Compulsive Cookbook CollectorOctober 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 8 Comments
Food porn, that’s what I call my cookbook collection. I’ll admit that I’m a bit compulsive about it, and no matter how many glossy photos I have on hand, I never fail to get excited whenever new ones come out. Now and then it dawns on me that things are getting a little excessive, and I swear I’ll cut back, but when the moment of resolution comes, I snap. The worst part is that the pages tend to get a bit stained…
At my house there are two bookcases. One is for the general collection. The other, about 1/3 the size, is just for cookbooks. In the last two weeks I’ve bought three and ordered two more, and I’m officially out of room. That means it’s time to go through and let a couple go. While it’s a cinch for me to weed any other books and never look back, going through the cookbooks is real agony.
Let’s do some math. I have roughly 90 cookbooks (probably more, but let’s just say 90). If I spent a month on each one, assuming I never bought another one, it would take me nearly 8 years to go through them all! If they average 200 recipes each, that’s 18,000 recipes, or, at three per day, over 16 years’ worth. The problem there is that one of my new books has a thousand recipes…
If you’re a recipe hoarder like me, you’re probably wiggling in your seat right now. But what are you saying? Do you mean we’ll never be able to try them all? I refuse to believe that! There must be a way!
Granted, there is a lot of overlap between books – different versions of the same meal, all of which tempt us to try them out so we can finally choose the ultimate favorite. There are also those recipes we truly never will try. For instance, I hate macaroni and cheese and my husband hates anything with banana or pumpkin. Rule those out. What about the rest?
These are the different ways I’m considering evaluating my hoard:
- Get rid of any book I haven’t used in the last three years
- Three strikes, you’re out – give up on anything with three failed recipes
- Get rid of anything with an inconvenient format – small typeface, binding that won’t stay open, won’t fit in acrylic book holder
- Too fancy – any cookbook that relies on complicated kitchen appliances you’d rather not dig out. For that matter, junk the appliances, too.
- Changed tastes – food fads or diets come and gone. I.e. I’m a vegan, so I could get rid of any cookbooks that still have dairy recipes.
What works for you? How do you manage your recipe collection?