Hope got a cookbook

At the third Christmas gathering of the year, Hope got a cookbook. It’s The Taste of Home Cookbook. She spent the evening reading it. There are Post-it notes on pages.

hope's cookbookWhy is a cookbook so compelling? Why did I just buy a new Moleskine Squared Notebook? Why did lots of people read my 8 questions about deciding what to do the other day? Why am I reading Chris’s post about building goals into plans that work?

Imagination.

Hope reads the cookbook and imagines what the food will taste like, how people will feel when eating it, how much fun it will be to carry the dessert into the Great room or the family room. I look at the blank pages and imagine what it will be like to have them filled with completed projects. You read the questions and imagine what it would be like to find some answers that matter. I read Chris’s process and imagine what it would be like to do better on next year’s 3 words than I did this year.

Imagination is a delightful thing. It can motivate us. It can comfort us.

If the point of a cookbook is imagined food, then this one has done its job.

I’m guessing, however, that cookbooks are more about feeding people than imagination.

Unless Hope gathers the ingredients and measures them into a bowl and mixes and greases and braves the heat of the oven to put the pan in and to eventually take it out and waits for it to cool and cuts and serves and someone eats, the cookbook fails.

Yes, this cookbook is designed to inspire. It’s designed to teach. It has definitions and tips and stories and equivalencies. But all of those are to help you get cooking.

The blank pages invite writing, the questions invite thinking, the explanation of plans invite me to actually do something.

I love to imagine that imagining checks something off my list.

I think it doesn’t.

As I’m looking ahead, I’m starting to write on the pages, answering my own questions, starting to fill in Chris’s wires. You’ll hear about my three words soon.

I’ll try to help you do the same.

And I’m hoping that tomorrow Hope moves beyond imagination.

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3 responses to “Hope got a cookbook

  1. Jon, I am beginning to fear that I will disagree with you one too many times and you will come to think of me as a troll. LOL!

    I love this post, and as your friend, I share your hope that Hope will bring her recipe imaginings into action. At the same time, I disagree with your assertion that a cookbook fails if it doesn’t lead in a direct way to food preparation. Most cookbook authors are aware that they have legions of readers who will never actually try their specific recipes yet garner immense enjoyment from reading them and cooking them and even eating them in their imaginations! This is a very creative process even if it is only creative thought.

    But, as I said, I hope that Hope will actually do some cooking. Baking, that is. Cookies. And I hope you will share them with me.

  2. perhaps we should differentiate between cookbooks as entertainment media and cookbooks as tools. The former benefits the reader, the latter the eater. The former is consumed, the latter produces consumables. Both have value.

    But if my journal is about having a journal rather than using it, then I cannot brag about having thought, I can only brag about having an object.

    And the thinking? At least for my work, that’s what I want to invite. (though I am happy to have some readers, too).

    And you? a troll? never, dear friend.

  3. Pingback: My Three Words for 2010 | CultureSmith Consulting