At used book stores I always make a beeline for the cookbooks, and once I find them, I zero in on any with those terrible plastic toothed spiral spines. The ones that inevitably fail to do their job of keeping the pages together. To me that spine means the book was compiled by a school, church, charity, etc. and will most likely contain a jackpot of cramped, typed recipes with strange names and an alarming abundance of shortening, sour cream, mayonnaise, whipped topping, and cans of condensed soup.
Powerless to resist their grassroots charm, I have a large collection of these greasy-paged gems. I’ve noticed, however, that I never consider them when I am hunting for a recipe. Instead I turn to my coffee-table style cookbooks or the web, where I know I will see gorgeous photos and read dozens of reviews for every recipe. This seems unfair to my “novelty” cookbooks, so I have decided to turn to them more often in the coming months……and I am hoping they deliver.