Cookbooks used to take up a lot of space in my bookshelves (in the kitchen, behind doors so as not to get greasy).  They are a lot of work to write, although probably not as hard for professional, big-name cooks who have a test kitchen and staff to help them with the scutwork. I have published three cookbooks and I know how much work is involved and how careful you have to be not just in the cooking but also in the writing.  I called myself a writer who cooks as opposed to a cook who writes.  I like a chatty cookbook with good copy, I mean, I like to read a cookbook. 

Edna Staebler (1906-2006) - bless her! - comes to mind. She wrote nice folksy copy. and no one seemed to mind if she forgot an ingredient or a  cooking instruction.  Her three best-selling "schmecks"  cookbooks were proof of that.  When she took the third one in to her publisher they asked her if she had been more careful about the directions and she gave them the choice between accuracy and charm.

 When I signed the contract for my first cookbook I noticed a clause that hadn't been in my negotiations for nonfiction. I had to guarantee that nothing I recommended in food selection or preparation would harm  the reader-cook's health or body.  With that in mind I deleted my method of dicing an onion in case some butterfingered cook cut herself and I cut what I thought was a joke that if you  put bones that a guest  had gnawed (like drumsticks and such)  into a stock pot,  they  would be sterilised in the boiling even if your friend had lockjaw.  I didn't know that for sure, I didn't know anything about lockjaw, so I I killed the line. But I thought how strange that i could write other material without guaranteeing that I wouldn't pollute,  damage or prejudice a reader's mind. Actually, you can't now. I think that hate-crime legislation curbs some writers'  eloquent  vitriol. 

I digress.  I began planning to tell you how many cookbooks I used to own and what led me to the decision to stop buying and  to downsize my collection,  Some time along the way when I was still a full-time producing cook with a family and a heavy entertainment schedule.I realised that if I started  to cook everything in the cookbooks I owned, I would not reach the end of them before I died.  So I quit buying.  That didn't stop me from trying new recipes (all the time) because, like everyone else with a computer,  now I have hundred of recipes at my fingertips online.

My point is this, and I do have one, why don't I apply that reasoning to the other books I buy and buy and buy (and read and read and read.)?  Of course, I have unread books in my library, all bought and kept with the best of intentions -  to read them, in my lifetime.  I have a friend who also buys a lot of books and  he offered a comforting thought, that the very fact of owning a book counts toward the reading of it. When someone mentions a title you own, you can nod wisely or knowingly and murmur that you have it. No lie.

 I can't quit. I just have to live a little longer.

ironing mending and blogging

I've both praised and lamented my penchant for procrastination. I've said it before, one or two of you may remember, when my family was young and growing, in the days before Perma-Press, I tried to keep ahead of the ironing while the clothes still fit anyone I knew.  This rule also applied to my mending, but later I appreciated the blessing implicit in neglect.  After a move when it had taken me some time to get around to unpacking every box, I found one that had been pushed into the corner of a high shelf.  I opened it to discover clothing that needed mending and what a pleasure it was to realise that it didn't fit anyone! 

Something similar happens when I open file folders or a box of tear sheets and clippings and stuff and find that I can without a single stab of conscience throw out a lot.  Coupons are among the most carefree discards. I look at the expiry date and toss.  Lovely!  Expired deadlines on contests also relieve me of guilt when I pitch them. That's what I encountered the other night when I spent an evening poking around in mainly obsolete information.  But the blogs were still valid, I'm happy to say. 

And that's my first blog, with thanks.  It's a blue-ribbon, timeless, valuable blog.  Isn't that nice?

Here's  a bonus, also timeless, a found piece from I-don't-know-where.

The middle name of Edgar Poe is Allan -- "a" not "e".

Finnegans Wake, for heaven's sake, has no apostrophe.

Ellison's Invisible Man does not begin with "The".

Dwight Macdonald's name uses lower case for "d".

If you'd succeed with Wilfrid Sheed, "f-r-i-d" is the key.

Upper case and lower case with cummings -- his decree!

And here's one they didn't include: Dr Pepper has no period.

Now that's a blog!