My Aunt Karen had a cookbook problem. I wasn’t aware of it until it was too late. If I had to guess she is sitting up there with my grandmother right now and her eyes just got real big and she isn’t too happy that I’m telling people about this but I think if I share this maybe others will be helped. (Now, I bet she’s laughing and saying something like, “I’ll tell you about a cookbook problem , Missy!”)
As mentioned prior to this we lost my Aunt Karen suddenly this year without any warning- none, zero. I refer to it as the “Big Crappy of 2017”. I have hesitated to write much about her or that time and still not sure I can but what I can write about is one of her greatest gifts and something we often talked about- cooking and planning what we were going to cook. Many, many of our conversations often turned into what we were cooking or what we were going to cook for this event or that dinner. What would be simple calls to check in were often around “dinner cooking time”. It always turned into recipe swapping and oooing and ahing over what the other one was up to in the kitchen. Actually, one of the last conversations I had with her in the weeks leading up to the Big Crappy she said we should get together one day and cook. How much fun we would have we said and promised to pick out a day soon. Well, as you might imagine, that never happened.
When my cousins started to clean out her house and go through everything, they asked us to come by and pick out whatever we wanted. Wanting more than anything just to be in her house and feel close to her I wasn’t really sure what I would walk away with if anything. I headed to the kitchen where my cousin pointed out a cookbook collection that would make William and Sonoma blush. They were EVERYWHERE. I had no idea the extent of this collection/problem. Come to find out, Karen bought a cookbook every time she went ANYWHERE. She read cookbooks like I read People magazine- I have never seen anything like it- and I LOVE cookbooks myself! I picked out a small sampling of the most worn and loved ones, encrusted with food that I knew had been poured over and given the full Karen Long test of worthiness.
(Ok, I confess I picked up the third from left on top row for the title. Sue me- I do judge a cookbook by its cover.)
Perinnials is one my mom also has and the back is missing so I know it’s good. Cook and Love It is one that is in most of my family members’ kitchens- if you live in the south you should own it. The GWA cookbook is one that was done when I was a student and my cousin, Laura, did all of the art work. Also, a must own with delicious goods but I think out of print.
(*Fun side note- just when my cousin thought he’d pulled them all out he looked up on a high shelf in her pantry and found about 20 more. Insert emoji of gal with hand on her head.
(Oh fun- I didn’t know I could actually do that here!)
Any who, I really hate that we didn’t get to cook together like we talked about. I hate that a few months ago there was a recipe for coconut cake on the Facebook reminded me that my grandmother made a really good coconut cake at Christmas every year and when I went to call Karen for recipe…well, you can figure out the rest. I really, really hate that on the Friday night before this all started I was supposed to go by and help her with her remote control so she’d be ready to watch the UGA game and I forgot. I’m glad she called me that same night excited because she had figured out the problem and fixed it all by herself.
Last Sunday I channeled my “inner Karen” and cooked for about 5 hours straight getting food together for my sister’s and sister in law’s freezers- who have BRAND NEW BABIES who she would have adored! (God bless it!)
I’m thinking in my next life if the author thing doesn’t work out, I’ll open a catering company and call it Lilla & Hyde. Thoughts??
So, to land this plane, my Aunt Karen DID in fact have a cookbook problem, but confession time…so do I.
(And this was after getting rid of several. #canthavetoomany)