"Belinda, what do you put into your hot apple cider?" My coworker Marirose was at my house with the rest of the team to work on our budgets for the coming year and I had assembled coffee, cold drinks and hot apple cider as well as an array of snacks to encourage us in the task. The hot apple cider in the slow cooker made the house smell like Christmas.
"I start with just apple juice," I said, and began to list off the ingredients, with my own small adaptation.
I went to the bookshelf in the kitchen that holds my collection of cook books, and pulled off the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook to show her the recipe, in case she wanted to write it down.
"I have that cook book!" said Marirose, "But my pages are all stained and the pages are falling off the ring binding."
I smiled as I turned to the page with the recipe, lying loose in the book, spattered and stained.
Marirose started flipping through the pages, showing me her favourite recipes. "Here, this one, it's my favourite broccoli casserole," she said, "Everybody asks me for this recipe." I had never noticed it.
She was bubbling over with recipes now, "This one, this square recipe--I only make it on special occasions, and children can help without it getting messed up. It's wonderful." Again, I would never have known. I have hunted for a good square recipe but never noticed that one.
"And my favourite Swiss steak is in here."
There was no end to the treasures between the pages of my old standby recipe book that I didn't know about. On the other hand, there are recipes that I return to again and again; just different ones to Marirose.
I suddenly had a funny idea for a cookbook party--a gathering of friends where we all bring our favourite cookbooks and share the recipes that we had all along but didn't know it.
It made me laugh at my own lack of logic--how once I have a new cookbook, there will be a certain number of recipes that I will return to again and again--and then tend not to explore any further. But I will buy a new cookbook. Weird eh?
And then I got to thinking that this is such a metaphor for some other areas of life. How often do we look for new and better things when all we have to do is look closer at what we already have....