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Wifey Brings Home the Bacon, er, Books

TX on Plate

My spouse took a friend of hers on a road trip this past weekend. They headed over to my mom’s place so they could all play together with a massive pile of fabric. (At least that was their excuse.) I stayed home to babysit an ailing pup, and to generally goof off, drink beer and watch WWE work on the garden and catch up on chores.

You know, husbandly duties. Since I was away most of the week.

My mom loves to rummage through the garage sales in her area, and after a few decades she’s gotten pretty good at it. She’s now teaching PJ how to find steals and deals. So rather than stay indoors and play with cloth, they went shopping early Saturday.

As soon as I heard that, I knew she’d be bringing home more stuff than she left with. And already we have a garage full of stuff we need to get rid of. Sheesh.

This time, though, wifeyperson outdid herself. Oh, I don’t mean with all the junque she accumulated: Bowls, doorknobs, fabric cutters, etc. (Doorknobs??) No, she pulled a fast one on me. She bought some cookbooks. Four of them, to be exact. And I know she doesn’t read cookbooks. This could only mean one thing.

They were meant for me! Not every spouse would spend her own garage sale money to get stuff for their Significant Other. (Hi, PJ! Thanks.)

Here’s what she scored:

How good are these trinkets? Pasta Perfection was published in Australia in 2004; it’s not in print currently, which makes the volume a collector’s item, yes? Not many such cookbooks arrive in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Belinda Jeffery has written several popular cookbooks “down under,” though. Right now, if you go online looking for this book, you can find it for about $2. It’s a pretty book, and the DVD has some interesting contents. I’ll be exploring it for quite a while, looking especially for anything zesty and for fish dishes to keep the F4F feature stocked. (These points can be said about all four books, actually.)

TX Plates

Courses has amazing photography, with a full-page picture of each recipe. If it’s true that you eat with your eyes first, then this book will certainly be filling! There are a large number of seafood recipes too. This book was also published in 2004, and is out of print. The introductions to each recipe are clearly written and very interesting. A coffee-table book designed (I think) to help Princess customers remember their on-ship dining experiences, it’ll fit right in with my oddball collection. What’s it worth? Maybe $5 at best.

Serving San Antonio came out in 2007, and it’s not your usual comb-bound, badly typeset fundraiser cookbook. No, this volume is way up-scale! A solid, hard-bound book. With San Antonio being my hometown, and a city I still enjoy visiting (often), I found this volume immediately intriguing and I began to research through it first.

The layout is clean, typography is excellent, and proofreading is thorough. There are a few pictures, all of San Antonio landmarks, scattered through the book. Also, there are occasional informational tidbits that help one grasp the culture and history of this great Texas city. Like, did you know that San Antonio still uses the aqueducts (acequias) that the Spanish built more than 400 years ago? I grew up there and didn’t know that.

The recipes are more up-scale that one might expect in a fund-raiser cookbook. I’ve already found 30+ recipes I want to try, and I’m not halfway through the book yet! The volume sells today for $40 new, and the proceeds go to several good causes supported by the Assistance League of San Antonio.

The last volume, Texas on the Plate, is the most impressive of the lot. A solid, heavy chunk of glossy paper and ink, it’s a coffe-table picture book, a volume of pure Texas cooking, and a collection of Texas history, stories and culture. The layout is outstanding, and once you dive in it’s almost impossible to close. I don’t know yet how many recipes I’ll be tempted to try, because I’m spending all my time reading the other stuff.

Buy one of these books new, it’ll set you back $35. Cheap at twice that price, in my opinion. I think it makes a great gift, especially if you know some poor Texan who’s out in the world and missing home.

Here’s the coolest feature of this haul: Wifey spent a half buck on these four books, total. And got a dime back as change! It’s the least she’s spent on me for the biggest gain (read: keeping me out of her hair) since she got me that Aggie yo-yo…

Enjoy the (Recycled Cookbooks) Heat!

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