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.