I am delighted to update you on the Culinary Cellar as I recently toured it in person. You may recall that a few years ago this amazing collection of 4000 cookbooks and memorabilia was destroyed in a flood. You can read about the devastation here, rebuilding of the culinary center. Fast forward to today and the culinary cellar is back to being such a lovely space.
In speaking to Debbie Vanni about rebuilding her treasured basement of cookbooks her eyes well up with tears. She recalls the loss in such intimate detail. It’s like that muddy water is washing over her again. The grief lingers, but then she sighs and smiles. She is so grateful for all who contributed to bringing the cellar back. She is still amazed at the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and perfect strangers as the collection continues to grow. Debbie hates having her picture taken, but if you look carefully you will find her in the beloved dessert section.
I could spend days thumbing through this collection. Debbie says there is still so much work to be done. She has a system for categorizing the cookbooks. She takes it one day at a time. As more books come in, from all over the country and world, the more rearranging she must do. There are thousands of books. In addition, she still has recipe cards crusted with mud that she hopes to salvage. This restoration is a true labor of love. She never gives up!
As I walk around the shelves, I am captivated by the Pillsbury Bake-Off collection. The bake-off is where Debbie and I first met. I am not only reminded of how priceless this entire collection is, but also the value of amazing memories and friendship it holds. Do you have tried and true friends; the kind that will hold you up when you can’t hold yourself? Do you have a Debbie in your life? We met at a cooking contest decades ago and here we are celebrating some great life moments together. It’s that unrecognizable healing power of food that just brings people together. It not only nourishes our bodies, but also our souls.
Do check out Debbie’s blog for great recipes and all things cookbooks.
Debbie!! Your collection looks a wonderful as I dreamed!!!! Best part is the Pillsbury collection! Congrats on the rebuild…. here’s hoping The Culinary Cellar continues to grow….
Thanks for visiting today. My photos really don’t do it justice. It’s just an amazing space.
Thank you for sharing your visit to Debbie’s Cullinary Cellar. I think many of us are enthralled with her collection. More importantly, thank you for sharing your grief journey. I look forward to learning more about that journey and the ways you share the healing power of food.
Welcome Denise. I am so glad you are here. Debbie’s collection is quite special. She may have more cookbooks than my local library.
I am now 10 years into my grief. Grief has a beginning, so the best way to understand the journey is to start there. There is a link to that first blog post on my About Page. Thank you for being here.
Elaine K. Wallace
Dear Lisa, Thank you for the tour and photos. The transformation is so amazing as is Debbi. I was fortunate to be a follower of CC when the “great flood” happened. At that time I was in a crossroad of my life as well. Husband in a care home, needed to downsize and lo and behold. My beloved collection of cookbooks found a new home and all together. Debbi and I waited for months before she was ready for my books. She sent a couple of family friends to my home in Kansas to pick them up. My collection included ALL of the Chocolatier magazines that had taken me years to collect.
I am now blessed to see the results of that friendship, food and links to the world of family in all of us.
My dear Elaine, thank you so very much for sharing your connection to Debbie and the Culinary Cellar. Your story is one of generosity. I can’t think of a better place for you to have shared and thus preserved your collection of cookbooks and magazines. I can tell you with much certainty that every page is well loved.Cooking and baking will always be love made edible all over the world.
What a delight to see the culinary cellar come to life again. So much love and perseverance in those shelves.
Could not agree more. Thanks for visiting <3