Here's what I came up with:
My cookbooks sit on a shelf arranged in no particular order. Various sorts of tags stick out from the tops and sides of the pages all down the row. Each style of tag represents a separate session of combing through each book and selecting the group of recipes that I'd try next.
Some are yellow post-it notes. Some are long, thin strips of paper that I tore off from a scrap sheet of paper. And some are plastic strips with arrows pointing to the marked sections.
All these recipes, none ever made. The organizing is the easy part, the follow-through requires more effort.
My mom's dinner rotation consisted of Shepherd's Pie, Tacos, Curry, Chili, Spaghetti, repeat. My dad bought cookbooks for her to encourage her to mix it up a bit. The bindings stayed in tact. The only time they were opened was when my dad threw them in a fit of rage, weary of eating the same five meals over and over. Cookbooks lay splayed across the floor displaying exotic dishes we'd never taste.
I have a collection of Asian cookbooks bought during the time I discovered Asian food. When I was a vegetarian for a year and a half, I bought a copy of every vegetarian cookbook I could find. My years at Weight Watchers produced a growth in the diet cookbook section.
I have a few of my mother's old cookbooks, too, but I haven't made anything out of them. Although I do frequently refer to mom's Betty Crocker cookbook to remind myself how many minutes it takes to hard boil an egg. For some reason, I can never remember.
I learned three things from this exercise and the workshop in general:
1) Free writing, when you don't censor yourself and you write down whatever comes to mind, even if you don't want to, is a really, really good way to figure out why you do the things you do.
2) I constantly think about food!
3) I constantly think about food!! (Did I mention before, I took a sewing workshop here as well and made.... an apron.)
I had lunch today with my good friends Linda and Jan. Linda did use one of her recipes and made fabulous Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potato Fries. Dessert was Sugar-Free Ice Cream with fruit toppings and some sugary things of which I did not partake. (But to be completely honest so that I can sleep tonight... she had some trail mix out, I took some, and when I saw the mini chocolate pieces in it, rather than moving them aside, I ate them. So...technically, I had sugar today. But psychologically, I haven't. Does that make sense? I don't feel guilty about it or feel like I failed.)
Linda and Jan. True Blue Friends. I'm grateful for our lunches together.
(Naturally) Sweet Dreams!