Sunday, November 07, 2004

Mondays with Maida



I’ve written before about what a great book Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies is – last week when I made her Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples and back in August when I made her Plain Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies and Cobblestones. Please indulge me once more as I tell you a little more about what this book means to me.

The copy I have is from the eighth printing in October, 1982. I assume I purchased my copy either in 1982 or 1983. I don’t remember what other cookbooks I had then, but I’m pretty sure this was among the first. I was living in an apartment then and I don’t think my cookbook collection had yet swelled anything close to its present size. This book quickly became my favorite and cookies became “my thing”. My copy of the book is well worn and well loved. It falls open to page 193 (the best sugar cookie recipe) and other favorites with little coaxing. Over the next couple of years I gave copies to my mom, my sister, my great aunt, and my future sister-in-law. When my youngest brother got married, this book was no longer in print, so I had to give my sister-in-law-to-be a new Maida Heater cookie book.

A few months ago I discovered Jessica’s Biscuit and found that they have copies of Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies. I snapped up five copies – one has gone to my youngest brother and sister-in-law, another to my brother Bob, and three are stashed away in a box under my bed. Two of these copies are for my nieces, Christina who is 6 years old and Cassidy who is not quite 5 months old, and the last is just in case. Actually, now I’m thinking I should have bought a few more!

I’ve got a number of favorites that I make from time to time, but haven’t tried many new recipes from the book in quite a while. After making the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples last week I got thinking… I’d love to make all the cookies in this book (I counted and there are a little over 150). My plan is to start at the beginning of the book and work my way through it, making approximately one batch of cookies every week. I haven’t quite worked out what I’ll do with all the cookies, but I think it will be a lot of fun. I also really like the idea of documenting this project through my blog – I don’t know how long my blog will be around, but I’d like to think that Cassidy and Christina will be able to read it when they start making cookies from there own copies of the book.

By the way, the recipes in Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies were reprinted in 1997, along with cookie recipes from two of her other books, in Maida Heatter’s Cookies. This book is still in print and is available from Amazon. I got the book out of the library and the recipes that I’ve compared are virtually identical, though it doesn’t have the charming illustrations found in the older book.

Please join me tomorrow and every Monday for cookies from Maida Heatter!

17 comments:

Zarah Maria said...

I love that idea Cathy! And thanks for the link to the new print - after reading about the book I got all sad that I would probably never be able to own it - now I have a chance...

Brian W said...

Are there any recipes you've made from the book that just didn't work out? That's the kind of dirt I like to get on cookbooks--what to avoid, either because of a typo in the measurements or an obviously untested recipe that was slipped in as filler or whatever.

Anonymous said...

How exciting and a great new reason to look forward to Mondays! I'm sure you'll have me ordering the book in no time. I just recently got the new King Arthur Cookie Companion and may just have to join you on some Mondays. I don't think I'm ambitious enough to get through them all, but maybe with time. Can't wait for your first post, hopefully yet tonight!

Alice

Cathy said...

Zarah - if you're interested, you can still get a copy of the old book through Jessica's Biscuit (follow the link for the old book). I love the old book with its great drawings by Maida Heatter's daughter, Toni Evins.

Brian - don't worry, if I have a problem with a recipe I'll tell you about it! Actually, if you read the next post you'll see there was a little timing problem...

Alice - Oooh - I can't wait to hear about your new book! I've asked for that for Christmas, but if I don't get it I'll definitely be going shopping after Christmas!

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

I went to the link at Jessica's Biscuit. Is the book that you purchased the 1990 publication?

Cathy said...

Reid - I checked one of the copies I just bought from Jessica's Biscuit - it is the March 1990 printing of the 1977 book. It is the same book I have, just a later printing. The book at Amazon is a different book that includes all the recipes from the 1977 book as well as some from Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts (1982) and Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts (1985), but the recipes have been slightly updated and the Toni Evins illustrations aren't there (there are a few illustrations, but no where near the quality of those in the old book).

chuckless said...

oh....my....gosh! You'll wear your fingers to nubbins...but if it is any help, I know what you can do with all the cookies...SEND THEM TO ME!!!

Cathy said...

watch out Chuck - I will probably take you up on that!

Anonymous said...

hi Cathy,
what a great project! I'm looking forward to all the cookie posts... nice way to start the week : )

heh. I just realized that I DON'T have Maida's Book of Great Cookies like I mentioned in your PB cookies post... I actually have Maida's Brand New Book of Great Cookies.
which I suspect is totally different??
sigh! now I want a copy of Maida's Book of Great Cookies...

Renee

Cathy said...

Hi Renee - thanks! Yes - I have that book also and it is completely different. I can't recall having made anything out of it. The interesting thing about that book is that it is illustrated by Maida Heatter herself. If you can get a hold of Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies, I know you'll like it!

Brian W said...

I picked up a copy of the 1977 edition on Amazon the other day, for less than three bucks. If anyone else wants to get the older editions, there are TONS of copies in the "Used" section on Amazon. It's like digging around in a charming used bookshop without the icky smells and weird fungi :)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes you like so much!

Cathy said...

Hi Brian - I'm so glad you got a copy! I'll be interested to hear what you try and how you like them. I agree about the used books available through Amazon - you can find almost anything!

Red Sox Fan said...

My Maida cookie book dates from the 6th printing in 1980 and I have made many cookies from it but major favorites are the Chocolate Mint Sticks and the Chocolate Raisin Cookies. I have all her cook books and love her cakes. The Chocolate Merry Go Round Cake in her Book of Chocolate Desserts (which is falling apart from use)is outstanding. It never fails to get raves - both for appearance and taste.

Red Sox Fan said...

My Maida cookie book dates from the 6th printing in 1980 and I have made many cookies from it but major favorites are the Chocolate Mint Sticks and the Chocolate Raisin Cookies. I have all her cook books and love her cakes. The Chocolate Merry Go Round cake in her Book of chocolate Desserts (which is falling apart from use)is outstanding. It never fails to get raves - both for appearance and taste.

Cathy said...

Hi Red Sox fan! Always nice to hear from another Maida fan! I loved the chocolate mint sticks as well. Thanks for the cake recommendation - I have that book also (as well as all the rest) and will be taking a look at that recipe as soon as I post this!

Anonymous said...

About buying the "old" book -- don't forget Ebay and Amazon -- a treasure trove of used books, for sure!

bibliochef said...

I think they have re-released her books - just got them in the mail to review on my blog -- cooking with ideas