Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in January (it seems like ages and ages ago), the lovely Kat of Our Adventures in Japan tagged me for the cookbook MEME which has made its rounds in this incredible universe of food blogs. I’m glad to finally get to it, especially because cookbooks are my favourite subject (i.e., The Overburdened Bookshelf). But before I get to the MEME, there a few items I’d like to share with you.

If you haven’t visited the Well Fed Network yet, I highly recommend you do. Well Fed is the home base for a series of blogs that deal with various subjects so near and dear to the hearts of bloggers. I’m happy to say that I will be contributing to two of those blogs:  A Nice Cuppa and Paper Palate. I’ll be learning all about tea for A Nice Cuppa and Paper Palate will finally give me the excuse that I’ve been looking for to justify the ridiculous amounts of money I spend on food publications. Take a look when you have a chance!

Dscn1321The second bit of news I wanted to share has to do with a recipe that the world needs to know about. Several months ago I was hopscotching my way through  blog world, having a great time, when I came across a post on a wonderful blog called Gastronome. The post was about a charming recipe for Rum Butter Cakes. Intrigued, I saved the recipe and tried it a few weeks later. All I’m going to say is this: YOU MUST MAKE THIS CAKE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! It’s incredible … light, buttery and not-too-sweet with the warmest hint of rum. Since finding this recipe I’ve made it about ten times. So please visit Gastronome, read the post, and enjoy one of the best cakes you’ll ever taste!

The final point I wanted to make before I get to the MEME has to do with the recipes we all share with each other. As many of you know I grew up in a family that was passionate about food. The passion displayed by the cooks in my family was equaled only by their generosity. I don’t know how many people my grandmother gave cooking lessons to. And my mom is always at the ready to share any recipe she has, even the ones that are most precious to her. This generosity is partly due to a philosophy that food and tradition are meant to be shared and passed on. But it also has to do with the pure joy you experience when someone tries a recipe of yours and ends up making something they love. Inevitably, they make the recipe their own, which is a wonderful thing indeed.

So you can imagine how happy I was to see that Anne of Anne’s Food tried a recipe for penne alla vodka that I’d given her. In characteristic brilliant Anne fashion, she made the recipe her own and produced tortiglioni alla vodka. Check out Anne’s post to see how beautiful her plate of pasta looks!

And now ladies and gentlemen, without further delay, I present the Cream Puff Cookbook MEME …

How many cookbooks do you own?

Let’s just say I own more than 100 and less than 1,000. I refuse to put the actual number in bold print for myself and the world to see. To do so would be to admit that I have a problem. I prefer to live in denial … blissful cookbook denial!

Which is the cookbook that you bought most recently?

The cookbook that I bought most recently is The Best Quick Breads by Beth Hensperger. I love her! I have several of her books including Bread for Breakfast and Bread Made Easy. Her cookbooks are clearly written and suitable for both the novice baker and for someone with a bit more baking experience.

Which is the cookbook that you read most recently?

The cookbook that I read most recently is Caramel by Peggy Cullen. I was lucky enough to find it on sale at the best book store in Toronto, The Cookbook Store. If you’re ever in the city, stop by as you will find the very best selection of cookbooks anywhere. And they always have great titles on sale.

Name 5 cookbooks that mean a lot to you.

Oh, this is a tough one. To have to choose among all my lovely babies … it’s heartbreaking but for the greater good I’ll shall try my best.  Here goes:

  1. The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan — Even though I have not tried a lot of the recipes in this book, it’s one of my most treasured cookbooks. I think that’s because when I read Hazan’s words, I feel like all the incredible cooks that I’ve known in my life are speaking to me. The book is intelligent, no-nonsense, authentic and inspiring.
  2. Soffritto by Benedetta Vitali — This is a cookbook by a woman who did not learn how to cook until she got married. She has since become one of Italy’s most beloved chefs. I love this book because Vitali’s love for her land is palpable. It’s a beautiful thing.
  3. Kaffeehaus by Rick Rogers — I love this book for the recipes. I love this book because I can almost smell the coffee roasting in all the gorgeous coffee houses in Vienna and Prague. I love this book because it makes me dream of places I have never been, but will one day get to.
  4. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating by Ari Weinzweig — This book has everything that I ever wanted to know about the condiments and foods that I love … olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cheese … Weinzweig explains how they’re made and tells you who the best producers are. Plus the recipes are incredible.
  5. Baking with Julia by Julia Child — No explanation necessary.

Should they have the time and/or inclination to share a little bit about their favourite cookbooks, I tag the following bloggers:  Tea and Cookies, Beyond Salmon, Habeas Brulee, Bron Marshall and Chaud Devant.