Monday, December 19, 2011

Write in the Cookbook? Not Me…

Books have always been special to me. I can recall long lazy summers when the highlight of the week was our visit to the library, where my sisters and I would pick 4 or 5 books each – and hope they would last the entire week. Of course those were borrowed books, and writing in them wasn’t allowed.

In elementary school that reverence of books was reinforced further. We were taught to handle the books we were loaned for our studies with extreme care – they had to be covered and we were never (ever) to write in them, except on the little plate where we had to record our name as the protector-of-the-book-for-the-year. Did I mention this was a Catholic school?

In college I had to shell out my own money to buy textbooks. While many of my classmates would take notes in the margins and never went to class with a highlighter, not me. It was a book. It was my book. All of my notes went into a notebook.

Since that time I have amassed quite a collection of books, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I just can’t bring myself to write in a book.

Which brings me to cookbooks. Cookbooks lend themselves to taking notes. Whether it’s fine-tuning a recipe, highlighting a key step, or a substitution for an ingredient, a recipe sometimes needs notes. Or, you might simply want to record your favorites.

I’ve taken cooking classes where a text is included, and the instructors encourage us to take notes – sometimes even telling us exactly what to write. And I still can’t do it. And yes, that means sometimes I lose the notes, or I forget what I did last time. But isn’t that what they invented Post-it tabs and post-it notes for?

What about you – do you write in the cookbook?

Regardless of what you are celebrating this season, I wish you all the best, and maybe even some great books (and cookbooks)!


Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm afraid I do. Of course there are books I would never write in, but cookbooks and craft books just seem to beg to be scribbled up. I'm one of those people who only makes a recipe the way it is written once. I learned the hard way that once I settle on a version that works I need to make the changes on the actual recipe or I will lose it forever. I have enough trouble keeping track of all the scraps of paper and old envelopes that I scribble my original recipes on. If I don't get those right into the computer they are gone forever.

Colette said...

Yes, cookbooks do seem to scream to be written in. Maybe someday I'll get there.

Matty said...

I love to write in my cookbooks, but I do use pencil! :) Because my son has multiple food allergies, at first, I simply crossed out allergens and wrote in food substitutes. Now, I've discovered that certain flavors go well together, so I enjoy mixing and matching. Also, I love colors, so I'll replace green veggies with red and yellow ones sometimes. I'll be sharing your article with the open community at,since cookbooks are an important part of our lives! Thank you! Happy holidays!

Colette said...

Matty, thanks so much for your comment, and for letting me know about your site. What a great idea! I may do a blog post on it.