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I am made of books (and trillions of microorganisms)

November 29, 2010

Biologist Lynn Margulis was recently quoted in the New Yorker saying “there is no such thing as an individual. Humans are walking, talking microbial vats. Nearly all the DNA in our bodies belongs to microorganisms: they outnumber our own cells nine to one.”

This can be seen as good news on two counts:

1) If there’s no such thing as an individual, it’s way easier for us to get over ourselves.

2) Evidence that it’s time for me to let go of my public doorknob phobia (currently fomenting under winter conditions).

This information also made me think of all the many collaborations that conspire to create our very (non) selves. Like Rose. She’s an amalgam of shiny pink leotards, vats of breastmilk, high fructose corn syrup longings, kicky dance moves, peanut butter flecked grins, outstretched arms.

I am made of books.

If I know how to can tomatoes and applesauce it’s because of the Ball Blue Book, which I bought at my local hardware store for $8.99 eleven years ago. If I know how to spin milk into yogurt, it’s from the cookbook Nourishing Traditions, pg. 85. If my first attempts at farmer’s cheese were a success (they were!) it was because I was guided solely by a neon green-jacketed book splattered with pink lettering (my beloved copy of Wild Fermentation!).

For this week’s San Juan Table, and in honor of the shopping season into which we’ve landed, I am sharing with you my favorite foodie books, from which I’ve gleaned information, inspiration and recipes

What are your favorite food-oriented books? What are your kids made of? And does anyone know how to cut and paste a book cover off Amazon?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 10:30 am

    I adore my River Cottage cookbooks. I have them all and they are well used and loved. I’m also an Ina Garten fan. She’s my first go-to when I look for a recipe. I’m in love with David Lebovitz; in love with his writing and recipes too! :)

    My kiddos…would eat Pop Tarts and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches daily if allowed (they’ve never had either but I *know* that would be they’re dream food! Currently, they’re made mashed sweet potatoes and fresh pears and Haggen Daz’s peppermint bark ice cream.

  2. Kathy permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:31 am

    ooh, no food books here, just antique and current history books of the Durango area…
    oh wait, I do have some food books… my old Better Homes and Gardens and The Joy of Cooking. ;)
    Sarah is made of little white donuts, chicken tenders, and french fries. I think Robin might be made of enchiladas and chili. Shame on me. ;(

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      November 29, 2010 3:00 pm

      The Joy of cooking, published before the onset of food fads, will always have a fond place in my heart. I consult it regularly.

  3. November 29, 2010 10:32 am

    …make that ‘their dream food!’ ;)

  4. November 29, 2010 11:06 am

    great list!

    we’ve been all about the meat cookbooks since i went to work at the farm. river cottage meat book…grass-fed gourmet…farmer and the grill. LOVE them all.



    ps ~ right click on the book cover photo on amazon. scroll down to properties. grab that photo’s URL. go back to your blog. insert an image. paste the URL in where it says copy from a URL (or something like that). wa-lah. picture of book on your blog.

  5. November 29, 2010 1:40 pm

    Food books: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, to name a few. I also like Nourishing Traditions, but I find her a little much at times. There are so many more, but these come to mind.

    And my older daughter is made of Magic Schoolbus Books, unfullfilled brownie cravings, toast with “white” butter, meatballs, messy craft projects, and love for her kittens.

    My younger daughter is made of bananas, small stuffed animals, shoes, necklaces, and like Rose, vats of breastmilk (seemingly more now than when she was younger…)

  6. November 29, 2010 3:56 pm

    my boys are made of starch, these days… white foods galore, of crackers and pastas abounding.
    my husband does the most of the cooking with meat and all of the books listing above… and my cookbook of choice is the Test Kitchen.
    and i walked around today thinking, i am made of books.
    it was good.

  7. November 29, 2010 6:54 pm

    Such an interesting thought! My babe is still made up primarily of breast milk, with a bit of beach sand and some veggies thrown in. I have too few food books, and may have to consider adding some of your suggestions to my list.

    Also, right click on the image in the amazon product listing, select “open image in new tab” (section option from the bottom) and then copy and paste from that tab :) At least that’s how it’s done in Chrome … hopefully your browser is similar enough that you can figure it out!

  8. Ami permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:16 pm

    My son is made of Oats and milk. Lots of milk. And at 6, were talking cow-milk…. He’s also made of dirt, and as a result, bubble baths. Me, I’m not made of books so much. I have many, and love them, but mostly, I’m made up of impromptu google searches and tea!
    As for foodie books… there ARE so many! Full Moon Feast has to be my all-time fave. Its a book about traditional foods, organized by moon. It tracks the traditional harvest moons of each food season and supplies history, stories, and recipes. I love to just occasionally open it up and see what moon we are at!
    I also love my DK book of herbs and spices. It’s so completely comprehensive and inspiring. It’s THE COMPLETE book if you ever want to dive into the beautiful world of herbs, spices, blends etc.
    I love nourishing traditions and wild fermentation as well…
    Oh! And I just got the book called POPS! It’s the BEST popsicle book I’ve ever seen! Brilliant ideas for frozen treats. Some healthy, some sinful – all yummy!

  9. Brigid permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:12 am

    Animal Vegetable Miracle
    Eating Well for Optimal Health
    Enchanted Broccoli Forest
    The James Beard Cookbook
    The Bread Bible

    My teenage son is made of the millions of faults he overlooks in others. He is made of meghan fox and katy perry lust. He is made of calm masking a moody storm beneath. He is made of daydreams and lost homework. Red Meat, Milk and Mangoes. He is made of linear equasions, fire play and baseball.
    My middle child is made of life’s adventures past, present and future and inability to turn down even one possible interesting or dangerous adventure. She is made of artistic expressions in every form. She is made of aggressive footsteps across the floor and through life. She is made of fire and hunger.
    My youngest child is made of curiosity and observation climbing into the highest cupboard. She is made of beautiful clothing and dancing and magic. She is made of flowers, the smells of the seasons and the movement of her body in water. She is made of sugar, sugar and a large amount of raw veggies. She is made of babies of all sorts; animal, human, doll, stuffed. She is made of too many gummy vitamins when mom is not looking. She is made of cute.

  10. November 30, 2010 1:42 pm

    We, too, are made of peanut butter and books, though I’m afraid I’m mostly cheesy romance. And there’s probably some MSG and BPA in us, too, but like you and the doorknobs, I’m going to try not to think about that. Or about doorknobs. Ick!

  11. November 30, 2010 10:58 pm

    way easier for us to get over ourselves.

    you are so damn fabulous. you and all your microorganisms.

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