegetarian in my teens and wanted to cook my own meals. My first was success was pasta. A wonderful dancer from big-city Sydney told me to "put it in a pot and boil it, darling" - it was a revelation! And from such embarrassingly simple beginnings, a passion was born.

Not to mention a collection. Baking books, breakfast, dessert books, soup books, tomato books, vegetarian books... When I was traveling in my twenties, my souvenir of choice was a  recipe book of national cuisine for each country we visited - no matter if it wasn't vegetarian. it was finding one in English that was the trouble! But oh SO worth it! Traveling, for me anyway, is so much about the food! And having my collection now takes me back to those places and the fun we had there...

Of course, four kids later and there's not so much overseas travel happening at the moment. So for a while my collection hasn't grown. But a diet tweak a few months ago revived my needs and I'm back in the game!

My ideal cook book would be hard cover, with a colour picture for each recipe, easy to read font and with cute but insightful commentary for each recipe... because sometimes there's nothing more relaxing for me than to sit in bed late at night when I'm tired, just flicking through yummy recipes and feeling like I'm having an informal lesson with some funky, super-talented chef...

... My husband doesn't get it. He just cannot see how 'reading recipe books' can be fun... but cookbooks are like children's picture books for me - pretty to look at, with lots of useful, entertaining stuff as well.

So what about you?! What would be your relaxing picture book of choice - would it be interior design, gardening, cookery or what?!?

Natalie Anderson adores a happy ending, which is why she always reads the back of a book first - just to be sure. Along with happy endings, she loves peppermint filled dark chocolate, pineapple juice and extremely long showers. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her gorgeous husband and four fabulous children.
If, like her, you love a happy ending, be sure to come and say hi on www.facebook/authornataliea and on Twitter @authornataliea, or her website/


Rachael Johns said...

I'm totally with you on the recipe books Nat - I LOVE big fat, picture ones. My favourite is Nigella Lawson's 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess.' Some naughty recipes in there :)

marybelle said...

Art: I love looking through paintings. The 'Old Masters' in particular. Absolutely beautiful.

Brigitte said...

I completely agree with you on the cook book subject. I have a whole range of them in different languages. I love to bake, so I have quite a collection in that department. But reading them for relaxation? I don't know... I'd probably would want to get to my oven at odd hours!

For relaxation I love to read gardening books/magazines. I love to see pages and pages of lovely tended gardens and flowers in a riot of colours. I can picture myself sitting in one of those deck chairs, soaking up the sun, idly flicking through the pages of my book and being lulled by the hum of inscts and bird song.

Yawn! :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Rachael! Oh yes, Nigella's fit the bill with the hardback and bug full colour pictures... a joy to leaf through!!!

Natalie Anderson said...

Marybelle - ART!!!! Now why haven't I thought of that?! What a good idea! I have a lot of old slides from a trip away but my ancient slide projector died so I haven't looked at them in years... and I do have an app on my iPhone - but the screen is a little small... I'm going to have to find a good book or dozen ;)

Natalie Anderson said...

Oh Brigitte - I can understand the gardening book pleasure - my problem is that I look at those beautifully tended masterpieces in the books and just think 'how much work would that be'?! At least with cooking I have some kind of chance of achieving it... of course, in my imagination I *could* always hire a young gardener or twenty... that would really be something to look at!!! ;)

Jo's Daughter said...

Recipe books are kinda like romance novels with yummy pictures to me. A simple "setting" can make you feel romantic, excited, happy & makes you dream of the people you love :D

Laurie G said...

Beautiful National Parks!!

I do have a weakness for cookbooks too. I always want to try new things but then there are too many delicious sounding things to choose from!