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Apr 20, 2013 05:11 AM

I wish it wasn't true, but I must get rid of some cookbooks....

We are starting to downsize so that we can move to a smaller home. I simply will not have room for all the cookbooks I have. Over the next few months, I'd like to ask your advice as I consider which books to jettison.....

Decisions for today:

Do I need to keep both Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet and Marcia Cone/Thelma Snyder's Mastering Microwave Cooking? I really don't cook from microwave books, but I'd like at least one as a reference book ---I might look for info on, for example, melting chocolate or making risotto.

Any thoughts on keeping or giving away these books?
Jennifer Bushman: Kitchen Coach Weeknight Cooking
Cooking from the Heart
Ann Clark: Quick Cuisine
MIchael McLaughlin: Cooking for the Weekend
Rozanne Gold: Little Meals

Thanks, guys. I'm not sure why this seems so hard to me.

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  1. I think I got rid of Kafka's Microwave Cooking in a purge about a year ago (I can't find it anymore anyway) and now regret it. :(

    Cooking from the Heart, the Hmong cookbook? It really is the only book of its kind. I wouldn't part with it.


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      Hi Ms. Dairy Queen,

      Why do you regret giving away Kafka?

      Cooking from the Heart is a compilation of recipes from 100 chefs which was a fundraiser for Share Our Strength. I tend to like single author cookbooks 100% more than compilations, but Cooking from the Heart does have some good recipes.... like Nancy Silverton's coconut cupcakes....and Mary Sue Milliken's Chicken Meatball Soup.....

      Thanks very much.

      1. re: soccermom13

        Oh! Different book, then.

        I regret getting rid of Kafka's Microwave book because it has a lot of helpful basics and it still is the authority on the subject. I think I was thinking at the time I apparently got rid of it that I wanted to use less butter than her recipes called for, but probably should have just tweaked the recipes rather than dumping the book. I wish she'd update it, but I have a lot of people are trending away from microwave cooking right now, even though it is earth-friendly in terms of energy usage...


    2. Here's a link to a recent discussion on Kafka's book in case it triggers any interest for you:

      Have you tried the larb recipe in "Cooking from the Heart"? Super easy, super delicious. At least copy that recipe out before you get rid of the book.

      P.S. if you honestly think you'll never cook from a book, donate it, sell it, give it away. Don't hang onto them just out of sentimentality, regardless of what I think about a book. Parting with cookbooks is hard for me, too, so I can relate.


      1 Reply
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Very helpful link, DQ. Kafka is going back on the shelf.

      2. I know this won't be an easy task soccermom, wishing you the very best of luck w it.

        We had a garage sale 2 years ago and one easy choice I made was to part with my microwave cookbooks. Like you, I had been holding on to them for reference but, I couldn't ever recall referring to them. I figured if I ever needed to know how to melt chocolate or white chocolate etc, I could just Google some info. I can assure you I've had no regrets about that decision. I was also really happy because a man purchased a couple of them for his son who was going to college and would only have a microwave in his dorm room.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          And I do not even have a MV! The first and the last one came by the way of DH. The man is long gone from my life and so is the MV, neither one to be replaced ever :)

        2. Me suggesting this is a joke because I am the most computer illiterate person you could imagine and maybe what I am suggesting is impractical, but: couldn't you scan these books into your computer? (Or have some computer guru organization like Kinko's do it onto a disk or thumb drive?) My point is that it sounds like a lot of these books you really don't want to get rid of.

          Also, it sounds to me like a lot of these books are 1950s cookbooks which are out of print and, once gone, will be gone for good.

          A computer person once told me this and I think that it is true: Computers only do three things well: (1) save massive amounts of material in a small space; (2) organize the material; and (3) retrieve the material. (They are also pretty good at causing heartbreak for those of us in our 60s.)

          Maybe there are copyright problems with doing this. If so, Kinko's or whomever, won't be shy to tell you and decline to copy it onto a disk or whatever, but I would give it a shot.

          And I would not do it myself. Just like regular copying, I would hand the books to the Kinko's person and ask her/him to scan this material and put it on a disk/thumb drive/head of a pin (or whatever is the latest computer fashion)--it keeps changing, seemingly by the hour.

          Obviously, negotiate a price per page or a flat fee first. before the project is started.

          It isn't as good as having a physical book in your hands, but it beats the heck out of losing a cookbook altogether.

          Good luck!

          4 Replies
          1. re: gfr1111

            I was also going to suggest either copying or scanning, if there's books where you only have a few recipes you want to keep.... for example, Mary Sue Milliken's soup you mentioned above. If you copy them, you can keep them in a binder.

            You can also google the recipe and the author and see if it's available online somewhere so you can bookmark it or print it that way.

            1. re: juliejulez

              i find that taking iphone pictures of cookbook pages works extremely well.

              1. re: eLizard

                +1. I then email them to myself, I can put 5 pics in each email and list the recipe in the subject for easy searching.

            2. re: gfr1111

              Not sure if that's a copyright violation, but I'm sure that Kinko's and other similar services would be able to tell you if it was.

            3. i down-sized a few years and donated over 800 books to charity -- including many many cookbooks.

              if you haven't opened it in years, you don't need it. i'm sorry, but really? a book to help you melt chocolate in the micro? there is this thing called the internet... :)

              much like clothing, if you can't remember the last time you used it, get rid of it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I did what you did with 1,000+ books over a decade ago, HTN, but I cut too deeply in cookbooks and ended up buying back at least a dozen of them.

                It doesn't have anything to do with how many times I used them, though, or will use them in the future. It's that some of them were such an integral part of my cooking past (Bugialli, Pepin, Alice Waters, et al), I really didn't want not to have them.

                My rule is that rules don't always work.