This past week has been way too busy at work. And I’ve come home feeling tired and uninspired. But I’m taking vacation this week, and hope to recharge my batteries. Or just decide that they no longer hold any charge and it’s time to get new ones.
With worries about Memorial Day crowds, we decided to hold off leaving town until Monday, the end of the weekend. But after spending Saturday taking care of yard and housework, the itch to hit the road hit and we started packing to leave a day early. Sunday morning we finished our packing and loading up the bikes, and headed off for a week exploring Washington state’s North Cascades and San Juan Islands.
Our destination the first night was Darrington, Washington. Dave had a temporary job with the forest service here long ago, before he met me, and he’s longed to return and see what it looks like now. I’d checked the maps, and saw that a hike Erin had highly recommended was on the way, so we stopped at Lake 22. While the weather was drizzly, the scenery was still spectacular and we enjoyed exploring the area. After a climb that included some talus slopes that I found challenging, we reached the lake. Ah, beauty! I loved all the waterfalls spilling down the rock cliffs into the snow remaining on the sides of the mountain.
We got up this morning to more rain but decided not to let it “dampen our spirits”. We chose an easy hike for our day’s destination and headed to nearby Big Four Ice Caves. It’s too early to see the ice caves, but what we did find was amazing. It was raining pretty steadily, which probably only intensified all the waterfalls on the rock face.
While we returned to the car pretty drenched, I was in high spirits. Such beautiful surroundings! When it came time for dinner, we searched for local restaurants. Last night we’d succombed to frozen dinners from the mini-mart cooked in the motel microwave as the only restaurant in town was already closed when we pulled into town at 6:30 pm. Wow, they roll up the sidewalks early in this place! But we did check out the “bakery cafe pizza place” for dinner tonight, and I enjoyed the simple meal. The pizza crust was like I would like to make – if only I had a really hot oven.
But it got me to thinking about where the recipes I use come from. TOG (Thanks, Uncle Dick for continued inspiration that you probably never realized you provided) passed along once something along the line that if there was even one good recipe that you liked and made from a cookbook, it was worth having that cookbook. That thought has helped me over the years, as I have gotten multiple cookbooks. I always love initially having a new cookbook, and sitting with it reading through recipes, thinking about which ones I’d like to try. And realizing that I usually never get around to trying most of them. But I always reach to certain cookbooks when it’s time to make certain recipes. For example, a Williams-Sonoma cookbook inspired me to try adding brocolli to macaroni and cheese, something that had never occurred to me, and now that’s how I always make it. I have a Quilter’s Cookbook that I draw my chocolate chip cookies from. It goes on and on. I think that’s good fodder for future blogs – feature a favorite cookbook and what it has led me to cook. But since I’m on vacation, that will have to wait until I return home.
But it reminds me of an article I read recently wondering about the future of cookbooks now that you can go on the internet and find whatever recipe you want. Here’s what the author said:
“I hardly miss the recipes in my books. Strangely enough, I miss more peripheral things. Books are almost pitifully ill equipped for combat duty in the kitchen. Their dust jackets rip, their pages stain and their bindings break. Now that they might be going away forever, all these little frailties make me love them.
You bounce around in these books, browsing the index for, let’s say, roasted asparagus. Along the way the author says you should always, always peel asparagus. (Or maybe she says this is the one thing you must never do to asparagus.) Commandments are delivered from the mountaintop. Sisterly advice is dispensed. Outrageous suggestions are casually dropped. And before you know it, you’ve absorbed a whole sensibility, an approach to cooking that comes from a particular cook in a particular time and place.
There’s never been anything like the Internet for helping us find what we want. But when it comes to finding what we didn’t know we wanted, print is magic.”
I think I agree.