Friday, August 14, 2009

Pantry talk: Encouragement for the homemaking library

This post was sparked by a conversation I had recently with my son. He was telling me how his friends still talk about his graduation party last year, not only how much fun they had but that it had the "best food" of many graduation parties (most professionally catered).

Well, I had put that party together at the very last minute and mostly from the pantry. What his statement made me realize was that having stuff in the pantry alone is only part of the story... it was thirty plus years of learning and experience that made it possible to "cater my own party" (and Stephanie's wedding open house many years ago that we worked on together).

It all started long ago... as a young homemaker, I read an article that changed my life. No, really... it was that profound. I don't even remember which of the many authors I admire wrote it. What was said was this... we must view our role as homemakers in the same way we would any profession and budget time and money for "continuing education".

The author actually encouraged the watching of cooking and decorating shows (within reason, of course), as well as to build a homemaking library. She helped me realize budgeting for cake decorating... flower arranging... cooking... quilting... interior decorating... and perhaps even a few carpentry... classes was a good thing for they help me be creative and go far beyond day to day household maintenance as a homemaker.

How wonderful it was to be given permission to learn and to study... not only permission but encouragement to "sit at the feet" (so to speak) of those who have gone before me to learn how to be a creative cook... and baker... and homemaker... and home educator... and umm... gardener (we're still learning those skills). We become excellent at what we do over and over and to the extent we spend time learning the necessary skills.

Of course, classes and books read will change throughout the years. All my favorite homeschool books are now on shelves in New England. Any books I owned about raising small children are long gone. Grandmothering is different than mothering, at least when you only see your grandchildren once a year... I just hug and smootch and spoil. :)

I decided a picture truly is worth a thousand words so I went around the house snapping little sections of FIVE bookshelves. I thought they would give a good representation of my "spiritual", household, and cooking collections. As usual... they can be enlarged by clicking on them if you are really nosey... I mean curious.

I had to use the flash a few times... sorry for the reflection.









Besides books, I think cooking magazines are a real bargain in the long run and good for new cooks since they give pictures. There are so many magazines on the shelves, it is possible to find great recipes for the way each of us cooks. I like Paula... can we say butter???

I have a stack of favorites on the bottom shelf where I keep cookbooks. Below is just a representation:


I have also found gardening and decorating magazines to be very helpful. I have purchased a favorites over the years but I've found a lot on the free magazine rack at the library.

I particularly enjoy articles about how people cook, decorate, and garden in their own homes.

Added: Many of these books were purchased at library sales through the years. I've found great cookbooks at garage sales, too.

17 comments:

Clif said...

Very interesting post. I enjoyed looking at your collection of books. The first one caught my attention since I have some of the books in that one. Keep reading!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I have some of the same books, but I'm going to see if I can't get some of the others from our wonderful Akron library. You are right that having been cooking and making a home, etc. for thirty plus years gives you lots of ideas for what can be done with what.....And it is all such a joy, almost all of the time...You did a wonderful job planning what to serve for Christopher's graduation. I'm glad he realizes it!

Sue said...

How fun to see your bookshelves. I have many of the same books and love to peek at other people's collections. You will love the Ragamuffin Gospel:-)

hmsclmom@peoplepc.com said...

I too found familiar books on your bookshelves. It seems you and I share the same tastes in many areas. :)

Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I am coming to your house and camping in front of your bookshelves. !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brenda, for letting us peek at your bookshelves. I love looking at other people's books to see what we have in common. I was excited to see Watchman Nee on your shelf; I don't know anyone else besides me who has read his books.

We have several authors in common and I saw some titles that I would like to have.

Friend Debra

Brenda Jean said...

I have some of those books too:) I was straightening up my shelves today and I have SO many gardening books--more than my local library. I LOVE gardening books, but old cookbooks are a favorite too.

Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

I love to read/look at/use cookbooks!

Anonymous said...

I spied many of the books I have too :). I was surprised to see the Beverly Nye ones. I got mine at Big Lots when it was called Pic and Save. They each cost under a dollar and I bought several sets and gave them away as presents to young mothers. Thanks for the peek at your book shelfs and the super big blow ups too...that helped a lot!! :)
Yes I too read someplace about gathering books on your vocation and this author actually added if you are a homemaker that includes the many books on subjects you will need too. I started that week gathering in more earnest the books on homemaking. cooking, small household repair, budgeting and all the other things. Now I have a big library of books I don't seem to find anymore in my used stores. I am so glad I have them already. I suppose though if you know the names of the books you can buy them off the internet. But it is more to my liking to have the book in my hand to check if I want it.
As you were saying though it takes time to gather the recipes and ideas in your head to have them there when that last minute party or whatever is needed to come together. Rhonda mentioned on Down to Earth one time to have a list of very easy snacks one can make in a hurry or make ahead for unexpected guests. To have some recipes or goodies ready and what goes with it listed someplace etc would be very helpful. You've got me thinking again Brenda! :) I do have the pantry and the things but not the this goes with this for entertaining in my mind quite yet. I have a list of my easiest lunches and dinners for those times my head won't think! I don't though have other things written down or thought out...I will now though!! :) Yes I need this for easier hospitality. Again you have helped us grow! Thankyou again Brenda! Jody

DarcyLee said...

If I have passed anything down to my daughters in our homeschooling journey, I hope it is that learning is a life-long process. It doesn't stop with graduation. I am in the process of collecting more and more books as I can find them. Thank you so much for sharing your books with us.

Mama Squirrel said...

LOL: I've had a lot of the same homemaking books! (some have been passed on to others) I don't think I've ever seen anyone else "mention" Beverly Nye's books (saw them in your photograph). I found a book called "Special Teas" yesterday at a yard sale just down the street, and thought it looked like something that should be on your self.

Gumbo Lily said...

It was fun perusing your bookshelves.

Jody

Rebecca. Harlan, IN said...

I really like this post! I am most at home when surrounded by books. My shelves look very similar to yours! In spite of full shelves, I still gravitate to books when stopping at garage sales and thrift stores. I like Alexandra Stoddard's books...Edith Shaffer, too....What can I say? Mary Emmerling's decorating books and Karen Mains' Open Heart Open Home....

I'm startled by some of the lack of hospitality sensitivity and skills on the part of some in the younger generation. (Now I'm showing my age, aren't I?)

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I was just re-reading "Confessions of an Organized Homemaker". Which I see on your shelf. We have alot of the same books but I see some I don't have. I always think it's fun to see what's on people's bookshelves!

Manuela

Sherry said...

What a nice collection of homemaking books. I have my own collection of such books, too, but I must admit that I'm bettera t reading them than at putting their ideas into practice.

Raquel said...

Brenda:

I noticed several books on your shelves that also reside on mine! I have one bookshelf for my cookbooks and a small one in my office-sanctuary where resides my collection of fiction, mostly Sherlock Holmes pastiches. I am quickly outgrowing it and I need some more. I am ever collecting. I also have a constant library stack. And I don't think you can EVER have TOO many books. Your library looks very nice to me. Wishing you a great week - Much love, Raquel XO

Anonymous said...

I, too, have some of the same books on my bookshelf. You mention that you had read somewhere the benefit of educating yourself in homemaking. Well, I noticed you had Anne Ortlund's Discipline of a Beautiful Woman. If I remember correctly, she advocated collecting books in areas of your interest. Thanks to her wonderful book, I have been eliminating and concentrating for 16 years. Her book made a huge impact in my life during those early years of homemaking.... Also, I truly enjoyed your blog. The first entry I read was about the pillow you found at the thrift store. Well, that happens to be the pattern of my bedroom dressing. Thank you and continue in grace. Sonja in Cowtown.