I read cookbooks and menus… out loud.


My cousin once said the following about cookbooks:

“I read them like novels.”

I love that. It got me to thinking about the way I read them. Maybe I don’t read them front cover to back cover like one would a novel; but I do read them with a bit of excitement over what could unfold if I were to prepare the recipe. In addition, I will often skip around a cookbook like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. {Remember those?!}

I adore cookbooks with their infinite options, their full-color pictures and the hope that I, too, could make something like that. {The same could be said about cooking shows. Just how many I have plugged in the DVR has yet to be determined.}

But, as this title has already revealed:

I also read them out loud.

Again, I do not read them out loud word for word nor cover to cover, but with giddiness and glee when I find something that looks or sounds tasty:

“Ooooo! Listen to this…”

Rob just shakes his head and smiles. “I swear, that’s your favorite thing to do, read cookbooks and menus.”

It’s true that I like to point out items on menus that catch my eye or that I think someone will like based on what I know about them. This is when Rob will sometimes point out that everyone else at the table can read, thank you very much. I’ve come to realize that I may just be distracting everyone from deciding on what to order. Sorry!

Still, I think my true intention is to foster conversation on what sounds good and to draw attention to certain items that may be missed. {I always feel rushed upon being given a menu. I also feel like that annoying customer when we have to ask the server to come back after checking in with us a couple of times.} Furthermore, since I’m one who has a hard time making decisions, sometimes thinking out loud or discussing options with someone can help me make a choice more easily.

I find that menu descriptions alone can often have power over what we order. And creating one with just the right adjectives that not only provokes the mouth to water, but also is concise, is a true art form. Don’t you agree?

On the other hand, I find that cookbooks are essentially themed picture books with lists – lists of ingredients and steps. I mean this in the best way possible! I get hooked by a picture, feel hopeful about the ingredients and can determine if a dish is in my future by reading the steps. {Sometimes I get excited after seeing the picture and reading the ingredients that I forget to read the steps ahead of time and find myself stuck mid-recipe. Didn’t I learn anything in elementary school? Always read the instructions before beginning any project, Carrie.}

So, you can imagine my excitement when Kat told me I won her cookbook giveaway! She had been posting Friday Food Round-Ups with pictures of dishes she prepared from this cookbook:

A book inspired by the blog

The pictures she posted of her recreations from this book were drool-worthy.

Naturally, when the book arrived, before I tore the box open, I leaned over to my husband and said,

“Ohhhh… Guess what this is?! Rob gets to hear a bedtime story tonight!”

Honestly, I refrained from reading the cookbook out loud to him… This time. I will say that while I’ve used the Choose Your Own Adventure method to thumb through and get a feel for the these incredible recipes, I’m actually reading a lot of what the author has to say about chilies and Texan cooking methods. I never knew. Truly.

You better believe that I’ll be posting what I decide to concoct here at Season It Already! Thanks again, Kat, for The Homesick Texan cookbook. While I’m not exactly a great cook yet, it’s still in the right hands.

How do you read cookbooks?

Got any favorites you’d like to share?



13 responses »

  1. ONE BIG TABLE. Haven’t made it through yet (it’s hugehugehuge), but it is a social studies and environmental science lesson with each recipe, as the author basically traveled around the US studying regional and ethnic/immigrant specialties, from “standard American” food like bbq to things that have ingredients that you can ONLY get in that region of the US. I will definately not make some of the things in this book (I think there are over 500 recipes), but will use some. An example of how interesting this book is: one recipe for roast turkey includes stuffing the turkey with TAMALES so you can serve your holiday tamales (Hispanic holiday food) WITH your holiday roast turkey. 🙂
    I have lots of other cookbooks – some for using and some purely for entertainment. My almost-12-year-old now asks for cookbooks for each birthday and Christmas – and cooked two of our suppers this week, plus some bonus food (like sweet rolls).
    ENJOY your new book!

  2. I personally ENJOY when you read the menu out loud. 😀 It’s always fun to joke with you about it, but you have helped bring something to my attention that I had missed and then wanted to order. I take forever to decide as well,so hearing items you find interesting helps! You’ve got a nice voice maybe you should look into being the voice for audio cookbooks!

  3. I’ll be honest, when my copy arrived in February, I opened it up and thought, Holy God What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Because I’m not exactly the person who had extensive experience in re-hydrating Ancho Chiles and making enchilada sauces from scratch prior to this.

    The recipes are extremely forgiving and all of them are wonderfully delicious – I can’t wait to see what you action first!

  4. Carrie I do the same thing with menus and cookbooks! I want to suggest things to others to spark conversation and excitement about recipes and menu items! Reading cookbooks drives my fiance nuts sometimes because I ask him about everything i think he might like! He just tells me, “you know what I like! Just make it!” Haha!

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