Is it wrong to have a crush on a cookbook? Let’s just say if there was a desert island with a full kitchen and I could only take one cookbook (the ingredients for which would just be there, of course) I’d take the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. I’d also take it into the afterlife with me if I were a pharaoh.

It is full of delicious awesome. Its pages are sticky and spattered in a way that might make DH shudder. He likes clean books. I do too, but I also think cookbooks, ones that are really loved, must be used. And I cannot,  no matter my good intentions, remember to put the cookbook into its plexiglass protection sleeve when I’m cooking. I’m one of those people.

But here’s why I love the Rebar cookbook.

1. It comes from a real-life restaurant in Victoria, BC, which is every bit as good as the recipes, and boasts a retro collection of jelly molds on its walls.

2. Every recipe I have tried in this book (I’m thinking somewhere around 75%, which, if you think about it, is kind of crazy. That’s a lot of recipes.) is awesome.

3. There’s a lot of garlic called for. No apologies. Just tasty business.

4. The desserts and soups and breakfasts and salads and homemade tortillas are all winners. Did I repeat number 2? I think I did.

5. There are no shiny, sexy colour photos of up-close food–just black and white candids of Rebar staff and happy customers and random cameos of a toy T-rex. In a world where sexy colour photos sell the book, I kind of root for this underdog.

6. It’s flexible. Recipes are vegetarian or vegan, or have a bit of seafood, but can be infinitely adapted for any diet.

I don’t know about you, but cookbooks are kitchen porn to me. I often read them while eating. [edit: past tense. I often read them while eating before I became a parent] I’m one of those people who plans their dinner right after eating breakfast. I have yet to find another cookbook that has hit as many home runs as this one. But enough with the mixed metaphors.

Here’s a few photos of my most recent Rebar recipe. Banana bread. With walnuts and wheat germ. I made them into muffins so I could eat more of them in one go without getting depressed that half the loaf was gone.




I just realised something that should have been evident years ago: the word cookbook encapsulates our two favourite things–food and writing. Both are verbs and nouns. They are the same word, save one letter. If you read the word long enough, it starts to actually mean writing. Cooking a book, the way cooking a baby is a euphemism for pregnancy.

Am I crazy? Maybe. I need to go eat some banana bread.

What’s your favourite cookbook?