In This Small Kitchen: The Cookbook Problem

Pile of Books2

I love cookbooks. I study dinner cookbooks at breakfast and page through cake chapters whenever I end up eating dinner alone. I like big, researched tomes–The Essential New York Times Cookbook, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian–and dedicated single-subject books, on chocolate or beans or soups. I love old cookbooks and adore new ones, cherish my hardcovers and paperbacks alike, and enjoy both books bedazzled with full-bleed photos and those, like the Joy of Cooking, that let the words do the talking.

But in a small apartment, where on earth do they all go? When we moved in, the bookshelf on the left contained the entire collection. Then, I started piling new acquisitions on that little side table you see on the right. Soon, a tower grew.

Though I certainly don’t go around grabbing every cookbook I see, when I find out about an inspiring read, I have to pick it up. If I didn’t, I’d miss out on current food trends like Jerusalem and wind up getting all my inspiration from 2009 or, worse, 1931 (when Joy of Cooking came out).

So I was curious, especially as someone who writes a lot online, what role physical cookbooks still play in your life. Do they inspire you? Do you cook straight from their recipes? Or have you moved past cookbooks and to this internet world of blogs, e-books, and  cooking apps? And, where do you store them all??

P.S. The one cookbook you have to make room for.

  • caitlyn

    This is me! I try to give away some older cookbooks that I really don’t use. But they’re hard to part with.

  • Kris

    I am addicted to books in general, especially cookbooks. I find a lot of comfort in physical books vs. digital books. I have a habit of buying at thrift stores where you can find great classics and relatively newer books for $1.99! Add several cookbooks to my Christmas list each year and countless purchases through Amazon and it adds up. I live in a studio apartment so we have gradually added more and more shelves to support my habit, but I am looking forward to the day when we buy a house and I can have a whole room of books with a nice comfy couch!

  • Casey

    I have so many cookbooks, and I can’t stop getting more! Like you I find that I read them constantly but use them in my everyday cooking less and less. I think that is because I do so much of my planning on the go and I have my internet recipes just a click away.

  • DC Discountess

    I love cookbooks too, and I have a similar space problem. I took a lot of oldies from my grandmothers collection that you can’t even find anymore, and I’m being overrun. My personal favorite is Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia knew what she was doing! Oh, and the french onion soup recipe is totally worth the effort.

  • Lynn Chen

    As I type, I’m compiling a bunch of cookbooks I never use and donating them to the Take a Book/Leave a Book spot on Larchmont!

  • Jennifer Woodard

    I love cookbooks, much more than I actually cook. I am trying to resist buying another cookbook right now. I read them as if they were a novel but I really have no place to keep them all. I tried to give some away but was only able to part with one. LOL, Maybe one day but probably not.

    • BGSK

      Ha! One day, maybe we can all have cozy libraries dedicated to our collections.

  • Best Lasik Surgeon

    Start collecting e-books!

  • Maegan Zimmerman

    I just rediscovered the Betty Crocker cookbook I’ve had for a decade but never used! I love it! It is full of good, simple, everyday recipes and some more elaborate ones. I have more confidence in my abilities now, so I have a huge Amazon wishlist of cookbooks. Brian Boitano and Mark Bittman top it! There’s just something about going right to a cookbook, finding the recipe you want in the index, and getting to work that can’t be duplicated with an internet search.

  • Earl Finnegan

    I recently renovated after hiring someone for kitchen design in Halifax. They were able to put in a lot more storage space, it’s really nice.

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