My First Book

Grandma Kc wrote this on August 30th, 2014 20 Replies

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!

Collage of the 2 Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two Cook Book

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. Notes and recipes that I found in my cookbook 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.

2 copies of Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two Cook Book

1958 – First Editions

Now I have two copies of the book to cherish.

20 thoughts on “My First Book

  1. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    What a special story. While reading this, I tried to remember my first book, but I can’t. I remember going to a second-hand bookstore with my Mom and being able to buy books but that was when I was a teenager. I love books – I’m on first name basis with the ladies at my local library.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Growing up we didn’t have a local library. You had to go to to Hillsdale about 6 miles away and we didn’t get to go there often. And there certainly was no used book store! That is one of the thing about southern California – there are both new and used bookstores everywhere.

      Reply
  2. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    What a surprise that must have been to receive your cookbook back. And Jenna is so great and kind to have found a copy of the book for the meantime. (I am pretty sure I had that book at some point; it looks incredibly familiar. I’ll be searching my cookbooks — of which there are many — now.)

    I can’t recall the first book I purchased for myself. I do recall purchasing two paperbacks for my mother’s birthday, though — two that *I* wanted to read (Audrey Rose and a holocaust memoir. Yeah, I had weird taste. I don’t know that Mom ever read them, but I sure did.)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I remember reading Aubrey Rose! I loved those kind of books but being a bit older than you I actually bought them for myself!

      Reply
  3. Joyce

    How simple life was back then! When I was that age I received a Betty Crocker cookbook (but not this one) as a birthday gift from a friend. It was my favorite even though I don’t think I ever used it!
    I can see Jenna being so thoughtful. What a surprise! My mother told me about a first reader she used at school. I always looked for it for her – without success. She said the first page had a picture of clouds. I have a few old copies of the Bobbsey Twins books she loved so much and introduced us to.
    I’m so glad you have two special copies of your first book selection!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Jenna loves to collect old cookbooks and yesterday I realized these are over 50 years old — how is that possible? I am glad I have them both and I think eventually Jenna and Amara will each end up with them.

      Reply
  4. Sandy Siegel

    I don’t remember buying my first book, but I do remember the first book I read by myself. It was Clifford the Big Red Dog. I remember reading it to my Grama while she did the dishes. The memory is so vivid that I can almost hear my own voice reading, smell the amazing smells that were always in Grama’s kitchen, and see her smiling as she listened to me read to her.

    How sweet of Jenna to search for & find your beloved cook book, and how wonderful that you ended up with your own copy back. I really doubt that Judy was a better cook than you – you are amazing in the kitchen. I’m sure you were equally as good as she was.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Oh Sandy! I am so glad my story brought back such a wonderful and vivid memory for you. I hope when Amara and Kendie grow up they will have these kind of memories of us!

      Judy really was the better cook. She however did not know how to clean up after herself nor did she think she needed to bother, made me insane when we were growing up. But she was the better cook. She had all kinds of cookbooks and collected cooking equipment. She was into growing her own herbs before it was trendy and loved discovering new spices. She did NOT like to bake! That was my arena!

      Reply
  5. Launna

    How awesome you got your first book back Kc :-) It’s so great to look back at those old books. I bought my first cook book at 16, I’ve bought a few since then but I always use the old cookbook first :-)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Cookbooks are like picture books for me. I could spend hours going through them and drooling! I love trying new recipes, too. I guess learning to cook out of necessity was a good thing!

      Reply
  6. Rhonda

    It’s wonderful that your original book was returned and you were able to see that it was loved. I can see you passing a copy to your granddaughter.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I think Jenna should get one and the other can go to Amara! I will let them fight over who gets which one!

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    I love this book! My friend Laura let me borrow her old cookbooks to look though a few months ago. Was there a recipe for a half and half pie, like chocolate and vanilla? So cute.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It is a really wonderful book with a section on how to set the table, what table cloth to use, how to arrange the flowers in the vase, etc. It is a glimpse back as all of the illustrations are of very thin young ladies wearing high heals while they cook!

      Reply
  8. Stephanie Faris

    Oh wow. What a great surprise to find that note. My cousin has a bunch of cookbooks that belonged to my grandmother, who passed away in the late 90s. Just looking through those books was amazing–seeing my grandmother’s own personal notes and such. Most people use the internet for recipes now, so they won’t have things like that to pass on to younger generations.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I find it interesting that Jenna collects old cookbooks and yet has this humongous database of recipes and is always searching the internet for new ones, too! Still there is something about sitting down and paging through those old cookbooks. All the wonderful advice and cooking tips make it extra special. You don’t get that with online recipe sites.

      Reply
  9. KImberly

    I don’t ever remember such a thing as a book fair until my own were in school. Course, here in the Midwest, it takes things awhile to reach us. I do remember that I was in sixth grade when I learned about the public library. It remains one of my most favored destinations.
    My mom gave me a Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that I nearly wore out. I bought a new one and was dismayed that a couple of recipes were not there. What? Thankfully, I still had the battered, smeared and stained pages and laminated them.
    Hmm, I wonder why your sister had and was using a beloved cookbook of yours. Sad, but glad you got it back.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am not sure but I think that book fair was held in conjunction with the new elementary school opening on the other side of town but I am not sure. I tried to research it but with no luck. I got the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook when I got married and I have given that cookbook to at least half a dozen brides. It is a wonderful cookbook.

      Reply

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