Forgive me some stream of consciousness indulgence for a bit.
I don't know how I feel about church cookbooks. You know, the spiral bound collections that parishes sell for fundraisers, comprised of recipes from the ladies' altar society and all of their friends and distant relatives?
On the one hand, they're rather charming. Ostensibly, they're the collection of the greatest recipes from real cooks, many of whom you know personally. There can be some real recipe gems in there. "Meemaw's Creamy Eggnog," "Uncle Oswald's Secret Marinade," and "Aunt Lobelia's Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake" are all tried and true winners.
On the other hand, nobody screens the entries; if Aunt Maybelle submits a dud, it's still getting published.
I submit two "recipes" for your perusal that were recently espied in an old parish cookbook:
Festive Green Beans
Submitted by: Name withheld [truly, and not by me]
1 can green beans
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
Mix ingredients. Serves 4.
Submitted by: Name withheld [I have my suspicions...]
1 chicken, cut to pieces
1/2 cup sesame seeds.
Cook chicken. At the end, top with sesame seeds. Serves 4-6.
You've got to give her points for brevity.
Another staple of parish cookbooks is the ubiquitous "Recipe for A Happy Life"... something saccharine about a dash of love, a sprinkle of giggles, a dollop of forgiveness, a pinch of humor, and a smidge of faith. That recipe, or slightly adapted, is in every volume I own.
When I want a new recipe, I rarely scan these cookbooks. Why?
1) There are no pictures. If I can't see it, it's hard to envision serving it.
2) My style of cooking is very different. I don't often go for "quick and easy" recipes, because I enjoy cooking and, at this stage in my life, I have plenty of time to do it. I don't buy refrigerated biscuits, Ranch dressing packets, cream of mushroom soup, or Lipton onion soup. Yes, I know how to replace all of those, but I'm usually turned off of a recipe if I have to do a lot of substituting.
3) There are often five or six versions of "Perfect Pineapple Fluff," each with slight but significant variations. The indecision of which "perfect" recipe to pick kills me. My attempts to amalgamate the best of each version often result in far less than perfect dishes.
And yet, these books still hog a whopping 2 feet of shelf space in my miniscule pantry.
And I can't part with them.
What are your own thoughts on the matter?