Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘garage sales’

At any given point I usually have at least three or four cookbooks in a stack by my bedside. This week’s selection includes Shelley Adams’ Whitewater Cooks: pure, simple and real creations from the Fresh Tracks Café, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Patricia Wells’ Vegetable Harvest, and my latest fun acquisition, Edna Staebler’s Food that Really Schmecks. Mennonite Country Cooking.

I tend to read cookbooks like other people read magazines. At night, and sometimes in the morning, I will go through each of them slowly, hovering over beautiful photographs and interesting stories, usually marking off pages with bits of scrap paper or sticky notes; highlighting the recipes I want to try next and making notes of some helpful tips and techniques. After a few days I will carefully put them back in their designated bookshelf or stack, and pick out a few more.

They are my escape. But also, my inspiration.

From these books, I have learned to become not only a better cook, but a more relaxed one. Cooking has become my way of de-stressing – a mindful practice that starts long before I enter the kitchen. It begins with the hunt for new and interesting cookbooks. And by new, I mean new to me. I prefer to find cookbooks in thrift stores, garages sales, used bookstores, as well as at garage sales and church rummage sales. I especially like it when someone has already marked off their favourite recipes with notes and suggestions. This way I know which recipes to try first.

I also enjoy attending cookbook launches where the author is present and I can purchase their latest book. I love hearing their stories first hand as well as learning about their personal journey with the publishing process. I am usually the one in the back with my hand up asking a bunch of questions. Which recipes stand out most to you and why? Do you have a favourite cookbook (other than your own), and if so which ones and why?

The last question usually leads me on another hunt if I don’t already have the cookbook they mention. From them I have learned about highly respected cookbook authors such as Patricia Wells, Paula Wolfert and Judy Rodgers. And sometimes the answers are surprising and fun. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Yotam Ottolenghi when he came to Vancouver to promote his latest cookbook Simple. When I asked him what his favourite cookbook was, without hesitation he said “Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat.” I have a few of her other cookbooks, but not this one. So a new mission is afoot!

Yotam Ottolenghi Book Signing 2018

And all of this has further deepened my love affair with cooking and cookbooks.

With so many recipes and cooking information available on the web, I am often asked why I still bother to purchase cookbooks. My answer is simple, I don’t believe that print is dead. Especially when it comes to cookbooks, new and old.

Although you can go online to find just about any recipe, it doesn’t give the whole story. A digital search works just fine when in a hurry as it is efficient and practical, but it lacks the piece that provides the context and the extra bits of information that I love so much. And where would I put my sticky notes?

Working on cataloguing my cookbook collection.

Good cookbooks evoke a sense of place and time, providing us with a picture of how people live. They preserve traditions and recipes, capture stories, and are entertaining. They also encourage us to find our own voice in the kitchen. This has certainly been true for myself.

I will continue to add to my rather large collection of cookbooks while also finding new and wonderful recipes to try. There is always room by my nightstand for at least one more!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It used to be that thrift shopping was seen almost as a bad thing. Fortunately times have changed and not only is it now considered to be both economical and fun, for some it has even become a sport!

April - May 2009 St. Phillips Rummage

Here below is my overview of all the different places to score some terrific and thrifty finds. Each is a bit different and you should tailor your thrift shopping to suit your own style and needs. But, if you have an opportunity to check them all out it could be well worth your while.

  1. Free Stuff
    Classifieds: This is by far the most economical option. Check your local papers and Web sites such as Craigslist and UsedVancouver for people looking to give stuff away. You could be pleasantly surprised by what you can find. Always a good idea to check those sections often as they do change regularly.
    Community Clean Ups: Many communities have a few days a year that they set aside for people to pile all their unwanted items in their driveways/yards. It stays out for a few days before being picked up, allowing the true thrift enthusiast time to check it out. What is left over is picked up by the sanitation workers and sent to the dump. Good to get there early as the good stuff gets picked over quickly.
    Neighbourhood Giveaways: For those areas that do not have the community pick ups, people will often leave stuff in their laneway/lobby/yards with a little sign that is usually labeled “free”. This is a common practice in many areas and apartment buildings. Don’t feel embarrassed about picking stuff–you are saving it from hitting the landfills and extending its shelf life a little longer. If it is not happening in your area, start the trend and see what happens.
    Exchange Parties: These are becoming more popular with women wanting to find some creative ways to swap clothing and accessories but could be adapted for all sorts of stuff.  Check out my post on how to host your own Clothing Exchange Party.
    Dumpster Diving: Now this is not for everyone, but you never know what you can find in the dumpsters behind large apartment buildings.
  2. Garage Sales
    The next level up from the free stuff is the garage sale. In general, you can often find what you are looking for at a great price. However, types of items and prices may vary depending on which part of town you are in. Check your local classifieds, garage sale listings, and local signage out on weekends for where to go.
  3. Classifieds
    Both the daily and smaller community newspapers have classified sections where people will post a variety of items for sale, usually reasonably priced. Many other publications also have a classified section in print and online. Again, sites like Craigslist and UsedVancouver offer a huge selection of items in many different categories and people will often post photos of the items.
  4. Flea Markets/Swap Meets
    Although some are held year round, most of these sales occur in the spring and summer months. This is another terrific place to find a great deal on what you are looking for. Here people rent out tables or space to sell their wares. Again, depending on where you go you can pretty much find almost anything this way at a great price. Check out Market Market on this site for links to a variety of local markets.
  5. Rummage, Church, and School Sales
    These are usually held as fundraisers and items are always donated–keeping the prices quite reasonable. Because proceeds will benefit the organization, people usually donate quality items. Best to get there early or near the end of the day when prices are reduced to sell. Fall and spring are when you see most of these sales showing up in the classified sections of your local papers.
  6. Thrift Stores
    Here items are also donated, but because this is a storefront the prices will be a bit more. In general though, you can still find some terrific deals that will be less than the secondhand or consignment stores. Some or all of the proceeds are usually donated to a charity.
  7. Auctions
    Although not typically associated with thrift shopping, some auctions have one day a week that they set aside for items that are of lesser value and can’t be sold at the Estate Auctions. Here you can find some incredible deals, often for under $25. But sometimes you need to buy things in bulk to get access to the true treasures.
  8. Friends and Families
    We often forget to check in with friends and families to see if they might have what we are looking for. It never hurts to ask around as often friends and family will just give stuff away.

Read Full Post »