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Is it too much? Am I obsessive-compulsive?

My husband and close friends tease me all the time about my cookbook and recipe collections. I probably have 150 cookbooks not counting the compilations I've made over the years (another dozen plus). I clip recipes, I subscribe to magazines (Saveur, Fine Cooking, Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cuisine at Home, Rachel Ray). I always have a box of recipes ready to compile. They are compiled according to how likely I am to use them.
Silver is first, then Gold, then Red (usually for hard to find ingredients recipes). I don't watch any food shows on television. I read cookbooks like novels and have a master notebook of favorites and where to find them. Do I need to see a doctor? (smile)

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  1. Hardly...but you already know that, on this board anyway, don't you?

    If you count all my food books—histories, memoir/travel writing, etc. I have around 250. Been clipping recipes for 20 years...

    I will admit I don't have a color-coded file system, just the usual apps/salads/desserts etc. That's pretty cute (if you don't mind my saying so).

    1 Reply
    1. re: tatamagouche

      Not at all, thanks. You'll enjoy this: after using some Gold ones, they might get promoted to the Silver notebook. Oh yeah, I'm okay.

    2. At least you actually use the recipes. I love reading them and also collect cookbooks (although my collection is probably closer to 50ish). I almost never use the recipes, but I draw "inspiration" from them.

      1. I'd say in this crowd you're a lightweight! I have a recollection that Will Owen has 100s or is it 1000s of cookbooks. jfood has like 1500 recipes in his files. They are not anomalies :)

          1. re: alkapal

            Hey alka! Figured this thread had been used before -- I was feeling kind of weird about it all yesterday (but not today, screw it).

            Thanks all for making me feel better. Enjoy it too much to stop it anyway.

            1. re: bayoucook

              saved ya a doctor visit, huh?! ;-).

          2. I was talking recently with the mother of one of my daughter's pre-school classmates. We got to talking about cooking and she was saying how she is so disorganized when it comes to cooking. I was telling her how I have this whole system since I work full time and cook about 5 mights a week because I refuse to have my kids eat only chicken nuggets (or other "kid food"). She said that she just didn't have any ideas of things to make (particularly for boneless chicken breast because she couldn't stand to handle chicken with bones!).

            So a day or so later, I email her some ideas (recipes or links to the recipes), and then she asks how I keep myself organized. And as I was telling her about my whole Excel spreadsheet of dishes that I make on a regular basis for my family, plus the recipes that are on the "to do" list (including a column for the source of the recipes), I was thinking to myself that this woman is going to think that I am a nut! An Excel spreadsheet for dinner ideas?!?

            And then she goes on to tell me that one of her *problems* is that when she cooks a few times a week she has to go to the supermarket twice a week! I didn't say it but I was thinking "going to the supermarkets twice a week is a problem when you don't work? I LOVE going food shopping!"

            So, as someone else said, you are in good company here. It's the people who waste their time on eating crappy food that have the problems!

            1 Reply
            1. re: valerie

              I AM in excellent company here; I love this website!

            2. lol. I'm sure my husband wishes I had ONLY 150 cookbooks!

              Color coded? That sounds like an excellent idea ... especially since I have put off "organizing" the thousands of recipes I've either printed from websites or torn from all of the magazines I subscribe to. Trying to decide if something like chicken fettucine should be filed under "Poultry" or "Pasta" has become a major headache!

              7 Replies
              1. re: Cascokat

                Cascokat, you mean you don't cross reference? :)

                1. re: Cascokat

                  That's seriously a "Both" in my Mastercook. :-) As HillJ said - cross-referencing the bejeezus out of a recipe helps find that elusive one that you just can't quite remember where it should have been stored!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I cross reference by tags and last year added a "by family member" tag so I can quickly track down fav recipes for birthdays & celebrations. Sounds silly, but if you've got a master plan, I highly recommend that "family member fav" tag.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Are you talking about MasterCook, or a paper-format of cross-referencing? I've added categories in MC that include "Family" and "Newspaper/Magazine".

                      I've found since I got MasterCook, the recipes I used to go to regularly that were on paper are now in MasterCook once I've input them there, so that is my go-to.

                      1. re: LindaWhit


                        This is the current cookbook software program I use on my mini laptop now. Inspite of the lower reviewer rating, I love it!

                        If you have any interest in a demo, to compare:

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Looks very much like MasterCook. Can you add pictures? And I don't carry a laptop - mini or otherwise - so I just access my recipes when I get home. (Although I *do* like the idea of always having them available!)

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Yes, you can import photos. The mini is fun. I take it to the market with me and keep notes for recipes.

                2. I still have my original Betty Crocker Recipe file in the green box from 7th grade (a gift from my Uncle) and a few years ago it became such a kitch thing w/friends, I started buying used ones through Ebay. Now most of my gf's have one.

                  I have the entire Time-Life series in two languages, food & travel books covering seven countries. Then the cookbooks, mags, food blog print outs and all the local church/fire/school recipe books towns & fairs sell for fundraisers, I just can't pass up.

                  For Valentine's Day my hubby bought me a mini pc to transfer JUST my fav recipes in. So far I'm a 3rd of the way there...and it's suppose to stay in the kitchen but 9 times out of 10 it's in my purse...why I still can't explain.

                  So, welcome to the club!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    Many thanks to all of you. I've just started a notebook that will hold references to my favorite and favorite-to-be recipes and where to find them, from cookbooks to computer places. Eventually I'll get a small pc for this, but I like books and notebooks, and I don't THINK of putting things in alpha or other order b/c when I'm looking through them trying to find a specific recipe, I find other inspiring ones as well. Fun. And I love to grocery shop, as well.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Oh HillJ - the words Time-Life make my heart flutter. Have the whole Foods of the World and The Good Cook series. You know the question of what you'd grab if your house was on fire? Yep. The Hub teases me that he competes for my affections with Foods of the World! And my daughter already has designs on them...I'll have to lock them up when she moves out.


                      1. re: cayjohan

                        Too funny cayjohan! Isn't it amazing how endearing those cookbooks are! Funny, when I bought the series finding some of the ingredients was challenging or only avail. in specialty stores..but today, wow! what a difference a few decades make! Now, I'm not as ahead of the curve as I use to be :)

                        1. re: cayjohan

                          cay - are they still around? they sound interesting

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            Out of print, and Time-Life is out of the book business. Hunt on EBay or in used bookstores. They really are that good. And if you find them, get the accompanying spiral recipe books. Great stuff, and well written. M.F.K. Fisher authored the first in the series.


                            1. re: bayoucook


                              If you ever need a search guide, this site is very helpful.

                        2. I have a couple dozen, but only a few I really use much. I have a drawer full of recipes I've printed off the net. People know I like to cook, so they give me cookbooks. Some of them are unopened, and likely will remain so.

                          1. I am quite jealous, actually, so no need to see a doctor. You are my hero!