This is a special memory from my own childhood.
I think I was 9 or 10 when I bought my very first book. I’d had lots of book when I was little. One of my favorites was a Golden book about a bear who tried to steal honey. He jumped in the lake to escape the bees but he left his nose out so that he could breath and ended up with a very swollen nose.
However, the first book I remember buying for myself with my very own money was Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cook Book. I got it and a beautiful fairy tale book at the book fair. It was my first book fair and it took me hours to pick out those books. The room was huge and there were so many choices. I had a hard time making up my mind what to buy! But, I think even at that age I had figured out that if I wanted to survive I had better learn to cook! When my mom and Dad would fight, she wouldn’t cook. That was often! Later when they divorced, she gave up cooking completely. I think the fairy tale book was so I could escape reality!
I don’t know what became of the fairy tale book but I used that Dinner for Two Cook Book for years. My favorite recipe in it was for shrimp curry! I also don’t remember when that cookbook went missing. I do remember telling Jenna about the book and that it had been my favorite. Being the awesome child that she is she went out and found me a copy of it at one of the used bookstores she frequents. I was so touched but it is typically Jenna!
In 1998, my sister passed away from complications due to Lupus. We had not been friends for a very long time by then, in fact, we seldom spoke. A few weeks after her death her partner brought me a box of her things that he thought I would like to have. One of the things in that box was my Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cook Book. I was flipping through my original copy this morning noticing how much more well used it was, complete with lots of stains on page 165. There tucked between pages 164 and 165 was a post it note with my sister’s writing on it and a couple of other items she had clipped from magazines. I had been surprised that she had the book but even more surprised to find she had used it. She was a much better cook than I will ever be. She liked to take on complicated and spicy recipes.
Now I have two copies of the book to cherish.