Me and my cookbooks – October 2013

Sandra Thurman booksWe’re hearing from a lot of you that you’ve enjoyed meeting some of our EYB members through our Me and my Cookbooks Monthly feature. We’d love to introduce as many as we can –  If you’d like to be featured, just email us at

Our featured EYB member this month is Sandra Thorman (EYB member sandyt1408). Sandra is from Australia, and besides presenting a delightful remembrance of how cookbooks helped her rise about her Mum’s “meat and 3-veg thing,” also has some excellent ideas on how to create a cookbook nook. She wrote us after viewing Jane’s extensive cookbook library.

Wow! Jane’s library is a real inspiration to continue collecting cookbooks. Of course my own collection is much more modest but then I have moved  house several times over the years and had to pare down my collection each  time we move to something that was more manageable. When I designed my  current kitchen (for our retirement cottage) I included a nook to store my  cookbooks but a little away from the cooking area so as to ensure they  remain clean and free from cooking fumes. The little nook includes a place for my lap top and/or HP Thinkpad so I can call up online recipes and EYB  as needed.

I started collecting recipe books in 1960 with a volume I bought for 6  Guineas (about $7) in 1960 which was almost all of my weekly pay packet. I  was 16 at the time and added this purchase to my glory box. This leather-bound tome, labelled A Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium, covered  everything from boiling and egg to decorating a wedding cake. I still have  that book and use it often for all the old faithfuls everyone adores e.g.  scones, pasties etc.

Around that time I began cutting and pasting recipes from magazines and food packets into an exercise book. The recipes just  had to look interesting which wasn’t hard when Mum (may she rest in peace)  only ever did the meat and 3 veg thing with a bread and butter custard or  rice pudding as a treat with the Sunday roast. I still have that book  which includes a recipe for Chow Mein where the magic ingredient was a  packet of chicken noodle soup. Not on our menu any time soon these days but it was just the thing back then along with cocktail gherkins on tooth  picks and those awful prawn cocktails with sauce made of mayonnaise mixed  with tomato sauce.

One of my favourite books from yesteryear is Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to  Housework Book given to me as a Kitchen Tea present for my first marriage in 1963. It outlasted the marriage and I recently bought Peg’s companion  book while travelling in New Zealand The I Hate to Cook Book.

I don’t  have a “favourite” in my library these days – I just love them all and that’s not hard as I faithfully read them cover to cover. Each one inspires me to get back in the kitchen and cook something special for dinner. My most recent addition is a book of curry recipes I bought from the local Vinnies.

I don’t have the space to buy everything that appeals now but I do bring home at least one cookbook on my weekly trip to the  library. This week’s offering is The Anti Ageing Cookbook featuring recipes with all the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables-of course we are feasting on these treasures at present.

I have been collecting the  Christmas edition of the supermarket magazine for many years now. I love  their Christmas menus and draw inspiration for our own family Christmas  feast from them. Anything and everything that features our beautiful  Australian seasonal produce has my attention.

Thank you for this great recipe resource (EYB) and may the joy of turning the pages of cook books continue to inspire us all. Here’s a picture of my cook book nook. Best wishes!


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  • sisterspat  on  October 28, 2013

    I am 67 and live with my giant standard poodle, Ralphie. I have 276 cookbooks and would be lost without them. They give me such a peaceful, happy start to the day. I enjoy each and everyone of them. EYB has been a wonderful tool and I have found recipes I did not know I had. This month (Nov.) I want to explore French recipes, the first one a stuffed pumpkin from "Around my French Table". A good friend and I made one a couple years ago, I want to change it up a bit this year. Always looking for more space for the cookbooks.

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