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Sep 25, 2006 11:59 PM

Me and my cookbook addiction

I'm trying to clean up, I really am. I've used up all the kitchen book shelves, the extra shelves in the den and am resorting to stacks on chairs.

Help an addict, please.

If I post the list of books I've got, will anyone be willing to argue with me about which ones I just need to go ahead and get rid of?

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  1. I may as well come clean; I've got a new list of cookbooks I want to get.
    Please talk me in or out of these:

    Zuni Cafe
    Culinary Artistry
    Elements of Taste
    Cradle of Flavor
    Mangoes & Curry Leaves
    Roast chicken and other stories
    James Peterson, Soups / Sauces

    7 Replies
    1. re: tbilisi

      I have "Cradle of Flavor." It's a very good book dealing with cuisines that don't get a lot of cookbook coverage. Explanations are extremely detailed, maybe too much so for people who have experience with the methods of cooking and the ingredients. I'd say it's a superb cookbook for someone who is clueless about Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean cuisines but wants to dive in. Lots of cultural/travelogue type info. What little I've cooked from it so far has turned out well, so I'm assuming the recipes are reliably tested at this point. I think it would be a great cookbook for that Cookbook of the Month thing that some of the chowhounders are doing if not for the fact that some of the ingredients may be difficult to find(although the author does offer suggestions for substitutions--ground macadamia nuts instead of ground candlenuts, for example.)

      1. re: Chimayo Joe

        Fortunately I'm in the Seattle area, so we have full variety of Asian ingredients. What's the Cookbook of the Month thing?

        Thanks for your notes on "Cradle of Flavor"

        1. re: tbilisi

          Several people on the Home Cooking board are picking a cookbook in common that they'll cook from for a month then tell of their results. Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" was the book for September. Looks like the book for October hasn't been decided yet.

      2. re: tbilisi

        I'm not familiar with Roast chicken and other stories, but I figure if you know how to roast a chicken, you know how to roast a chicken, you know? So why buy this book? You know?

        1. re: yayadave

          Ooh but it's a really good book! Sorry. I'm not helping.

          1. re: Kagey

            I wouldn't part with 'roast chicken' or the follow up 'more helpings of roast chicken' (?). But then I've followed Simon Hopkinson since he used to write in the paper that I read. (It's now Mark Hix and I can recommend 'Fish etc'? by him too!) Not helpful I know, move to a bigger house - install a better kitchen, buy a bigger freezer. I've run out of alternatives, it's ridiculous I know. I have cookery books that I only use for the pictures I've modified the recipe so much - not that I'd ever get rid of the book you understand!

            1. re: Kagey

              Oh! Well, if it's a really good book, then OP should get it. What's the difference between "too many cookbooks" and too many cookbooks plus one? Really. I think we're helping a lot.

        2. Well how many do you have? Which books have you not opened in two years and in which books can you not remember the contents? I did a purge a couple of years ago and donated a bunch to the Red Cross Book drive/sale. I got a tax credit and was able to free up space for more new books that I use. I still come in at 350-400 but I know what is in most of those books if I am looking for a particular recipe. Sometimes you have to get tough and honest with yourself and say am I really going to open this book again? Is there really any interest?

          1. I'm going to say 200+ I've opened them all in past two years, that's part of the problem. I find maybe one or two recipes and they go back on the shelf.

            How do you keep track of particular recipes in so many books?

            I've wondered why there isn't an index software program that lets me compile all the indexes from all my cookbooks. I don't know how many times I've gone searching for *that* chicken recipe I know I saw somewhere.

            Though, half the fun is thumbing through them, I admit.

            1. I would definitely keep Bouchon and Zuni: These are great "reading-in-bed" cookbooks, that also have stupendous recipes.

              1. Wow Candy, 350-400? Thats an amazing amount of cookbooks. I have maybe 100 or so, but have found lately that I can find lots of recipes on line. I go to the book store and read cook books and find very few new ones I'd like to purchase. I'll go a couple of times and then if I find I just have to have it will buy it. I've also found that there are great books out there, but I'm only interested in maybe 1/2 or so of the recipes. I have a friend who copies only the recipes she loves in her books, and then gives the book to friends etc. I like that idea a lot and think new cooks would just love to get some great cookbooks and am thinking of doing that myself. Lucky you that you can remember whats in each one and where to find the recipe you need, I sure can't. I think your right about getting rid of a book you haven't opened in a couple of years. You must have quite a few of those around.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jackie de

                  I get real honest every few years and there are classics I'll never give up like James Beard's American Cookery. My family bible is Marion Brown's Southern Cookbook and I have 4 copies I'll never get rid of but I will be doing another purge next year. I have hung onto Marcia Adam's'Mid-western cookbooks. I really don't use them and I can copy the potato donughts recipe, it is just not my kind of cooking. The Heaven on Seven cookbook, I like the restaurant on Wabash in Chicago but am unimpressed with the book. I was an Air Force brat and moved quite a bit and learned not to get too attached to things that are replaceable or I can go check out of the public library. I also use the library to decide what books I might want to own. Zuni was not for me, kind of a yawn.