I grew up in a family where my mother spent much of her day in the kitchen or in the garden (that’s her on the left with a 3.5 pound tomato from the garden).Spending the time harvesting vegetables like peas, corn, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and more in the garden meant lots of time spent processing them in the kitchen. And yet she always made the time to put a really decent meal on the table for our family of five. She knew how to cook, how to shop for what she didn’t have in the garden, and didn’t have a huge collection of cookbooks. She clipped recipes from newspapers and magazines and taped them into a big notebook. The ‘tips’ she gleaned from her readings were cut out and taped to the inside of the kitchen cabinet doors. I’m lucky that I frequently watched her cook and helped her with shopping and in the garden and picked up the basics of cooking almost by osmosis, because before I left home I never really cooked anything but still knew how most things worked in the kitchen.
These days newspaper food sections aren’t what they used to be, with fewer recipes published every week. And I think a lot of young people in the generations that followed my mother’s readily adapted to take-out meals, convenience foods, and dining out. Cook from scratch? Whazzat? But the advent of the pandemic drove people into their homes and seeking new ways to use those kitchens that maybe were gathering cobwebs. So where to find some good basic cookbooks to help you out? Russell Books in downtown Victoria, of course.
Russell Books is Canada’s largest used bookstore and many of the books available are considered ‘new remaindered’. That is, they have never been sold before and they are at a considerable discount. Most Fridays I have tested recipes from 3 or 4 different cookbooks and bring my results and recommendations to you via social media. Here’s this week’s You Tube.
You can find the books at Russell Books at 747 Fort St. in Victoria, BC, or order from them online.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
The Quick Family Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen