I was weary from my cabinet work on Sunday.  Nevertheless, I stopped by the CHKD Thrift Store to scan the aisles for cool stuff.  I have bought several things there:  books, jeans, blazers and skirts and a dining set (cherry, queen anne for my property staging).

I love to cook...a passion that I somehow idled most of 2012.  And, I love to READ cookbooks.  I've picked up several cookbooks in odd nooks along the way:  antique stores, consignment shops, thrift stores.  My "Great Cooks Cookbook" is one of many that I've bought, read cover to cover, and found recipes to keep in my cooking repertoire.

So meandering through the CHKD store I picked up 4 cookbooks that I'm just thrilled about--one of which was "The Best of Gourmet--65 years and 65 Favorite Recipes".  I subscribed years ago for exactly one year to Gourmet.  In general, I found the recipes fussy, so I abandoned my subscription.  I went with Bon Appetit, the sister magazine, and I've been a subscriber for 25 or so years.  As part of my decluttering, I threw out old issues that I had been harboring like fugitives in every nook and cranny of bookcases and closets.  It was like throwing out children---difficult and emotional.  Now that they are gone, I don't give them a second thought.

Recipes are abundant, to be sure.  Excellent recipes are not.  The joy of reading a cookbook is recognizing immediately that a recipe is going to work for your style of eating/entertaining.  The hallmark of a good cook book, to me at least, is that I walk away inspired and eager to make a recipe.  Visiting a cookbook is much like going to a restaurant, there are only going to be one or two dishes that truly captivate you (well, at least it is that way for me!).  Rare is the time that I go to a restaurant and find more than two things that I'm just dying to try.  But it happens.

I know that when I threw out my BA issues, that there were recipes forever lost.  No, they don't all make it to the website.  The maple pecan chocolate tart is not there.  It is one of the most divine desserts that I've ever made--and it is a staple at Thanksgiving.  There is another great recipe:  Harricorts with goat cheese and cranberries....lost it and can find no trace of it anywhere.  Best to read the magazine, rip out the recipes and put them in plastic sheet covers and commit them to a 3 ring binder.  Of course you have to MAKE the recipe...and that ought to be a resolution for any home chef to try new things:  new techniques, combinations, ingredients, cooking methods.  That way when you leave this plane of existence, your progeny will have in hand the wonderful recipes that left a gastronomical imprint on them.  Those are always the most lasting memories.

And throw out the recipes that just don't work for you....along with any other detritus in your life.

My sister is coming this weekend from Bedford.  She  recently received a well deserved promotion. I want to have a special dinner for her.  Though I'm not shy to try new things, she loves crabcakes, and I have JUST dish for her:  Crabcakes with spicy Avocado sauce (you can find it on .  It is basically a baked crabcake because there is no filler.  You shape it, press panko crumbs that have been browned in garlic and butter and press the into the crabcake.  The avocado sauce is as spicy as you care to make it with serrano/jalapeno chiles.  It is silky with a hidden bite. I think some roasted asparagus will go well with it.

I'll save the 4 cheese macaroni in the Gourmet cookbook for another time....but there are at least 6 recipes from that cookbook that I'm eager to tackle.  I also picked up Food and Wine cookbook (Best of the Best from 25 cookbooks),  and  Lidia's Italian American Kitchen.  I bought two other, non cooking books during my CHKD visit.  The total:  $13.64...I rounded up to $15.  ON another jaunt I picked up hardback Joy of Cooking--two.

Yes, that is the way to shop for cookbooks.


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