Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bench Talk - Favourite Cook Books

This week we would like to list some of our favourite cookbooks. With Christmas fast approaching we are usually looking for something new to cook or we pull out our tried and true family favourite recipes.

(Sunshine) On Friday we had our annual cookie exchange. We met at my house and we had a fun evening. Mr Sunshine had rented the movie, "Julie and Julia" for us and we watched it that evening. I watched this movie again on Sunday with my daughter and I loved it. It inspired me to get cooking in my own kitchen before the movie even ended. Mr Sunshine made a ham. I have never had ham before in my life. It was pretty tasty. Tomorrow night we will make a roasted stuffed chicken with seasonal roasted vegetables and gravy. I also made some homemade chicken soup and some rice balls. It seems as though I was either in the kitchen or folding laundry all day. I spoke to Cathy today who said that she had the actual book by Julia Child that her mother gave her many years ago. This is what has inspired our topic for today. It was actually Cathy's idea. Hey, what are you doing making rice balls I though we were doing that on Monday. I enjoyed the movie as well and will watch it again. I don't think I have ever made a Julia Child recipe but who knows what the future might bring. The critics had penned the movie to be a horrible waste of time. But I should know that if the cirtics don't like it then I will like it.

Cathy here, I was just sitting eating breakfast and happened to look over at my cookbook shelf. I have a baker's rack in the kitchen filled with cookbooks of all types! I love cookbooks! I can sit with a cup of tea and read a cookbook. It's like I can actually taste the recipe as I read it. So, as Sunshine said we watched, "Julie and Julia" on Friday past. I knew mom had handed down to me her french cookbook but I never paid attention to the author. Well, wasn't I surprised to see it was the actual cookbook from the movie, (not the actual cookbook movie, the penguin paperback). When Sunshine called later in the day I told her about it. Isn't that neat!

I am usually looking for some new recipes when I am entertaining. I have been searching for some drinks and h'ors d'ourves to serve on New Year's Eve. I don't know that I have a favourite cookbook. I enjoy looking at new things in magazines. The LCBO magazines are some of my favourites. I have tried several recipes from their magazines and they are all great. Sometimes I am inspired by something that I see on TV. So a lot of time I search for recipes on the Internet. I actually made Beef Bourguignon twice a few years ago. It took hours to make but it was fantastic! I to really like the LCBO magazines but I don't think I have ever made anything from there recipes, I just like to look at the pictures.

When it was announced in the news that Julia Child has passed away they published her original recipe for beef bourguignon and I made it. Yes, it took a long time but boy was it ever good! You and Sunshine have raved about this recipe so I might have to get the recipe and give it a try.

As far as favourite cookbooks go, I can always count on finding the answer to my questions in, 'The Joy of Cooking'. I think everyone should own a copy. I own cookbooks for all different foods from all over the world. My family likes to tease that they have never had the same meal twice! When they really enjoy a meal and they ask it I could make it again, I try to, however, I always find a way to tweek it and make it different! They enjoy it all and as Hubby also enjoys cooking from different ethnicities we enjoy varied and interesting meals! ( I know I will now have to listen to the grief the ladie's will now dish out to me!)Bloggers just so you know, Cathy says she does all this cooking but we have never had any of it. So we question if she really does cook or just talks about it!

For our old family favourites I pull out my personal recipe cards where I have some of my favourite recipes of my mom's and of my mother in laws. I usually refer to those cards for the holidays. I remember the recipes pretty well but I have found over the years that if I refer to the cards, somehow the recipe turns out better. I look up recipes for rice balls, stuffing, and home made chicken soup and sushi. I also get a lot of recipes from a friend of mine who is an amazing cook! Everytime we are invited for dinner my mouth waters before the food even gets to the table. She always makes something that I would not normally make and all of her dishes are so delicious. I have acquired recipes for chicken Marsala and an amazing farfale pasta from her. I prefer to cook something that I have already tasted somewhere. I find that when I just try a totally new recipe it is usually a lot of work and it is not so tasty. I am so happy to say that I have finally done my mom's lasagna justice! For several years I have tried to make lasagna like my mom used to make. I was always unsuccessful. Well, earlier this year, I finally succeeded! It was a lot of work and the girls and Mr Sunshine helped a lot but in the end, it was so worth it. You also made it I think last new years cause your Dad gave it a two thumbs up and insisted that we all eat it! I made it a day when my mom's sister was over and she gave it a big thumbs up. I hope that I can reproduce it again. I love to cook when things turn out well. I am very disappointed when the food is just ok. Well, I hope that New Year's Eve will be successful. I know that we will have great company, I hope that the food is up to par.

It's a really great feeling when you can duplicate a favourite recipe! My dad's roasts are great and I still haven't duplicated them yet! I like to have time to cook. I like to peruse my cookbooks and take all day to cook. I really like the cookbooks from 'Canadian Living' Magazine. They always have easy 'down to earth' recipes. I have a cookbook called 'Treasury of Country and Heritage cooking'. Mom has it too and we find that anything we cook out of it looks just like the picture and tastes great! My other cookbooks are international in flavour from Jamaica, Japan, China, Mexico, Thailand, Australia, France, Italy to name a few. I also have some vegetarian cookbooks and a great one for baking that Sunshine gave me a few years ago!

(Carolin) I too have a couple of shelves full of cookbooks in my kitchen. I have one book in particular that I use all the time. It is red and falling apart but it is always trustworthy. Its a Betty Crocker Cookbook the 1987 revised copy. I have bought a later version but it was so full of mistakes and the recipes were just not the same. So though it is falling apart I still use it all the time. I also have a Better homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Cake and Cookies recipes book that is taped at the spine but it is a trustworthy book for cookies. Because I make so many cookies this is the book I get most of my recipes from.

I subscribe to Canadian Living and have always enjoyed there recipes. Some of them have become family favourites. Like Sunshine I have a book of handed down recipes and dishes my family likes but I don't have official recipes for. That little book comes in handy especially this time of year.

I wonder if the girls would like to have a get together over the holidays with our families and make it a Julia Child's night where we each need to make one of her dishes for the evening?

I'm think it's a great idea, I wonder what Carolin will think?

I think we should get together at one of your house and you should cook a Julia Child recipe and I will judge since I have never cooked any of her recipes and don't own her cookbook. You guys do the work and maybe I can corner Mr. Sunshine to help me with my year end report for the school!

Happy cooking everyone!!!! Bon appetit


  1. Hey Carolin, I don't think Sunshine owns her book either, but with the internet...anything can be found! So, who wants to debone and stuff a duck???

  2. I can't nail it down to one...although the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook Mom & Dad gave me one Christmas is used quite often...more for reference though. See, I just 'do' in the kitchen, and for the most part haven't been horribly off. I also read cookbooks, have a bookshelf (and drawers and tables and cubi-holes, etc) full of books, magazines, recipes ripped out of other magazines, printed off from online, etc. A favourite magazine is Clean Eating, just because it promotes actually cooking and not just opening a can or a box. I watch the Food Network (it's on now...yay, Iron Chef) the way most people watch commercial television, and I get mad when a show is on that doesn't focus on food (I don't care how a restaurant is did they cook the food?!?!). I love how food looks, smells, tastes, feels and sounds. Haven't seen Julie/Julia yet, but plan on it. And I'm guessing I'll be trying to find that cookbook soon!