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Jun 13, 2008 03:14 AM

Do you have cookbooks you've never used?

Confession time...

I have. I have lots that I've used maybe once or twice, but last night I got Christian Constant's French Home Cooking off the shelf and realised that I haven't cooked from it once! I must remedy that, or take it to the second-hand shop.

Anyone else?

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  1. Many! But some day .... I do cull occasionally.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I have lots of cookbooks I've never used, as I buy them mostly for the food photography (what can I say, I'm a sucker for food porn)...

        I use cookbooks rarely, and when I do it's more of a reference for a 'new' recipe, i.e. something I've never done. I glance at it, and then do my own riff on it.

        1 Reply
        1. Yes! Some I bought as souvenirs from my travels, some I found too ambitious once I got them home, some were gifts that I never did really like but don't have the heart to get rid of, and some I intend to get to someday. I only recently (in the last year or two) starting cooking from my cookbooks in earnest. Unfortunately, I've also started adding to my cookbook collection in earnest, too, having decided that my cookbook collection is missing some of the classics/basics. My husband finds this alarming'--"Where will we put them all?". But, for the most part, I try to buy the books used when I can, so it's more an issue of storage than expense. But, even at full price, a well-used cookbook pays for itself, I think. Thankfully, I'm starting to slow down, I think.

          I have a friend who is a cookbook editor who says that most cookbooks end up on nightstands as reading material. I thought that was weird the first time I heard it, but, I realize I'm one of those people with stacks of cookbooks on my nightstand, under my bed, and under the living room sofa. I especially love cookbooks that are more than just a collection of recipes, but have some story to tell about the person who put the cookbook together or that region of the world or style of cuisine. And, gorgeous, full-color glossy photos don't hurt!


          6 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            My boyfriend thinks I'm bonkers because I frequently read cookbooks in bed! He doesn't complain at all the delicious meals though, does he?

            As far as writing goes, the Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater are particularly good, I find. Oh, and Elizabeth David, of course.

            1. re: greedygirl


              Your mention of Elizabeth David made me realize that we've never even considered her for COTM! She's one of the pioneers who introduced GB as well as the US to French, Italian and "Mediterranean" cooking. Her books are marvelous. They're full of wonderful recipes and great stories (hers and others).

              We need to remedy this situation soon.

              1. re: oakjoan

                That's a really interesting point. I've read many of her books, but not once have I cooked from one. I may be wrong, and should go back and look, but my recollection is that the recipes may be somewhat vague. Which ones have you cooked from?

                I think it would be a fun experiment, though.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I keep meaning to make her cassoulet recipe, but I never seem to have two days to spare!

                  They are quite vague, but nothing we crack home chefs couldn't handle.

                2. re: oakjoan

                  Definitely. She really was instrumental in changing the food culture in this country. I have a compendium of three of her Mediterranean books, and her Italian one. I think I've used them for reference, but not really as cookbooks, ifyswim.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    I have that compendium as well GG and also use it for reference and I've had a few good laughs at some of her quotes. I think, given all the cooking we do, her descriptions can be translated into actual directions.

            2. Me also. Lots.
              I should cull the herd too.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Davwud

                My 'herd' is taking up valuable kitchen real estate...either I need to add some shelves or donate the ones I have rarely/have never used. I wonder if there's somewhere that takes both neglected cookbooks and undervalued/unloved kitchen gadgets? ;)