And speaking of lettuce, are you familiar with Quit Rates? (No, the two things are not related, but it cracks me up when people use that technique in conversation - you know they've just been waiting for an opening to bring out a new topic.) But, back to Quit Rates - this is a term usually applied to employees - it measures how many are willing to leave their current jobs without having other jobs. While looking through a pile of cookbooks last week, I thought of a new application for the term. I'm applying it to my cookbook stash. How long will I keep a cookbook that I don't use - or perhaps even never used? Do I wait until I get a new cookbook to replace it (Quit Rate of 0)? Or do I toss it now since my cookbook shelves are overflowing? If it has one good recipe should I keep it? Logic says no - copy the recipe and get rid of the book.
It's harder than one would guess to purge cookbooks, however. I love cookbooks - not just for cooking, but for reading. Over the years I've gotten rid of quite a few cookbooks, including the worst - a self-published Nouvelle Cuisine guide that was a housewarming gift from my realtor (isn't that one of the worst gifts ever? it's right up there with giving your child's teacher a photo of the child in lieu of an actual present). As the holidays quickly approach, I'm going to take a hard line with my cookbooks!
In addition to the keepers in the photo above, here are two old favorites I couldn't do without:
Tastebuds was written by three ladies from my hometown - one gardener, one cartoonist, and one cook. What makes it great is that it's chronological - there's a section for each week of the year with appropriate gardening info and recipes. What a great idea! It's been out of print for years, but could be the inspiration for an updated version. Any of you have a group of friends who could collaborate? The second book, Square Meals, is by Jane and Michael Stern. If you're familiar with their work, you'll know why it's a keeper. It was a gift in the late 1980s (when all my cookbooks fit on one small shelf!) and I think I read it cover to cover in one sitting. The subtitle says it all: Taste thrills of only yesterday - from Mom's best pot roast and tuna noodle casserole to Ladies' Lunch and the perfect living room luau. There's an updated version that might make a great present for the cook on your list!
I'd love to know your Cookbook Quit Rate and which cookbooks you just have to keep! As for me, I'm off to wash my lettuce . . .