I may have a problem…

Some of you may remember a couple years ago when I loathed cooking and had to force myself to eat my borderline inedible concoctions (or let them grow moldy in the fridge – at least some life form was benefiting from them). Well, things couldn’t be more different now. I hardly recognize myself. I love cooking. I don’t do anything fancy, but it tastes good to me and I generally come up with a fairly interesting and edible menu of food for myself and Papa Miao (it’s the least I can do for him, given that I’m living rent-free).

Anyways, my problem isn’t that I love cooking. It’s that I love buying cookbooks. This year alone, I have bought three. I have an overflowing shelf of cookbooks. Frequently, I find myself browsing online for more cookbooks and salivating over new recipes. All of this is in addition to the copious amounts of vegan blog recipes available out there.

My most recent acquisition, SUPERMARKET VEGAN by Donna Klein, was an excellent find. I live practically in the middle of nowhere and it can be difficult and expensive to get the less-than-usual ingredients so common in vegan cookbooks. As the title suggests, this cookbook limits itself to readily available ingredients (that, for the most part, are soy free. I’m not a big fan of fake meat.) Also, since I actually have a more-or-less real job these days, I have to manage my time better and I need quick, easy recipes like those in SUPERMARKET VEGAN.

But how many dessert cookbooks do I need? (Admittedly, every single cookie I have made from VEGAN COOKIES INVADE YOUR COOKIE JAR has been divinely delicious). I think I have fourteen vegan cookbooks now and maybe a couple that are semi-vegan (several were gifts so I didn’t buy them all). I also have about a thousand recipes online bookmarked. There must be a limit to the number of recipes someone can make. I have made on average one new recipe a week this year, and at this rate it would take me twenty years to get through all the recipes I currently have.

Yet, I’m having a hard time resisting acquiring even more. In particular, there are a couple Indian cookbooks that have great reviews and I love Indian food. I don’t have a single Indian cookbook, just a random recipe here and there. There is also a raw food cookbook I’ve been wanting to get for months.

Maybe I am writing this post because I want someone to tell me that you can never have too many cookbooks, or that fourteen really isn’t very many and spending more on cookbooks really isn’t an extravagance at all, or that $40 for three cookbooks is fairly reasonable and I owe it to myself since the shoes I really really wanted are out of stock. But will it really end with these three? What about the next three that I can’t resist? Will I be buying three new cookbooks every three months?

Maybe I am hoping that some voice of reason will persuade me to step back from my amazon shopping cart and spend my money on food and student loans rather than more books.


Now that I’m on this topic… I have been meaning to incorporate my cooking adventures into my blog. Specifically, in the form of photos featuring Miaos + Food. The Miao Bros & the Miao Nephew are more than happy to pose for pictures. They’re always popping on and off the counters while I’m cooking (I never claimed my food is floof-free). The problem is the kitchen lighting.

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20 Responses to I may have a problem…

  1. Lauri says:

    I see NO problem here at all! I have way more than 14 cookbooks and you DEFinitely need an Indian one so you can share some of the recipes with US!
    I am so glad that you LOVE cooking now! It took me until I was in my mid 30s to relax and enjoy cooking and I really love it now and am not afraid to try anything!
    Nope…cookbooking is good vice to have! Not going to hear any words of restraint from me! πŸ˜€

  2. Carlisa says:

    Cookbooks are always handier than having to print out and keep track of recipes. I do the same thing with gardening books. I loved cooking at one time, but now there are too many different preferences and I get
    brain-poots trying to please both my mom and son. I lose my appetite over it and nothing sounds good.
    MEOWever…..I luff floof foodz! πŸ™‚

    • littlemiao says:

      Gardening books, hmmm, now that I’m starting to garden maybe that’s just what I need for inspiration. Do you have any recommendations?

      I’m lucky because cooking for Papa Miao is really easy, especially since he lived off of frozen meals and canned soup for years before I moved back. I think he would be happy with cardboard, if I made it. He never says anything critical about what I make even though I’m sure it’s not all good.

  3. After I read your post I went to Amazon and ordered “Supermarket Vegan.” I just had an argument with son, who just went back to being vegan, about how hard it was to cook for him. The coop is the only place in my town that carries vegan foods, and it’s across town and costs an arm and leg. So I’m hoping this book solves a lot of issues for both my son and me!

    But no, you can never have too many cookbooks. When I moved I culled my collection down to 24, but that was mostly because I’m vegetarian now and don’t need books about “EZ bar-b-cue” or “Deep Fried Southern Cooking.” (The collard greens recipe was delicious, though it required salt pork or hamhock for the principle flavoring.) My most recent favorite Indian cookbook is Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, if you need an excuse to buy one. It is everything it says it is, and I’ve yet to make a clinker, though my parents decidedly don’t like Indian cuisine. πŸ˜€ My older daughter’s Indian mother-in-law scoffs at Jaffrey however and says it’s not real Indian food, but then she cooks stuff like bitter melon and puts so much green chiles in her cooking I have a hard time eating it—and I like spicy food! So I guess if you’re looking to be authentic, then Jaffrey isn’t it. But I’m not trying to be: I just want me some good Indian at home.

    • littlemiao says:

      I hope that book serves you and your son well. I’ve had it for 3 weeks and I’ve made 4 recipes from it, all of which were easy to assemble and fairly tasty. Let me know what you think!

      I’m really happy to get all this encouragement to buy more cookbooks. πŸ™‚

  4. doranyc says:

    I don’t even know how many cookbooks my mom has. You truly never can have too many. It’s OK, dear. And you should be very happy and proud of your new skills, which I can tell that you are! Yay!

  5. [this is good] YAY! It’s funny how that transformation happens. I used to not care a whole lot for cooking either. I’m not quite sure what changed my mindset, but it works! When I want to cook something, I have fun making food. I’ve also found myself adding more ingredients to everyday foods like oatmeal and macaroni and cheese

    • littlemiao says:

      it makes eating so much funner when you actually enjoy making the food. i don’t know what really changed my mindset, maybe it was just being tired of all the blah food i was feeding myself… but i remember the first thing i had fun making was a soup recipe from LT. it transformed my life! That was back when I lived in Rabbit Burrow – basement without a kitchen so I was using an electric pot type thing.

  6. Too many books of any kind? Unpossible! If these books inspire you to eat varied and try new things, tnen go for it! I would love to see some miao brothers showing off recipies πŸ™‚

  7. pegoftilling says:

    Have you tried abebooks.com? it’s a site where you can search the inventory of many used bookstores at once, and it gives more data on condition than is given for the used copies on Amazon. Not to be an enabler or anything.
    You can see my cookbook collection behind the cake here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/u-eet/1162683147
    They’re mostly about baking though.

    • littlemiao says:

      thanks for the link! i think i encountered abebooks a few years ago when looking for an out of print academic text. i had forgotten about them!

      that is a beautiful cake. and a whole bookcase full of cookbooks – i guess i have a ways to go. πŸ™‚

  8. LBeeeze says:

    I am really allergic to soy. Is it possible to be a vegan and not eat soy?

    • Eat Indian! They don’t use any soy in their traditional food. It’s mostly lentils, veggies, rice, flour (flatbreads are big in Indian cuisine) and milk. (Which is not vegan, but I love cheese and can’t give it up. Also, some Indian recipes call for ghee, clarified butter, and yogurt.) My son says he prefers Indian food to the Western soy substitutes for meat and dairy products.

    • littlemiao says:

      Yes, like HG says, it is definitely possible! I think there are plenty of vegans who avoid soy, even though the commercially prepared vegan food almost invariably has soy protein isolate in it or something. But that stuff is expensive anyways.

      I do like tofu now and then.

  9. leendadll says:

    I never cook but spent years collecting cookbooks. Just gave the vast majority of them to a thrift store this year.

Miao & Purr!

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