Friday, 27 July 2012

RRC Show us your Cookbooks

Each month Dom at Belleau Kitchen has his Random Recipe Challenge where he challenges bloggers to make a recipe by opening up a cookbook at random.  I haven't yet had the courage to join in but I couldn't resist taking him up on his July challenge to tell him about our cookbooks.  I felt it was only fair, given that I have been enjoying peeking at other people's cookbook collections.


To start with, at the top, is my main cookbook shelves.  I have three shelves - in our open plan living space - dedicated to foodie books.  They are mainly organised by size, with the oversized stacked horizontally.  My dad once categorised his books according to the Bliss System and I would love to organise these books with such attention to detail.  In reality, they are often in use and are returned wherever there is a space.

Many of the books in this section are cookbooks, mostly vegetarian or vegan, with a smattering of baking and chocolate books.  You can check out my list of cookbooks, which needs updating to include purchases and presents over the last few months. 

One section that I try and keep separate from the others is the above group of historic cookbooks - mostly older 20th century Australian ones - and some books reflecting on food and food history.  Every now and again I get all excited about food history and buy what I can.  I also use them for posts like my recent post about orange history.

In my dreams I would buy heaps of rare historic books - yellowing, dog eared, well thumbed - and keep them in an antique wooden cabinet with glass doors and a key to lock them away.  Maybe one day!

The three dedicated shelves are just not enough!  When we had our kitchen renovation last year, I had some shelves put up above the stove.  I keep a few of my smaller books here.  They will probably end up sticky from cooking vapours but it is just a little extra space for my cookbooks.

If you saw some of my piles of cookbooks and food magazines, you might understand why a little shelf space above the oven is valued.  Cookbooks pile up everywhere.  On the benches, on the kitchen table, on the desk, under the lamp and on our coffee table.  Above is one of the piles on the shelf under our coffee table.  It is buckling under the weight of my magazines and books.  Most of the magazines are Vegetarian Times.  I tell myself when I have time to sort through my backcopies I will subscribe again.  One day!

We also have piles of books on top of the coffee table.  These are ones that have found no room in our ever more cluttered home and have migrated here.  They are literally part of the furniture now, if you ask our cat, Zinc.  She thinks that Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion is a perfect place to sit and survey the loungeroom.

Lastly I will take you into my bedroom to see some of my recent reading.  I have been meaning to write about some of these books but where does the time go!  So I will briefly tell you about a few of the ones you can glimpse here.

  • Nigel Slater's Tender doesn't get the time in the kitchen it deserves because it keeps getting buried in my bedroom under good intentions to read it.  
  • I love the little yellow vegetarian cookbook from the 1940s that my sister Chris bought for me.    
  • Battenberg Britain, Nigel Slater's Eating for England and Cold Meat and How to Disguise It by Hunter Davies all make entertaining reading about British food history.  
  • You might glimpse Quick Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson that Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook kindly sent as a MLLA prize.  I have many plans but not yet cooked anything from it.
  • In addition, the bedroom piles also include a few novels I have been reading.   
I am very choosy about new cookbooks and yet more than I can use still make their way into my collection.  When I have time I intend to write a list of some of the recipes I want to try from my cookbooks, in a similar post to the one I did for the Cookbook Challenge last year.  I have also considered online systems to help using my cookbooks such as Eat Your Books.  Meanwhile I have many more good intentions than recipes that arise from the my cookbook collection.  But I can assure you they are used and loved!

21 comments:

  1. what an amazing cookbook collection! i love cookbooks - they're like old friends:)

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    1. Thanks GF happy tummy - great cookbooks are like old friends - always there for me :-)

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  2. oh well NOW you HAVE to take part next month!!... I love the vintage cookbooks that's a great idea and I love Zinc the cat sitting on the her own special pile... that is just so cat-like... I love your collection of books in general, nice to see some I recognise and some I don't... great photo's and thank you for entering x

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    1. Thanks Dom - seems I fell for your cunning plan :-) I couldn't believe it when my cookbooks became Zinc's new spot but she did love to sit on them until I started browsing them again (imagine the looks I got then)

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  3. Books and cookbooks now take up every available space in my room at my parents' place. I wish I'd heard of this challenge before; I'd definitely do it! Go on, find the courage ;)

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    1. Thanks Hannah - would love to see photos of your books at the moment and I think you should take some photos of your blog if only as evidence when you get back if they are not there (though you probably aren't as foolish in loaning out some possessions as I was when I travelled)

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  4. This post is making me long for cookbook purchases! I own very few actually - although my bookshelves are jammed full of other books - but would love to expand my collection to include some of the older and history-focused ones. Oh, one day...when I have unlimited bookshelf space and perhaps a large kitchen too. For now, the library and I will remain friends!

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    1. Thanks Kari - I actually feel that I impose a lot of self control on my cookbook purchases due to lack of space but I have so many at home that I don't often get them from the library (probably a time issue at play too) but I do enjoy it when I do

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  5. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with cookbooks overflowing and taking over my life!

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    1. Thanks joanne - they have a way of getting into every nook and cranny, don't they

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  6. Loving these little sneak peaks into people's homes. I should probably do a post for this too as I have also enjoyed seeing everyone's posts this month. Also great to know that I am not the only one who takes a cookbook to bed to read ;0)

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    1. Thanks Chele - yes please post about your cookbooks - these posts as so much fun - as is reading cookbooks in bed :-)

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  7. Oh my goodness, you are a cookbook addict!

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    1. Thanks Jacqueline - you should see all the ones I don't buy :-)

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  8. Lovely collection - that set of historical books looks fascinating. Oh, and Zinc is a great name for a cat to have.

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    1. Thanks Phil - Zinc was the name she had when she came to us and it was her second name and I think suits her well!

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  9. Love seeing all your cookbooks. I especially like the picture of Zinc on top of one of your books, looking particularly regal and suitably detached!

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    1. Thanks Caroline - Zinc is indeed a regal cat and is most displeased if not ruling over us all

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  10. Oh my goodness, you have so many books!! ;)

    It takes me a while to build up trust in a cookbook, and I'm a creature of habit - I like to make different recipes, but often use the same books again and again.. the same 3 out of the 100 or so ;)

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    1. Thanks Matt - hmm, I do own a few - I wish I could say I used them all but many are neglected - I definitely have my favourits. I bought quite a few of them before I started blogging but blogging has just encouraged me to buy more and use them less :-)

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  11. What a great collection! I love how some books become part of the furniture. :) And I, too, have been meaning to organize my books according to some kind of system (any system!!) for years. . . never seem to have the time.

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