Addictive Habits

One of these things is not like the other!

It is said that turning a blind’s eye to a loved one’s addiction is the equivalent of enabling the behavior. While I’m sure that’s true, I nonetheless have no misgiving in absolving myself for any blame in the tale I’m about to share with you.

First, however, a negligible concession: I acknowledge the underlying cause/effect relationship in the food creations that my lovely wife conjures up in the kitchen, and my vigorous appetite to also consume them. It’s really a rather simple compact: she invents, and I eat.

Regardless, the amoeba-like growth of cookbooks taking over our home has absolutely nothing to do with me. I’ve neither encouraged nor discouraged this accumulation. Yet books seem to arrive at our door with regularity from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Abe’s Books, etc.

If anything I blame our local public library for all of this.

Heresy!,” I now hear many of you hissing out there in disapproval. Please, stay calm. Allow me to explain.

Regular readers of this blog will recall from posts during last year’s shutdown when I chronicled how Gorgeous acted forthrightly and fearlessly to crusade on behalf of the economy. As stores closed their doors, she made it a mission to help keep as many of them afloat with sustained online stimulus injections. Brands I had never even heard of (i.e. Penzeys) were suddenly appearing in our pantry to sit alongside the corn flakes. Some of you might possibly remember the large case of canned organic pumpkin from that same time period (cans of it still exist; look for a flash sale at some future date). Local FedEx and UPS delivery drivers even waved to us when we’d see them at traffic light intersections around town. We felt patriotic.

As things began to open up again, or as we in Florida like to rhetorically ask, “Pandemic? What Pandemic?,” we cheered when that also included our public library. For me, ever the thrifty retiree who takes great pride in not subscribing to either Netflix nor HBO, it meant I could again borrow DVDs of shows that everyone had talked about six to eight months prior. For Gorgeous, it was the chance to see what new cookbooks arrived.

This is where we’re each very different creatures. Where I see the library as a way of avoiding having to spend any of my own money, she views the place as a kind of influencer to help decide whether she wants to make a later purchase. My unscientific study of her growing cookbook collection concludes that at least 50% of it came from library books she borrowed. [An aside to publishers and public library branch managers: “You’re welcome.”]

I knew we had entered an uneasy new phase when she excitedly looked over a book after a recent visit to the library, and immediately decided to start shopping for a copy to have of her own. It was then that the online store she was visiting recognized that this would be her second purchase of the same title. Sure enough, a quick check of her own collection showed that the same book was happily sitting on a bookshelf in her office. That moment is memorialized in the picture at the top of this post, where Gorgeous is holding both her copy and the local library’s.

As I snapped additional photos with my phone of just her collection in her office (there are more in the kitchen), alert readers might see yet another instance of second duplicate book.

As a full disclosure, I should probably admit to having similar sins of my own. A quick perusal in my office closet discovers that I own duplicate vinyl and CD recordings of King Crimson’s “In The Court of the Crimson King,” Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” Genesis’ “Three Sides Live,” Brian Eno’s “Before and After Science,” and one hardcover and softcover each of Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four.”

He who casts the first stone, after all. So what’s a few eccentricities between friends?

So many of us have had to metaphorically put our passions on steroids over the last year in order to get through all that time staying at home. Whether it’s binge-watching, cooking, collecting, or some other new or rediscovered pastime, it’s all been about finding a way to wait-out that return to “normal.” The pre-covid passions have been kept on ice, but hopefully all of that is about to change; at least incrementally anyway because of those stubborn variants.

Both of us have received our second vaccine shots. While we’re still avoiding restaurants for now, we are contemplating a return to our gym as early as next week. We recently ran into a woman in the grocery store whom we know from the gym, and she gave us reassurances about her own experiences there lately. Mandated mask rules and distancing between machines seems to be accepted and followed. So returning to that routine will be something we can’t wait to restart.

As for Gorgeous and her cookbook addiction? I forced her to attend a 12-step program designed by yours truly…

Until next time…

40 thoughts on “Addictive Habits

  1. When we downsized I swore I downsized my cookbook collection. However, every time I open a box, it’s more books, mostly cookbooks. I cook the same stuff all the time but I have a lot of creative cookbooks. Too bad I don’t live nearby. I would volunteer to be a taste tester for Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She is gorgeous, and if I were you I would thank my lucky stars she likes to cook. I must admit to acquiring duplicate titles, but I am cheap. It has happened when I have gone to our library book fairs – pre-covid. I am looking forward to the day when our library has book fairs again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. By an odd coincidence, “gorgeous” is what my wife calls me — which, in my old age, I would take as lovingly pulling my leg….except, I suspect it might be in retaliation for me calling her Madame Big Butt (why she would take offense at that, I have no idea).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do like a good cookbook. I can lose myself in one and they’re much easier to come by than tranquilizers. I’m pleased to know you’ve both had your shots. Going to the gym? Honestly there’s nothing I dislike more, but *hey* you do you. When I’m fully vaccinated there will be martinis involved.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed, Laura! From election results, newly restrictive election laws, packed bars and spring break gatherings, denial is rampant. Good luck to both of you with that second shot. It made both of us a little light headed for about two hours or so, but it went away after that. I had a sore arm for about 72 hours, but Gorgeous had none.

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  5. Congrats on your vaccines! I use to collect books and enjoy seeing them on the many bookcases throughout the large home we had. When we downsized, one of the things to go were the books and the cases. We adopted our local library, and haven’t looked back. This week, we saw some friends from out of town, and we discussed books because they had just moved. He is busy building book cases to hold his large collection that is currently in a storage unit. His strong feelings for his books were palpable. Books – they are a wonderful thing whether you collect or return them. 🙂

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    1. I was your friend in an earlier part of my life. I thought being a librarian meant it was required I had to have a large book collection. But two cross country moves (and many in between), taught me to scale everything back. Now I’m more like you. I suspect so many cookbooks are a reaction to the last year of being so much at home, and that many of them might be “repurposed” in a few years. But for now, all things considered, it’s a harmless extravagance. Or so my stomach thinks. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Some might say I have a lot of cookbooks even though they all fit on one small shelf unit. I’ve had some for years that I never look at. I really should look at them regularly because it’s easy to get in a cooking rut. I have to confess I’ve gone a little crazy buying card making supplies this past year and have accidentally accumulated a few duplicates. Oh well. Could be worse, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I stand with Gorgeous on this one. The ladies at the local postal office, where I redirect my Amazon purchases whenever I can, know my name and no longer ask for photo ID. It makes me sad that on that great future day when I can come in without a mask they will no longer know me. 😫 😉

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not only is Gorgeous, smart, talented, and likes to cook, she’s a good sport. I’m thinking you’ve really got a good thing going here, Marty! How much did you say you were tipping her for haircuts??? I volunteer in a thrift shop non-profit and have a customer that routinely buys all the cookbooks. HE says he’s a collector, but I’m thinking he is selling them to Gorgeous on line!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol I bet he’s the one, Tracey! I do have a good thing going for sure. And, no, I still haven’t upped those tips! Now that we’ve had our second shots, she’s letting me know I can return to the barber shop. 🙂

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  9. I would go insane. I have one book, one dictionary and one Bible that belonged to my grandmother. For almost forty years, I lived with books. Books…books…..EVERYWHERE! I even stored some under bathroom sinks.
    I returned all of the thousands of books to you know who. I would have never destroyed, damaged or given them away, and for some unknown reason, I actually have a reverence for books…as long as I don’t have to house them. I would rather chew glass than read a book. I never owned a cookbook, but I was a pretty good cook, but now…I would rather swallow that chewed up glass than cook!
    What an odd bird I am. LOLOLOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An odd bird but also an interesting on, Laurel! 😉 I once had a huge library, but I must admit it felt good to get rid of most of them. I kept a few that are either meaningful or ones I might wish to read again. But in the main, when I buy one now I move it along quick to either a resale shop or a friend. I no longer am a collector!

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      1. I will admit that I was a collector of fabric. I would warrant the pieces far exceeded the number of books, but they took up far less room…and like I told the ex, who was constantly ridiculing me for not reading…after you read a book, there is nothing but your own satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which you may or may not share…but when I spend the same amount of time in my sewing room, I can show you a quilt that can be shared with everyone and will last a lifetime.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m trying to downsize my cook book collection in the move. (note I said trying!!) I never cook from them at all – I look to magazines and on-line sites for new recipe’s to try. Why do I think I need cookbooks at all? Yet, I have 2 bookshelves of cookbooks. So weird!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. debscarey

    On an earlier move, I pared back my cookbook collection (as well as my art books but that’s another story) which seemed the sensible thing to do as I rarely get into the kitchen these days. Since our most recent move, Himself has full charge & custody of the kitchen, so I kept back only those cookbooks which I like to read – the ones which contain a story along with recipes, and I’m afraid I have added to collection since the paring back 😉 I hold my hand up to the fact that my books are well out of hand, despite reading pretty much all my fiction on Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can really relate, Deb. I’ve moved so much in my life for work (i.e. two cross-country moves and lots in between) that possessions as such always took a hit at packing time. My only cookbook is one I took from my parents home after my mother’s death (loved her annotations with the very questionable measuring amounts, i.e.: “glass of flour, half a mug of sugar.” 🙂 Most of the other books in my library are saved because of sentiment; everything else gets moved on!

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  12. I do recall the organic pumpkin tale, Marty. As a result of your post, I immediately went out and bought two tins of organic pumpkin. Thanks for reminding me how they are still sitting in my cupboard. I can see both points of view on the library conundrum. …our passions on steroids….good one. We have a few of our own.

    I love, love, love your video!!! Made my day! Thank Gorgeous for me for sharing and putting up with (oops, I mean doting on you, Marty)🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read your comment aloud this morning during our morning, and we both started laughing hard about the organic pumpkin cans. Gorgeous said at the time she remembers buying them because they were all out in the stores — every can of vegetable and fruit were slim pickings, and the baking aisle was as bare as the toilet tissue one! She said she made one batch of muffins, and now like you we have all these cans. I suspect we’ll keep a few but donate to an upcoming food drive since the expiration date isn’t for another year or so.

      re: the video. My initial plan was to delete the video after two weeks, but that you have such a positive reaction to it makes me to just keep it now. I suppose it does add for a nice coda at the end.

      Dote to your heart’s content, Erica! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Entire post hilarious, yet Gorgeous voice and (slight) attitude to it all made my day! You have inspired me to possibly take a ‘short’ video of my husband’s ‘long’ covid hair before he cuts it (after vaccines)(if he allows me). My brother is envious of his “long flowing locks” and yesterday a neighbour called him “Fabio” ……😷

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Now, that’s a LOT of cookbooks. Recently I’ve been getting rid of my cookbooks because I notice I’m using my cell phone and Google more (like: skinless boneless chicken breast recipe… and 20 different ones pop up on my phone). However, I do have three boxes of index recipes from my mom and grandmother and from me back in the …. well, back a few decades. I love them those recipes the most. Your wife is Gorgeous and yay for her and her cookbooks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice of you stop by, Pam. Yes, she does have a lot of cookbooks. A long, long time ago I proposed a rule that for every new one she got, she would get rid of an old one. The amazing thing is that she agreed to it… and it actually lasted one whole time. It’s remembered by me only. 🙂

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