Renny Darling started a cooking column in 1968. By 1975, a friend asked her to compile her recipes and write a cookbook.
She did, and her cookbooks sold half a million copies, then 1.2 million, then more.
It’s 2012, and 76-year-old Renny has just published her 17th cookbook: “Renny Darling’s: These are A Few of Your Favorite Things! A Treasury of Recipes to Enjoy with Love.”
The cookbooks are published pretty much the same way: a color cover adorned with flowers, some drawings inside, a few personal notes and hundreds upon hundreds of recipes—all tried and true.
The biggest thing that’s different now? No bookstores.
“So many of the bookstores that carried my books are now gone,” Renny says. “I have to find different ways of getting my book out there.”
Obviously, there is still a big appetite for the Darling series. From “Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads” to “Vegetarian Fast and Fancy,” she has not exhausted her ideas for recipe books.
“I go over the ideas in my sleep, and then jot it down,” she says. Those ideas scribbled down in the notepad by her bed have resulted in some of the best ideas for her most popular books.
For example, her “Joy of Eating: A Simply Delicious Cookbook” focuses on quick-and-easy recipes that are not time consuming.
“I think like most people, I like to eat rather than cook, so I focus a lot of my recipes to take off the pressures of the working women,” Renny says. “With children and jobs, it makes it impossible to cook in any ordinary schedule, so I pick my recipes accordingly."
A minimal amount of time per recipe is essential, she insists.
Renny and her husband , have lived with their three children in Beverly Hills for 44 years. Her husband was the principal at , in the Cahuenga Pass, who was forced to retire a year-and-a-half ago. But they still remain close to the school family in the Studio City, Toluca Lake and Hollywood area, and they also have six grandchildren and an ever-expanding family to try recipes on for the next book.
She has traveled to France and Italy, taking classes with the masters, and she has held some great dinner parties. Her books could have up to 900 recipes, and her fans writer her both letters and emails.
A woman in Miami said her son started eating after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. Her son is now at Harvard and she writes “I want you to know, you take a lot of the credit, too.”
Another reader from Puerto Rico writes, “You have the talent and ability to reduce the chore of cooking to absolute simplicity and the recipes are delicious and never fail.”
Her latest book has sections on soups, breads, casseroles, desserts, fish and shellfish, noodles and much more.
“People can find a lot more to do with their time, they shouldn’t spend too much of it cooking,” she says.
As far as changes in the kitchen over the years? There is the microwave, but it’s not for cooking.
“The microwave is a great invention, but it’s not for cooking,” Renny says. “But for reheating, there’s nothing better.”
Find out more about her cookbooks, and how to order them, at http://rennydarling.com.