The Collector

I have this tendency to collect and accumulate things. I think that’s probably common. My apartment is covered in a light layer of paper that includes magazines, academic articles, photographs, and cards. Recipes are my latest obsession.

This compulsion started about a year ago, when I became a vegetarian. I decided I’d read up on my new meat-free lifestyle and get down to business, making healthful, delicious meals for myself. I┬áhave hundreds, maybe thousands, of recipes. Most of them are digital, from sites like Vegetarian Times, and I store them on my various electronic devices: iPhone, iPad, computer. I like to have them readily accessible in case inspiration strikes and I decide to pull out my iPhone in the kitchen and start cooking.

Often, when I’m sitting at home on the couch trying to do work but procrastinating instead, I’ll decide I want to make one of the recipes, so I diligently look through my cupboards and fridge to see which ingredients I’m missing. I add all the ingredients to my grocery list, and the next time I head to the store, I plan to pick up all the new ingredients which will aid me in my quest to become a master chef. Usually, by the time I get to the store, I’ve lost my motivation to search out or deal with anything new, and I just pick up the usual items: milk, veggies, ice cream.

Two days ago, I opened a package containing a new recipe book that I ordered. Vegan with a Vengeance. One of my best friends has sworn by this cookbook for years, and everything she has ever made for me from it has been delicious. It has been lying on the floor, unopened, next to my beautiful, barely touched collection of yarn that I bought a few months ago, thinking I’d knit some new scarves.

Even though I rarely use these recipes (or, for that matter, my knitting needles), I like the promise that they hold. I like knowing that they’re there, waiting for me to get to know them. I feel this way about all of the unread books on my bookshelves and the journal articles I have saved and bookmarked (Instapaper is another problem…). I guess that perpetual student in me likes to know that there are always new things to learn, always things to be explored.

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