I’ve always really liked cooking and never really found it a problem to prepare a proper meal just for myself. So when years ago, I moved to Utrecht to indulge myself in the real student life, I continued this pattern of cooking proper meals. My roommate even thought of me as quite the culinary type, only because I took the trouble to chop separate vegetables for whatever meal I was making.
Having said all of the above, I however, wasn’t really all that much into cookbooks. I guess it felt like a ‘waste’ of money to pay 25 euros or more for a nice cookbook while you could have 2 to 3 English novels for the same amount of money. I was a poor student, so I guess I had to spend my money wisely, so literature it was. This is a shame however, because cookbooks are awesome! Luckily, I had a change of heart over the past year-and-a-half and I can now call myself the proud owner of a (still quite tiny) collection of actual cookbooks.
My love for cooking, and more specifically baking, has grown even more after the Great Dutch Bake Off, and – of course – the Great British Bake Off. For a whole wonderful weekend I was hooked and absorbed everything that had anything to do with too much gluten and any other technical term that involved baking bread and other stuff. I cried when youngest baker Martha cried – she didn’t do too well on a challenge – and just wanted to hug her over and over again. When Norman wasn’t being adventurous enough throughout his bakes I just wanted to shout: “Don’t try to be a wee bit original, BE original, you can do it Norman, I believe in you!!! Don’t’ let me down!!!” but he did. Oh, and that moment when Iain threw his ice cream cake in the bin… I felt his pain and frustration, but on the other hand I also wanted to slap him and tell him that he shouldn’t be such an idiot. Frustrations, frustrations, that’s what baking is like, and also watching the Great British and Great Dutch Bake Off.
So yes, cooking and baking, it’s all fun and stuff, and definitely part of what I like to call my bookish life. Working in a big bookstore also means selling lots of cookbooks and being aware of the latest trends. So I’ll just give you one of my biggest cookbook loves: Donna Hay. I know, it’s not very original. But Donna Hay is just a boss. She taught me how to bake and I love her for it. Without her I wouldn’t have appreciated the Great Dutch/British Bake Off as much as I did a few weeks ago. Therefore, I have a new motto: Who needs a Dr. Oetker mix when you have Donna Hay?
So, the moral of this column? Buy more cookbooks! They’re so much fun.
Maritza Dubravac is our new columnist, writing about her bookstore life. Besides organizing the YA book club with us, she’s a mean cook and bakes the free tasties for those evenings. She also writes for Books & Bubbles, Hebban.nl about books and sometimes dabbles in food writing at Nadelunch.com.