Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cookbooks, Their Place in Your Home

     If you are a chef or are connected to one, then you have no fewer than 200 cookbooks in your aparment or home. I am sure that none of us have enough space for all of them either.
     Julia Child forbid that you suggest they get rid of atleast the duplicates or misprints.  In my opinion, the only cookbook that is a good one, has food stains all over it! You know, pages falling out, taped edges, fading recipe.  Some of us have a decluttering list from placed such as fly lady (LOVE HER). If you aren't familiar with fly lady, google it, Marla Cilley, made my life living with a chef loads easier. There shoulds be the same type of list for decluttering cookbooks. If you like one reciped out of a 300 page cookbook then photocopy that recipe and spread the love, book, to someone else who will love it. Bless them with the joy it did for you so long ago. 
     Some like the red checkered bible you have had since grandma retired her Crisco is definitely a keeper( I know you know which one I am talking about).  One book that everyone should have chef or non chef is a cookbook that breaks down the science of cooking into to normal people terms.  Good Housekeeping put out a great one some years ago it is a yellow hardcover, looks more like college textbook than cookbook. I have grown to understand a lot more about substitutions, measurements and what not. Those tables in the front and back covers are priceless!!
     Cookbooks find their way into our house as presents on most all major holidays, yard sale finds or freebie boxes.  Our chefs like to think the book they found is the Holy Grail to finding the perfect recipe for the perfect Sunday Gravy that has been their quest since the weilded their first pair of tongs.
     So the following list is a means for keeping only those cookbooks worth the space on your shelf.

Do Not Keep If...
1. You can't understand the recipe or it would make even Alton Brown scratch his head.          
2. You haven't cooked anything from it in the last 3 years.
3. You use it on the ends of the shelf to prevent the other books from falling.
4. No one likes what you have cooked from this cookbook.
5. You respond with, but I might find something I need later on? (This response more than 10 years ago)
6. When your child says they want a cookbook you hand it over to them without reserve.

Keep It If...
1. It has dog-eared pages?
2. It has atleast 5 food related stained pages
3. You recommend recipes from it to other people.
4.  It is one of the go to books when looking for a new recipe.
5.  Ingredients in this book are easy to find in your area or can be ordered. (There is NOTHING more frustrating than wanting to try a recipe that you can't find the ingredients for, this is a mom talking)
6.  It has pictures of the meals that your results actually look very similar.

 So I am looking for storage suggestions from everyone out there. I will be posting this question to various people and looking from input from fellow readers of this blog as well.  We want to hold onto cookbooks because they inspire and motivate us to try their recipes, not because they make us feel inferior or intimidated, questioning our abilites to cook.


  1. Hi! So, which cookbooks have made the cut? Thanks!

  2. Two of the ones that we use frequently is our Better Homes and Gardens red checkered cookbook.
    The second is one that Goodhousekeeping came out with it's yellow and looks more like a college text book. Details to follow. Also anything that contained family recipes that were handed down stayed.