Friday, May 04, 2007

Iowa and Cookbooks

Well, people of this part of the blogsphere are supposed to talk about Iowa today. I have very little to say about Iowa. It is on the way to Minnesota, and I had the odd experience of stopping there once to get a hot fudge sundae, and we asked for nuts, and they looked at us weird and then brought out our ice cream covered with salted spanish peanuts. So I don't know what was up with that, if that's a thing people normally do up north or in Iowa or if those kids were just clueless or what.

At some point we were in or near Iowa the year after The Bridges of Madison County movie came out, and we went to see the bridges. The people in the area seemed to want to make it a tourist attraction, but there wasn't really anything to do. They didn't have much in the way or signs or good maps at the time. You couldn't even get to some of the bridges. I can't even remember an interesting place to have lunch or get ice cream.

Once we had to go to Iowa on business. We went to Mason City. Two days later there was like a blizzard or something, so we didn't get much done. I do not care for cold weather or snow or any of it. My husband liked the place cause that was supposed to be like the place where The Music Man was set, and there was Music man stuff at the fast food place we ate lunch.

But the main thing about Iowa is that it is the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. He will be from Riverside, Iowa. For the last twenty-five years or so, Riverside has had a parade every July to celebrate. I have been to Riverside, and I've had my picture taken with the starship floats and such, but I have not been there during July to see the parade.

I'm pretty sure that Iowa has a Field of Dreams now, but I haven't been there. And I once lived near a place called Iowa Park, which was not in Iowa. And I once ate at either The Iowa Restaurant or The Iowa Cafe, but it was in Arizona.

I think that pretty much does it for me and Iowa.

So in between the on going drama and the ceramics class and the drama with the car, I keep thinking of cleaning the house and such. Thinking about it is usually all that gets done. So I'm looking around, and there's all this stuff.

I never realized it before, but so much of it is my stuff. I mean, I used to think of it as "our" stuff. There was my clothes and his clothes and my makeup and his camera equipment and his books and my books. But somehow I thought that a lot of the other stuff was "our" stuff. Well, this is "our" computer. And in the other room is "our" bed and "our" TV and like that.

But I used to think of some other stuff as "our" stuff. Like I thought that the Christmas lights and stuff like that was "our" stuff. But I guess it isn't really. He couldn't care less about Christmas lights. So I guess they are my Christmas lights and my wrapping paper and so on.

So I guess most of the stuff is mine. Most of the stuff that he has are books, and he's recently gotten rid of a lot of books, so I guess most of the books are mine now.

So we've got too much stuff, and a lot of the stuff is mine, and a lot of the stuff is books, and a lot of the books are mine. And I should get rid of some stuff. So I should get rid of some books.

A lot of my books are cookbooks. I like cookbooks. I like to look at them. I like nice tall ones with big glossy pictures. But I also like all the info on the side like how many calories and how much fat. I have a couple that are supposed to tell you how much it cost to make a recipe. The perfect cookbook would have lots of big glossy pictures and the nutritional info and the cost of the recipes, but I don't have one that it just like that. But I do have a lot of cookbooks.

I don't actually use the cookbooks. I just look at them. There's different kinds of cooking. There's the kind of cooking that people do to feel good. They spend all day preparing something so they can say, look, I made this, and everyone can tell them how much they like it. My husband likes to do that sort of cooking. There are drawbacks to this kind of cooking. You need a really good kitchen (which we don't have) and you need lots of time to cook (which he doesn't have anymore) and you need lots of fresh food (which we may or may not have) and possibly lots of cooking gadgets (which we may or may not have but probably can't find if we do have). The other drawback with that kind of cooking is that sometimes it costs so much to make something that you'd have been better off just going to a restaurant.

I don't do so much of that kind of cooking. I did more of the kind of cooking that you do just because you need something to eat and either don't have the money or the time and energy to go to a restaurant. That kind of cooking usually involves a box of macaroni, a can of tuna, and maybe a can of vegetables.

So I get out these cookbooks and I look at the pictures. Sometimes it inspires me to make something a little better than the mac and cheese with tuna and veggies. Sometimes I make mac and cheese with tuna and veggies, and then add a sprinkle of paprika and/or an herb garnish on the plate.

It's not like I've never cooked anything that didn't start with a box of macaroni. But I really don't use these cookbooks much, and even when I want to try a recipe, I don't even want to take the cookbook into the kitchen. I might make a mess and ruin the picture.

So I'm trying to go through the books and find ones that I'll never use and get rid of them. Or, at least, that I should copy the few recipes that I might use and then get rid of the rest of the book.

I just thought that was a brilliant idea. I'd get rid of a lot of books that way. And then I'd have the recipes I might actually use in a notebook where I could find them. And the recipes would be protected in plastic, so I might actually be able to take them into the kitchen.

In the past two weeks I've only managed to part with five thin books and empty like two inches of shelf space.

Maybe I'll try again later.


evil-e said...

I have only been through Iowa once. We did stop in Ames to eat and ended up running into friends for some odd reason. How in the wide world of sports did I run into people I knew in a place I had not heard of until then??

The second (post - Iowa part) reminds me of a George Carlin rant about Americans and their stuff....

I am one of those guys who could give a hoot about X-mas stuff as well. When me and the ex split, I kind of snuck all that stuff in with her stuff so I did not have to deal with it hogging up my space for my stuff.

dmarks said...

1) I stopped ordering sundaes years and years ago because they came covered in over-salted Spanish peanuts. I didn't know there was any other way.

2) There's somewhat of a market for cookbooks on eBay last time I looked a while back, if you want to get into that mess.

laughingattheslut said...

I think that a lot of sundaes come with peanuts, but chopped up peanuts that are not salted.

Better places serve them with pecans or maybe slivered almonds.

Sorry that you have never had a proper hot fudge sundae. Maybe that's something else for you to try on your next business trip.

dmarks said...

I've hated almonds pretty much all my life. Then I decided to try some in salad at a dinner party last month. They were good, so I guess I can eat almonds now. So yeah, I could go for such a sundae.

Babybull40 said...

I have never been to Iowa nor to any restaurant with Iowa in the name..... I love looking at the prettied pictures in cookbooks.. of course I could never in a million years do the same.. and the same goes for stuff you see on the Food network.. They make it look so easy.. I guess because cooking is their passion.. I love to cook but not that fancy schamcy(?) recipes.. I love to BBQ and entertain and my hubby is the cook and makes a mean Chicken on the BBQ.. Burgers and steak too..