“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” -Julia Child
Years ago when my man and I were newly married, he asked what I wanted for Christmas.
“I really want to learn to bake a pie.”
He looked at me quite confused because, at that time in our life, I had only four dishes under my belt: spaghetti sandwiches, burritos, a baked chicken, and pasta sauce. I was barely a cook, let alone a ‘baker’; me + kitchen was not a natural fit.
“Pies?” he asked? “Seriously?”
“Yes,” I said with enthusiasm and a big smile. “That’s what I want for Christmas… I want to learn how to do it.”
Weeks later as we opened gifts on Christmas morning, I had honestly forgot all about the pie request. But, lo and behold, he hadn’t! My passing comment of wanting to learn to bake pies planted in his heart; and, as I unpacked his present to me I was dumbfounded! Inside the perfectly wrapped box was every tool necessary to make me the very best pie baker I could be: rolling-pin, pie board, pie weights, pie guard, cooling rack, tart pans, pie plates, and the most amazing pie book in the world, and other little goodies.
I was overwhelmed with excitement – not just because they were the most beautiful kitchen tools I had ever seen, but because he remembered!
“If you’re going to do it right, you must have the right tools,” he said as I unwrapped each piece, “and now you have no excuse not to make the best pies in the world.” (Turns out he had researched and visited several cooking stores to make sure he had all the right stuff. He’s a good man, isn’t he?)
I tell you this story because it was that gift that launched my love of the kitchen. While my man thought he was just giving me tools for pie baking, what he really gave me that year was confidence in my kitchen.
As the years have passed, I’ve learned it’s less about following recipes and more about cooking from the heart. It’s about passion, and creativity, and a desire to really honor and serve those we love with our food. So, with that in mind, here are some of my favorite books to feed your inner chef – books you might want to put on your Christmas list, or give to someone you know is a foodie at heart:
… and a few more that are on my Christmas list this year:
How about you: do you have any favorite food books you recommend? Please tell!