Cookbook Recs

The Cookbooks of Our Lives

Things get a little geeky in Style Editor Laura Cassidy’s cookbook collection.

By Laura Cassidy January 26, 2010

Not everybody cooks, but everybody has a cookbook: The one you hid from your mom so she wouldn’t make that dreaded carrotloaf for supper, the one your first live-in girlfriend bought you—then took back when she bailed on you for that douchey guy at her office.
In this series, Seattle Met staff share the cookbooks that have shaped their lives. Last week Arts Editor Laura Dannen talked about Betty Crocker basics. This time, Laura Cassidy, Seattle Met Style Editor and overseer of all things wedding, breaks down her cookbook shelf and shares some rare finds.

My cookbooks can be classified into three groups:

1.Reference This group includes Alice Waters’ vegetable bible, an old, old paperback copy of James Beard’s fish preparation methods, Traunfeld’s herb recommendations, etc.

2. Inspirational I’ll probably never make anything from that 1978 Judie Geise book The Northwest Kitchen, but I love it as a historical artifact of our city’s food culture, and when I’m bored with my usual repertoire, instructions for Dandelion Salad Mimosa — not to mention George Tsutakawa’s accompanying sumi drawings — always lead to something delicious.

3. Healthy We sometimes call the house cuisine Pottery Teacher’s Potluck. To many that will sound boring and bland, but I love rich, flavorful, seasonal meals that I don’t have to feel guilty about. This section is by far my favorite and it gets pretty geeky — texts on the energetic properties of food from a Chinese medicine perspective (Paul Pitchford’s bible is indispensable) mix with the Moosewood collection and other 80s-era world/veggie/macro-biotic/Diet-for-a-Small-Planet type stuff. Then again, if I’m past deadline or late for a meeting, it could be because I fell into a hole at Tastespotting or some online compendium of Mark Bittman salads, and I can’t get out …

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