A new Nigel Slater cookbook is releasing in the UK tomorrow. It's called Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch and it's the first volume in a two volume set about Nigel cooking from his garden. I cannot resist. I get online and check my bank balance. I sigh. I visit the Amazon.co.uk site 'just for a look.' I pine. I go to my desktop currency converter and check British pounds to US dollars. I consider the shipping fees. I consider the carbon impact, my vow about staying credit card debt free, my groaning cookbook shelves. And then I make a decision.I've written about cookbook lust here before, and I know from the comments that I'm not alone. And as much as I would like to say that I have solved my 'problem', put a hard stop on all future purchases and whittled my collection down to six essential volumes...no, wait. I actually would not like to say that.
It isn't always the objects or situations or people themselves that are problematic, it's how we are relating to them. One person's pile of cookbooks could be a symptom of something difficult, while for another it could be an expression of a passionate engagement, a source of inspiration. Of course, I like to think that I fall in to the later category and here's why.
Let's stay with Nigel Slater as an example. I own two of his American releases (Nigel is a British cook): Appetite and The Kitchen Diaries. I occasionally cook from them and even more occasionally pick one up for a casual browse, especially The Kitchen Diaries because it's reads so well.
I am deeply inspired by Nigel Slater, as a cook and as a person. I feel a resonance with his approach to the stove and table, so when I read his cookbooks, I'm reminded to be more myself. He reminds me of what I value, what brings me joy, and he inspires me to express that. Not everything in my life asks that of me which is OK but, like everyone, I do occasionally need to drink from a deeper well.
Reading a Nigel Slater cookbook has a refreshing, relaxing effect on me. I feel encouraged, inspired, and well, hungry. From there it's just a few phone calls and a quick trip to the market and suddenly, an impromptu dinner party is in progress and my heart is a little fuller.
Besides, food and cooking are my passion and all passions should be entered into fully and with abandon. By definition, a passion should be just a little (or maybe even a lot) too much.
There. I think I may have talked myself into yet another cookbook. And I'm leaving you now so I can get over to amamzon.co.uk before you talk me out of it!