Flowers, stormy weather, and cookbook ponderings

Bouquet of flowers (x2)

My family got my lots of beautiful flowers for my recital! And now they are gracing my home. Nothing like fresh flowers to brighten up a room – and April always has the PRETTIEST, happiest flowers! Look at those colors!


At the reception my mom had tons of vases of gerberas and spider chrysanthemums. Two of my favorite flowers!

This morning I woke up to a VERY dark house and bedroom. There are bad storms all around and some tornado watches and warnings to boot. Great. April showers, not kidding.

Angry 9 am sky

My parents got me and Tim a weather radio for Christmas. Well, it’s been really great and really annoying! A couple of times it truly has potentially saved our lives. One night there was a tornado nearby and the radio kept us VERY updated… loudly… at 3 AM. It forced us to wake up and be alert, which is definitely a good thing. And this morning at 7:15, the radio let me know there was a tornado watch. And also at 7:30. And about every 7 to 15 minute increment every time the warnings changed. Arggg! But I am thankful for it.

I thought I’d start the morning with some cookbook chat. I suppose it has come to some people’s attention that I like to cook as every time I see my mom she has a new charming cookbook for me, and Tim’s mom gave me a great cookbook for Christmas. Check out some of my faves:

Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast

This book is something we used to go straight to for recipes… now I go to it more for ideas of simple recipes. The truth of this book is that it’s not that fast. I get irritated when a recipe states “20 minute prep time” when that means “20 minutes after you have gotten everything out of your fridge and pantry, measured 30 ingredients, found the right bowls, and chopped 16 onions.” So, no offense Martha, because I love ya, but I don’t have a sous chef (well, I have Timothy but he’s not always around). So I tend to look at these recipes as inspiration for something I can simplify.

Barefoot Contessa: How easy is that?

Tim’s mom gave me this book for Christmas and I actually really love it. She has some FASCINATING recipes with the most breathtaking pictures, and the day we got home from Christmas vacation I already had it open and was ready to cook. My only complaint is that it has no breakfast recipes, but I don’t do a lot of breakfast entertaining! The tips are a great addition and her anecdotal writing style is really pleasant.

And now for some entertainment…

Charleston Receipts!

From the Charleston Junior League of 1950...

This book is very dear to me. I was born and raised in North Carolina, but this cookbook is from Charleston, South Carolina. Girls that grew up in the deep south and were exposed to any kind of Southern literature unavoidably daydream about growing up as a daughter of the Junior League or Symphony Guild of Charleston, South Carolina, as their debutante balls are unmatchable! And they still do them, just as crazy expensive and elaborate as they did a hundred years ago.

Anyway, this recipe book is a collection of recipes (“receipts”) from the members of the 1950 Junior League. Some of the recipes are just fabulous, and really entertaining (hominy, sillabub…) and others are appalling (stewed squirrel, hasenpfeffer, opossum). I am loving it. Some of the measurements are interesting (1 dessertspoon of sugar…?) and I’m not entirely sure on the consistency of temperatures from 1950 to extremely accurate temperatures now. Some even say “cook in a moderate oven.” WHAT? I made the popovers and they didn’t come out as  light as I’d hoped. But I’m going to keep on tryin’!

Here’s the latest addition to my collection:

Savannah Style Recipes!

Another Junior League recipe book, this time from Savannah, GA! Mom brought it to me this weekend. I can’t wait to dive in. I had some time to flip through it and a couple of things definitely caught my eye.

Ok so, here’s my thing with cookbooks:

I am a BIG proponent of printed cookbooks. On the flipside, I am also guilty of spending lots of hours flipping through recipes online and bookmarking them, especially healthy recipes from bloggers who are not print-published. There are recipes on my favorite blogs that you would NEVER find in a cookbook. However, the mere charm of a cookbook, of skimming pages, of seeing my grandmother’s markings on the pages of some of the recipes – it is a true experience and much more sensory than staring at a computer screen. Especially these old cookbooks, which have anecdotes from the creators of the recipe – including the nannies and cooks from the 1950s, wrote in dialect – I LOVE IT.

These crack me up

I’m a history lover, I enjoy imagining these recipes in their hayday, being made and enjoyed around an entirely different table than mine, in entirely different clothing, with an entirely different appreciation than ours. I also imagine being a housewife in 1950 and sitting at the dinner table with my mouth shut because my husband is “in charge” and then I become a bit  feminist! See, the journeys of a cookbook!

And now some more Anne Taintor images to get your Monday started…




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