When you look at your To-Do list, do you tend to tackle the harder projects first, or the easiest?
I usually like to get the tougher ones out of the way, but honestly? I've been having a hard time getting motivated. I decided to start with an easy one -- sprucing up my bookcase -- to see if that would jump-start my motivational engine.
The bookcase in my kitchen was really bugging me. For 10 years, I pretty much just kept shoving stuff in...
Plus, the book case is practically in my family room, so it's right there for everyone to see.
...displaying some of Junior Goo Shoes' early artistic endeavors...a gigantic conch shell I found on the beach in the Caribbean...a stack of old magazines...and lots of other stuff. It wasn't awful...just sloppy, and unattractive.
It was time to toss, straighten, and style.
I got rid of a bunch of stuff that seemed obsolete, found another spot for the magazines, put Junior Goo Shoe's artwork in a keepsake box, and stowed the giant shell till summer.
I like the pottery, so that stayed. The tin on the bottom shelf was Mr. Goo Shoe's grandmother's. He remembers taking cookies out of it when he was a little boy, so how is that for a tie-in to my baking cookbooks?
I found the black and white "Recipe" tin at Home Goods, and added that to the mix, along with our little "Happiness" Jar.
So, this was not what I'd call a huge makeover, just a little sprucing up. But that turned out to be a bigger deal than I had imagined, because...
Who knew that cleaning out my kitchen bookcase would turn out to be an episode of...
"Ms. Toody's Life in Cookbooks."
Decades of food phases and trends were sitting there on the shelves.
Some of the cookbooks took me way back -- to my childhood. The original Settlement Cookbook was my mom's bible as a new bride. I remember her teaching me to bake, using recipes from this cookbook. It promised to be...
"The Way To A Man's Heart."
Funny how they left that off the updated version. I guess they got a few too many letters over the years from women wanting a refund!
My cookbook collection began when my cousin gave me The Joy Of Cooking, after I moved to my first apartment. It was much more than just a cookbook to me. It was...
Living On My Own.
Cooking My Own Meals.
Being a Grownup.
That started my cookbook crush. I couldn't resist them. You'd have thought it was my destiny to become an awesome cook.
You'd be wrong.
Just ask my family how awesome a cook I am, and they will surely snort milk out of their noses from laughing so hard.
If my cookbooks could talk, they'd tell you that in the '90's, I was big into the Fat Free craze. I churned out some of the most awful, tasteless, rubbery dishes you've ever seen.
And I ate them. I made Mr. Goo Shoes eat them. He was a sport about it. Usually. What was I thinking? Fat Free Baking? Blechhh!!
After a few years of fat deprivation, I did a complete reversal and bought Rosie's All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Books. I wanted to swim in a bowl of real butter and egg yolks. They are still my favorite baking cookbooks.
...And my souvenir cookbooks would tell you where in the world I traveled to.
You'd understand my work/life balance struggles by my stack of Great Meals in Minutes series: Rush home from work and get meals on the table quickly!
My cookbooks would tell you that I've been through a few health kicks - Juicing, Fit For Life, and my faves for the past few years - The Flat Belly Diet (any diet that encourages chocolate is a friend of mine).
Finally, if my cookbooks could talk, they'd tell you my latest obsession is with Slow-Cooking, which is the best thing to happen to cooking since take-out.
But there is one thing my cookbooks would not tell you.
Somewhere along the way, it occurred to me that I didn't really like cooking at all.
Baking? LOVE IT!!!!
Cooking? Not so much.
But still, when it came to cleaning up my bookcase, I wasn't prepared to part with my cookbooks, even though many of them don't get used anymore. With Pinterest and the like, I'm afraid cookbooks may soon become extinct.
Sprucing up my bookcase may not have motivated me to tackle my next project, but it did inspire to revisit some of those old cookbooks.
I think I'll go whip up something fat-free...
...in my slow-cooker.
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