The ghosts of cookbook's past and a peek at what's to come

Last night I left my Small Boston Kitchen and headed about an hour and half west of the city to surprise my Mom for her birthday. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) Today, having the day off from work, I am left to my own devices in my childhood home. Looking for some inspiration and planning to spend my day on some recipe development, I stumbled upon my parent's vast collection of cookbooks. There were cookbooks of all shapes and sizes. I found my grandmother's cookbooks where the pages had browned and were reduced to a tissue paper consistency. Recipes included ingredients like "lard" and "salad oil" (olive oil I presume?) to serve with a side of post-World War Two conversation topics. There were cookbooks from the 70's that offered innovative "finger food" ideas to serve over some conversation about Watergate scandals and the Vietnam war. Also among the collection were cookbooks from the 80's and 90's where you can follow just about every culinary fad ("5 ingredients, one pan" "Crock Pot Cooking" "Best Ever Low-Fat recipes") that could be prepared with some MTV on in the background. (Remember when they played music?) And finally, there were more recent cookbooks from popular chefs like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali. The list goes on. But my favorite of all my finds were those recipes that were scribbled on the backs of envelopes and random scraps of paper from various members of my family and friends of family.

And that, right there, is one of the very best parts of cooking. Recreating a family favorite that reminds you of someone (my Grammy's lemon bars, my Babcia's (Polish for grandmother and pronounced Bop-shee) pierogies, my Aunt Dot's Rum Cake...) and remind you that the fork is mightier than the video camera when it comes to capturing a memory.

While this weekend will be spent celebrating birthdays, I'm working on some really cool things that I'll be posting over the next couple of weeks:

- A comprehensive guide to the North End
- Some good sources of culinary inspiration (cookbooks, shows, magazines, etc)
- Wine and food pairings
- A Hawaiian themed dinner party to celebrate the return and final season of LOST
- Guinness Stew
- Spanish Tapas
- Homemade pizza
- Another Restaurant Roundup

Just a little taste of what's to come..

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