A week or two ago, I was composing my usual grocery list + meal plan for the week, when I decided I wanted to make a specific sweet-and-spicy salad dressing recipe from Vegetarian Planet.
Now that all my books are unpacked, I got up and strolled over to my cookbook shelf.
Only it wasn’t there. And the more I looked, the more horrified I became: loads of cookbooks were missing.
I checked every box I had packed books into, every cabinet in which I might have stuck a small box of books — I even called up the moving company to see if they still had it.
I knew some of the books could easily be replaced, but others?
The elementary school fundraiser cookbook that had belonged to my grandmother (and noted where the recipes my cousins submitted were).
The first cookbook I ever made things from, inscribed to me by my mom’s sister.
The hand-written church cookbook with recipes for things like “hamburg steak” and no less than three different old-fashioned recipes for hermit cookies (with “raisons”).
Well, I’m not ashamed to admit I sat down and cried. And then I ate some cheez puffs (this helped a lot). And then I thought about it… what had I lost, really? Just some books.
I didn’t lose the thrill of baking something amazing for the first time or the memory of having people tell me they loved what I’d made. I lost a piece of paper with a couple words she’d written on it, but I didn’t lose anything my grandmother told me or how important she made me feel that my eight-year-old self was in charge of making the raisin sauce when she made a ham.
In the end (if you didn’t guess by the title of this post), I did eventually find the cookbooks under a bunch of file folders, in a big box I hadn’t searched. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have them back but at the same time, I know now: it’s just stuff.
Having it is nice, but not having it isn’t the end of the world either.