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GOOD-BYE COOKBOOKS: It’s not you…it’s me. The unopened, un-loved, under-used books in my collection and how I plan on getting rid of them!

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I had an epiphany this weekend. I have too many cookbooks and I absolutely must cull the herd and, (here’s the thing), I also really must stop buying so many new or new-to-me cookbooks.

For context, I have appox 2000 cookbooks. Seriously!

A perfect storm of three events occurred over this long weekend and while I won’t bore you with the details of what they were; I will share what they’ve caused me conclude:

I only want to keep books that inspire me.

I like cooking more than I like collecting cookbooks. I need to spend more time on the former. Having too many books is overwhelming. There are simply too many choices. I like to search for recipes in EYB then pull various books from the shelf for inspiration and to compare recipes. Sometimes the “research” sucks the day away. Fewer books mean fewer, more targeted choices.

I will stop purchasing used books just because they are ridiculously cheap. I asked myself why I buy cookbooks and this was one of the reasons. Bad idea. This needs to stop!

I will stop buying new books sight unseen.

Here’s how I plan to cull the herd:

1. I will immediately box up and donate any books that I regularly pass up if their recipes come up in an EYB search.

These books are the first to go. They may have suited a certain time in my life, they may have been gifts but the bottom line is that these are books that no longer appeal and they can go.

2. Separate the great books from all the rest.

I’ve purchased sticky dots and I’m going to browse my shelves and immediately identify all the books I know I love. These are keepers. A different colour dot will go on any books I have a really good sense about. Books that have been recommended to me or, that I purchased because they compelled me in some way. These get to stay put for the time being. I need to get a sense of how much of my collection fits into these categories…and how many books do not.

3. Commit to pulling at least one of the non-great (dot-less) books off my shelf every day. If there’s nothing compelling about it, out it will go. I will consider whether a book is indexed in EYB or if it may soon be indexed. I know I’m a lot more likely to use it if it’s indexed and that will weigh heavily in my decision of whether or not to keep the book. If I have any doubts, I’ll post about the book here to get input and see if others have experience with it.

4. I will post updates here to ensure I’m staying on track.

I’m really excited about this undertaking and of course it would be a lot more fun if others joined in and shared their experiences.

So, do you plan to say good-bye to any of your cookbooks?

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  1. I culled my much smaller collection right before I moved. I culled several years before, and now I find I wish I had kept some items from the first discard binge.

    However, if so many books has become a burden, I think you are taking the right tack.

    Why don't you have a cookbook garage sale?

    33 Replies
    1. re: sueatmo

      I love the idea of a cookbook garage sale. My first thought was ...wow, I'd love to go to a cookbook garage sale!! Sheesh!! Based on how many cookbooks I've found at local garage sales though I'm just not sure how many folks around here are interested in cooking.

      That said, a local grocery store holds cooking classes so perhaps I could post a list of books for sale in case folks there are interested...

      In addition to the books in my collection, I also have a small bookshelf of duplicate books I picked up by mistake or that were gifted to me, or that I couldn't resist for the price. Most of these are great books by folks like Bayless, Kennedy, Child, Pepin, Wolfert etc.

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        "I love the idea of a cookbook garage sale. My first thought was ...wow, I'd love to go to a cookbook garage sale!!"

        BC, I know I don't need to tell you that this is NOT a good start. ; )

        1. re: LulusMom

          I know, I know LlM...I may need a cookbook coach to counsel me through!!

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            If you do decide to have a cookbook garage sale, I'm in Toronto, and I would LOVE to go!

            1. re: equalibra

              Ditto!!

        2. re: Breadcrumbs

          BC, I would like to buy your surplus Kennedy - whatever you have since I do not own any of her books - and will be passing through Toronto on the way home from Georgian Bay most likely on Sunday Aug 25.

          1. re: herby

            Breadcrumbs, I'd love to go through your discarded pile! Too bad I'm 1000+ miles away or I'd be the annoying early-bird at your cookbook garage sale.

            1. re: herby

              Hah!! Sorry herby your post must have come up as I was typing a reply before and I missed it!! I believe I only have one Kennedy book on that shelf but I promise it's yours. Have you cooked from Bayless's books? I much prefer his recipes and think you might be happier w his book but that's just MHO!!

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                That is exactly the reason I want to try Kennedy's books. I have three Bayless' book and Salsas That Cook is the only one that I like and even that not so much. I am trying to develop a taste for Mexican and South American food which I seem to be wanting but find most dishes boring, lacking in spice and interest. I took Mexican cooking class recently and some dishes were OK but again mostly corn, tomatoes, rice, beans and not in exciting flavour/texture combinations. I am hoping that DK will be more to my taste.

                1. re: herby

                  herby, do you have RB's Authentic Mexican? I'm not familiar with all of his books but my impression is it's the -- how do I describe it? -- I guess the most "authentic". It's the closest to Diana Kennedy.

                  As for DK, The Art of Mexican Cooking is outstanding. Get it just for the salsa ranchera recipe. So easy and so delicious. And if you ever feel like stuffing chicken intestines with blood, there's a recipe for that too. It covers a broad range. The Essential Cuisines of Mexico will also never, ever leave my bookshelf.

                  Well, I can't imagine any of her books ever leaving my bookshelf... But those two would be a great start.

                  1. re: Soul Vole

                    I am not at home and can't look up but as I remember I have Salsas That Cook, Party at Rick's and One Plate (something). I've taken DK from the library and was intimidated by the huge tome, pretty sure it was The Art, and didn't cook a thing. I am not fond of blood sausage - chicken intestines will have to wait for my taste to change :)

                    Many thanks for your suggestions!

                    1. re: herby

                      You should also take a look at Mary Sue and Susan's books. They are very true to traditional ingredients but their recipes are anything but boring. A lot of my go to recipes come from their books. If you want more specifics, let me know. You will probably recognize them from Border Grill or Two Hot Tamales....

                      Here's a link to get you started:

                      http://marysueandsusan.com

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        NICE link! Thanks dk.

                        1. re: dkennedy

                          Thank you for suggestions and the link! Susan wrote a book about street food not too long ago, correct? I do not have it but looked at it on line and wondered. What is your favourite? If I am to buy one of their books, which one do you suggest?

                          I recently bought Pati's Mexican Table but have not cooked from it yet.

                          1. re: herby

                            My favorite by far is Mesa Mexicana. A paperback book....no pictures but really solid recipes. I've taken several of their cooking classes too...and i always come away having learned something, full, drunk, and happy!

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              That's my kind of a cooking class :) They do not have this kind in Canada though... I'll have good look at Mesa Mexicana.

                              1. re: herby

                                When I get home I'll post my favorite recipes out of this book.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  That would be great - thanks!

                            2. re: herby

                              Pati's Mexican Table is wonderful! Probably my favorite of all of the Mexican cookbooks I own.

                            3. re: dkennedy

                              I have Mesa Mexicana and Too Hot Tamales. I prefer the Mesa Mexicana cookbook.

                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                It's good to know that you like Mesa Mexicana, NJchicaa. I just bought it.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  It's a really solid book. I imagine it is available used for a pretty reasonable price.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    ...and perhaps a good candidate for a COTM! I'd love to get more use out of my copy. No surprise, I own it I guess!! ; )

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      I would totally be down with that!

                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                      I bought it used on Amazon for less than $3 and the copy I received was autographed by both Mary Sue and Susan.

                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                        Oh good job! Some of the resold books I've bought at Amazon have been autographed too. This Mesa Mex. book has a rating of Very Good and cost $0.24 + shipping. So that wasn't too bad.

                                        Happy to read the above dialogue. If it's everything everyone said it is I'd be more than happy to go for a COTM. I used to watch their cooking shows on PBS? or early FN and loved everything about them.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Can't go wrong at that price!

                            4. re: Soul Vole

                              I love Kennedy and borrowed her massive Oaxaca book from Montréal public libraries - glad I had it sent to one near me, as it weighs a tonne - but the chicken intestines couldn't help but evoke the rather vulgar expression, "chicken-shit issues".

                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Advertise on Craigslist as a cookbook sale. And leave notices on the grocery bulletin boards. Write a witty ad, throw out some titles with sample prices, and I think you sale will be a great success.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Thanks Sue! I've settled on donating the books but I love your suggestions!

                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                          So jealous there is going to be a cookbook garage sale and I won't be able to go! You will have to take pictures of your offerings and post them here so we can drool over what we are missing!!!!!

                          I love your idea of tabbing your books with different colored dots to identify the keepers. I have only about 12% of your collection but I would still like to downsize. One of the things that holds me back is COTM. I am always afraid a book I have shipped off will be selected. I also am a victim of buying too many ridiculously cheap cookbooks.

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Last week, I received a second hand book I bought on amazon because it is ridiculously cheap and in excellent condition. It is Delia Smith's one is fun. I don't even like Delia Smith and found her recipes overly complicated and fussy.

                            I sat down and looked at it this evening. It is exactly as I have expected a Delia Smith's book from the 80s. Far too many things that takes well over an hour.

                            Now the book has gone back to the bookcase. I'm trying to put this one into a charity bag. Don't know why I bought it and have now had trouble parting with it :(

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              dk, downthread I'd said I'd post some of the titles I'm donating but I like your idea better. It would be much easier and significantly quicker to snap and post photos. Thank-you!! Brilliant.

                              I know what you mean about COTM-worthy books and I do think I'll start to struggle once I've made my way past the initial culling.

                        3. Sticking my toe in for inspiration.

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: LulusMom

                            I am too but just lurking...I think.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Oh, goodie. Another get together for cocktails. You still doing the bartender duties, LLM?

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Abso-bloomin-lutely. Anyone up for some of those cucumber-lime gimlets? Seriously refreshing.

                                If you aren't ready to sit a spell yet, but want to try them at home, here is the recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/dri...
                                I always double the gin. But then you probably figured that out, didn't you?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I'll have a Cucumber Gimlet thanx LLM. Leave out the lime jc, leave out the sugar, leave out the cucumber jc,. Gin on the rocks w a dribble of dry vermouth and a couple of slices of cucumber in a double old fashioned will be fine.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I can definitely do that. Do it for the mister on a regular basis. He sometimes takes cocktail onions.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Thank you! The cocktail onion makes your husband's cocktail an authentic Gibson...

                                      Curiously, at this moment I'm reading an article in Slate, "17 Cocktails for a Better Body."

                                      http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dr...

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        If I could recommend this 12 times I would. I love it! But I am not about to have a kale margarita. Nuh-uh.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I thought that made it a Gibson.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            You are So right. And, I'm So shut-off...even before I begin. I edited it BTW.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Ah, c'mon - gibson, gimlet ... I get them confused all the time, even before I've had one.

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                Hah... thanks for the reprieve...

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  About 45 years ago I unintentionally got my brother totally drunk on gimlets. That's the only way I keep them straight. I also remember dating a man MUCH older than I who drank Gibsons and wanting to be oh so sophisticated I ordered one also. It was all I could do not to spit it across the table :) Had no idea I was drinking all alcohol!

                                              2. re: Gio

                                                So, I guess I was too late to edit and correct the name of the drink. I hate when that happens.

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              Love a good Gibson. I often order a Gibson in a lower-end bar in order to get a cocktail made with gin. Because some places will give you vodka by default if you order a martini, even if you tell them not to. Don't get me started. But for some reason, you order a Gibson and they don't pull that kind of stunt.

                                2. Maybe you could do like experts recommend with clothing. If you use it to actually make something, put it in a special section or put a colored dot on the spine. At the end of the year, the dots are keepers, everything else gets culled or reviewed for special circumstances that make it worth keeping.

                                  I should do that.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    Hi tcamp, thanks for your ideas! I'm using EYB in a similar fashion. I *try* to remember to record notes for each recipe I make and then bookmark them as favourites or "don't repeat". I have written over 800 notes and I love seeing that # grow as it's evidence that I truly do use my books.

                                    Your post has inspired me to look at that "don't repeat" bookmark...it may provide clues to "repeat offender" cookbooks that I could purge.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      I like the idea of a "don't repeat" bookmark. That could indeed be a good way to identify books that don't work for me.

                                      The problem I'm running into as I sort through my books is the ones that aren't on EYB. Either not in their database at all, or just not indexed. I feel like I am not using these books because I am relying on EYB to search for recipes. And yet, many of these books are very good and worth keeping.

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        I know what you mean about the non-indexed books Mel. I have some of those in my kitchen just so I don't forget about them. I also have a big comfy chair in the room with the bookcase that houses my Italian cookbook collection (the cuisine I cook most frequently since mr bc loves it...though he isn't Italian). I often will plunk myself it that chair and just pull books off the shelf for inspiration just to ensure I'm not missing out some great recipes/books just because the book isn't yet indexed. I wish EYB would allow members to purchase the indexing of a book. I'd be willing to pay to have some of my favourite books indexed.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          Purchase indexing! What a brilliant idea! Have you suggested it to them? What might be even better is if there were a way for a few of us to chip in together on the cost of indexing.

                                          There is, of course, the member indexing. I actually volunteered to index a book once. Let's just say that didn't go very well. It was much more tedious than I could have imagined, and much more time consuming. I simply did not have enough time to complete the task.

                                          1. re: MelMM

                                            The same story here! I actually struggled on and completed the index. Sent it in and received pages of comments all requiring action and then I gave up...

                                            1. re: herby

                                              That is what happened to me, too, herby. I finally got through it - and this was not a large book - then the comments came back... ugh. Here I am, an accomplished professional with degrees in Math and Physics, and I can't even index a cookbook right! Hats off to the people that are actually doing this! And also to EYB for their quality control...

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                I felt as a failure - also a professional with Masters in engineering, an author of countless reports on complex subjects but can't index a smallish book! Glad that I am paying a fee to use the site :)

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  One can't always be organized and sharp everywhere. It's ok to a have flaws!

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Too funny, herby. That makes me feel a little better.

                                                    Definitely worth the money, and I would pay to have a book indexed before I would try indexing one myself again.

                                                  2. re: MelMM

                                                    i suspect that having a Masters in Library Science would be the most useful!!

                                                2. re: MelMM

                                                  I didn't write to Jane & Fiona to suggest it but I have posted the suggestion a couple of times in their forums. That said, the forums there don't tend to get much traffic but I know J&F read them. I would definitely pay for indexing. I have a few Canadian books that I fear will never reach a sufficient level of member ownership to qualify for indexing otherwise.

                                        2. Just a few weeks ago, I reached the point, with only just over 100 cookbooks, at which there's no more space on the shelf. But the main problem is that the house is filled with books of other kinds, a lot of which I'm sure can go. So I'm starting there.

                                          Well, maybe I can start with one particularly useless kind of cookbook: Ten or fifteen of them are small paperbacks that were acquired by my parents in the 1950s-1980s. I've been keeping them for sentimental reasons, but they're disintegrating, difficult to use even if the paper were brand new, and not books likely ever to be indexed in EYB or of real interest to me. So, into the recycling they go. And, hey, that's a foot of shelf space right there!

                                          Thanks very much for this thread, Breadcrumbs.

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: ellabee

                                            ellabee that sounds like a great way to start. I sorted through a large pile of "booklet" type recipe leaflets today and ended up putting most into a box for the thrift store.

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Okay, here's what's going to the recycle bin. All are small-format paperbacks (Signet, Bantam).

                                              - The Art of French Cooking, Fernande Garvin (Bantam 1958) "Free with purchase of bars of Dove": enough said.

                                              - The All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook , 10th edition, 1959, by Wilma Lord Perkins (Farmer's niece). A very small-scale paperback, among the darkest and crumbliest. An easy decision because already here is a hardback Boston Cooking School Cookbook from 1936 or so, big enough to lie flat when open, in better condition and with bigger type and more white space. Much about this paperback edition suggests that the Fannie Farmer-BCS enterprise was feeling pressure from the Rombauer-Becker Joy of Cooking juggernaut. But to be a kitchen "bible", a book needs to be big enough to use in the kitchen.

                                              - The Good Housekeeping International Cookbook (GH, 1964)

                                              - Everyday French Cooking, Henri-Paul Pellaprat (copyright 1968). This would be of some interest but is the most falling-apart of all these, with unreadably dark paper.

                                              - Specialty Cooking with Wine, Morrison Wood (1967 revised edition, a blending of previous books from 1949 and 1956).

                                              - The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking, Grace Zia Chu (Simon and Schuster, 1962) Foreword by Craig Claiborne.

                                              - Madame Wu's Art of Chinese Cooking, Sylvia Wu (Charles, 1973). Author ran a Hollywood Chinese restaurant, book opens with Robert Redford family's favorite dish.

                                              - The Anytime, Anywhere Barbecue Book, Beth Merriman (Grosset & Dunlap, 1972). "In association with Parade Magazine." I'm sure this coincided with our being given a gas grill by my uncle who worked for a gas company; looks as if it was looked through once and tucked away forever. We got plenty of delicious meals from that grill, but without its help.

                                              Format means a lot to me; a book has to be big enough to be able to lie flat on the worktable, and none of these are.

                                              It's almost as important that a cookbook be modest enough to be reasonably comfortable to take off and put back on the shelf, to flip through, and to read in bed. I detest cookbooks that are way bigger and heavier than they need to be (looking at you, Vegetable Literacy, Ad Hoc at Home, Around My French Table, and The Way to Cook).

                                              Turning to the books whose content more than their format puts them on the bubble: Sundays at Moosewood, A Taste of America (the Sterns, 1980s), and The New York Times Book of Wine, Terry Robards (1976). Will read over the last two before moving them out to extract any worthwhile info.

                                              Don't feel like doing that with Sundays at Moosewood, which unlike the others in this post was acquired by me. Have repeatedly tried to read it but can't get interested -- maybe because the chapters/cuisines were farmed out to different staff, and the book entirely lacks a 'voice'. But I will look through EYB and chow threads to see if there are any recipes that are keepers. Even if so, think this is on its way to the informal 'lending library' at a local-foods store. I'm there at least once a week, and can borrow it back if I run across a reason to consult it.

                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                I put all my Moosewood books (maybe 2 or 3? all gifts from when I was a vegetarian) immediately into the give away pile without a second glance. You're doing the right thing with Sundays. Good job!

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I still use my moosewoods a lot.. they were among the first cookbooks that I collected (along with all of the Anne Lindsays.. which only other Canadian will know!). But I only have 3 of them which I use often..

                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                    Oh, rstuart, don't make me go take those books out of the pile ....

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      I only use three though.. and not the dessert recipes, which aren't very food! The key is that YOU don't use them :)

                                                2. re: ellabee

                                                  Oh, no! The Art of French Cooking is one of my most treasured cookbooks, although it's only a little Bantam paperback. The first French food I ever cooked was from this book, and it was excellent. Mine was part of a slipcased set, but I don't know what happened to the other books on other cusines.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    That'll teach me to have knee-jerk reactions, roxlet. No question it evokes a different era; the first thing I opened to was sauce Bearnaise, whose headnotes emphasize the difficulty of preparation and the unavailability of shallots in U.S. groceries. Not to mention fresh tarragon (recipe uses dried). A nice feature is the inclusion of wine recommendations with all the main-dish recipes.

                                                    I noticed a list of other books/cuisines in the series, which I figured were offered as premiums for Dove at different times. I bet the slipcased set was a December item.

                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                      Actually, it wasn't a Dove promotion. It was an actual set of books that was purchased by someone -- probably me -- in my family. I had just returned from 3 months in Europe (mainly studying in Italy), and the food I had in France made a huge impression on me since it was so different than the Italian food we always had at home. I remember having no clue what salt pork was, nor any idea of where to find it. The Boeuf Bourguinon was actually fantastic -- as good as any I've made since.

                                                  2. re: ellabee

                                                    I still like the original Moosewood and Broccoli Forest but could never get into Sundays. I also have Vegetables I Can't Live Without and do not know what to do about that one.

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      I'm a Vegetarian Epicure-ite myself; It was the first cookbook I bought when I started living on my own. But through those years I spent plenty of time in the Moosewood/Broccoli Forest kitchens of friends and housemates.

                                                      Cooking was one of the few ways my mother and I could connect peaceably, and we were a household of people interested in food. Veg Ep.appealed to me as a graceful extension of that, adapted a bit for my generation. Moosewood seemed to be more overtly countercultural with respect to the food itself, less to my taste.

                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                        I still have both volumes of Vegetarian Epicure and the Caesar Salad recipe is my definitely go-to to this day :)

                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                          I'm on record here on CH as loving the Vegetarian Epicure. Funny but my favorite Moosewood is Sundays - but the point of this thread is well-taken. If YOU don't like it and don't cook out of it, it's not a good book for you.

                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                            I am nominating you for the Chowhound Peace Prize as that is one of the most understanding and nurturing posts I have read in a long time.

                                                            Awesomely said.

                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                              Thank you, IndianRiver. Shucks.

                                                      2. re: ellabee

                                                        I haven't got to my Moosewoods yet. All were second hand purchases in the past couple of years. I don't recall ever cooking from one but I know they have their fans. Someone here recommended a delicious-sounding soup recipe that I made note of when I first purchased one of these books.

                                                        That said, without fail, I always seem to see a Moosewood book on my thrift store rounds so even if I let them go, they could likely be re-acquired inexpensively and without issue.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          " I don't recall ever cooking from one but I know they have their fans."
                                                          Well, Breadcrumbs, really. If you have never (NEVER!) cooked from one of these books DESPITE actually having them on the shelf, clearly you are not one of their fans! Ditch them and move on!

                                                  3. Sticky dots might ruin the covers of valuable books.

                                                    38 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bunson

                                                      Good point Bunson. That said, I write in my books so I've probably already diminished their value...to anyone other than me that is!!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        That is a problem I have. Even before cooking from them, I go through my books and put little notes about changes I might make or what sounds especially good, or underlining part of the author's headnote. I have stopped doing this in the past 6 months, realizing that it was going to be a problem now that I know I need to get rid of some of them.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I don't think I could stop writing notes LlM but your post made me think of another challenge...I'll need to keep a list of the cookbooks I've parted company with. Otherwise I'll end up buying them all over again!! Is there an Anti-EYB website anywhere?!!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            !!!! I don't mind writing notes in one I've cooked in at this point, but I really need to not write in the ones I haven't tried yet. I personally enjoy reading the notes I've read in used cookbooks, but not everyone would.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              ...and I'd be said if one of my books went to one of those people!! ; )

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                they lack cookbook soul. Totally agree.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  and they have no business with our books LlM. Be free...write away. I think it's a great way to gauge whether or not someone is worthy of your cast-offs!!

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    BC and LLM,

                                                                    When I want to make notes since I don't like to write in my books. I use post it notes. And leave them right in the book. I did this for Ottolenghi when I did measurement conversions, but the book is too pretty to write in.

                                                                    Jules

                                                                    1. re: JulesLP

                                                                      Post-its tend to lose their oomph after a while, and if I'm going to use and reuse a particular recipe, I sure don't want all my hard earned lessons on what I like best about it to flutter away.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Notes on made recipes are one of the main uses for my cooking notebook/journal: adjustments of ingredient quantities, substitutions, variations, equipment used; sometimes a whole recap of the directions, with the tasks interwoven a little more efficiently, or just grouped in a way that makes it easier to grasp the process.

                                                                        Even if I were comfortable writing in most of my cookbooks, I'd still want more room than they offer for my notes.

                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                          I'm curious why you're not "comfortable" writing in your books. Once I open them, they're immediately "used" so I won't be selling them as "new." And my faves wind up with some stains invariably.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I've wondered, myself. I was raised to treat books well, so that lingering inhibition might play a role.

                                                                            But my mother wrote in her cookbooks, so I understood early on that cookbooks are different -- and her notes are a definite part of those books' charm for me now. OTOH, I have no children who might someday find my notes endearing or nostalgic.

                                                                            I won't be selling any of my books, so that's nothing to do with it.

                                                                            Don't know.

                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                              And that's a perfect answer :)

                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                              I can't write in books either. It's a *thing* I can't explain. I like my books pristine (even though they get stuff on them when I cook, I still cant' write in them. LOL)

                                                                              In college, I could never understand all the people who highlighted their textbooks. That drove me nuts. A highlighter never touched my textbook and I hated buying used books. I had to find one who didn't highlight every word.

                                                                              1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                I highlighted and wrote in all my textbooks but I still can't write in my cookbooks no matter how hard I will it.... I guess bc I like to look at them unlike my old textbooks

                                                                                1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                  I'm the same way. I have no issue with drops of food getting on the pages but I can't write in them. I use sticky notes & one thing I like is that I can update my thoughts on a recipe - maybe the first time I cook it I'll say "next time try x" and then the second time I can pull out that sticky & write a new note with "more x works really well" or some such thing.

                                                                                  1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                    I'm just the opposite. I love buying used books, especially cookbooks, because I enjoy reading the notes, comments, etc. that previous owners have left. Even better, the clippings and recipes I sometimes find.

                                                                                    Tangent: My mom volunteers at Friends of the Library. At some point, she started saving the bookmarks she found in donated books. She makes mobiles from them and they are hanging all over the FOB warehouse.

                                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                                      Finding a little snippet or comment is fun, like peering into something collective. I love old cook books and recipe boxes.

                                                                                    2. re: Manassas64

                                                                                      After the better part of a lifetime thinking it was a sacrilege to write in my cookbooks, I began doing so about seven years ago. And it’s not just a coincidence that that times with the beginning of COTM.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        Probably the same for me (not the 7 years, but since I started being a COTM regular ... maybe 6 years). Funny.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          Funny, the same thing happened to me when I started COTM. I wish I was more consistent in writing in my cookbooks as to whether or not I tried the recipe and whether I liked it or not. I made brownies for book group last month. And, as I was making them, I had the strangest sense of deja vu, as I swirled in the dulce de leche. Later I asked the group if I had brought these before and they said yes. As a group, they aren't a fan of my "no repeat" dessert self imposed rule, so they all stayed quiet until asked.

                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                            There have been more times than I'd like to admit when I've made a recipe from an old COTM and gone to report on it only to find that I'd already reported on it. Glurp. I try now to check and see, at least to find out whether I liked it!

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              Two glurps from me on that score LLM. And, sometimes I've even missed the first report so made a duplicate...

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Thank goodness I'm not alone ... Probably too much time on the COTM nominating couch.

                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                I have done this too. It's really funny when the second time around, I have a different opinion of the dish than I did the first time.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  _glurp_

                                                                                                  For some reason, I forget to mark my books when I am writing a COTM review. I should at least note that there is an online note for me to read.

                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                    That's why I Usually add the date to the recipe title in the book. Sometimes I don't...

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      This is a *really* good idea.

                                                                                                      And glurp is a word, right? I mean ... right??? (nervously chewing fingernails)

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        It is now LLM...

                                                                                                2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                  If nothing else a recipe I make is noted with the date of first making it and a rating. Got this system from my mother. Mostly use it for books, magazine clippings and printouts. Any recipe I don't print used to be rated on the website but now with so many blogs and other formats there have been many neglected notes.

                                                                                                  Here is the rating scale we use. With all the recipes out there, I will only repeat if it has a Very Good or higher.

                                                                                                  Excellent
                                                                                                  Very Good
                                                                                                  Good
                                                                                                  OK
                                                                                                  Fair
                                                                                                  Poor
                                                                                                  Very Poor

                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                    I date and rate recipes in books and clippings too melpy! We use a 10 point scale and I don't repeat anything w a 7 or lower.

                                                                                      2. re: JulesLP

                                                                                        I tend to use stickies if there isn't enough room for notes but I must say, since I joined EYB, I'm writing fewer notes in my books. I always tab a recipe I've made and will write a quick note but then add *see EYB*

                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                BC, I advise making a bookmark in EYB for all the ones you cull -- and then having a written list for the ones that aren't in the EYB library, that you keep with a printout of the EYB bookmark.

                                                                                Keep the paper lists in your bag, so they can help you not re-buy them when you're on your magical thrift store rounds, library book sales, and other danger spots.

                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                  Hi ellabee. I didn't think we could bookmark books that are not on our EYB shelves...can we? I definitely want them off my EYB shelves because I don't want their recipes cluttering my search results and it seems like too much work to always have to exclude a list from a search.

                                                                                  I think dk was onto something up-thread though. If I take photos of the books I'm purging I'll always have access to those photos for quick reference.

                                                                                  I fear I'll need to seriously curtail those thrift store rounds....easier said than done though!! Those stores always seem to beckon me!!!

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    You do have to have a book on your Bookshelf to be able to bookmark it in Eat Your Books, but nothing says you have to actually own the book to put it on your Bookshelf!

                                                                                    The books I actually own are bookmarked 'kitchen shelf' and 'sitting room', but there are extensive wishlists and other locations, like 'library' (in the local library, of interest, but not yet checked out), 'library - checked out', bookmarks with the names of good friends who own books of interest that I've borrowed and could borrow again if I wished, and wishlist bookmarks organized by broad topic (preserving, home/seasonal, cuisines, baking...).

                                                                                    So anyone looking at my Bookshelf would think I have many more books than I do. But most of the time when I do recipe searches I just restrict the search to 'kitchen shelf', or to 'sitting room' if that doesn't turn up much.

                                                                                    And, after boxing up the crumbling little pocket paperbacks, now I have a new bookmark: 'culled' ! [Also a second new one: 'cull candidate']

                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                      That's a good tip for EYB ellabee.. I use the library frequently, and it has prevented me from buying many books!

                                                                                  2. re: ellabee

                                                                                    If you have a smartphone you can even make a spreadsheet and save it it Google drive so you don't have to fiddle with paper.

                                                                                  3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    Why not just create a bookmark in EYB for books you've culled? You can then exclude that bookmark from your searches.

                                                                            3. I'm in, BC.

                                                                              My collection is, hmm... I think *maybe* just a tiny bit smaller than yours. But not by much, and then again, I haven't counted in several years. I need to cull. There are many, many books that I love. And many others that I've hardly looked at. I've culled books before, but it seems my purchases soon negate whatever progress I've made.

                                                                              One question: What do you intend to do with the books you cull? Sell on Amazon marketplace? Freecycle? Donate to goodwill or similar? Or to the library for their annual book sale? I think I'm much happier about culling if I know the book goes to a good home. But I'm not sure which venue gives the book the best shot.

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                Glad to have you join in MelMM!! I haven't yet decided what to do with the books yet. I'd consider selling them online but I looked at Amazon last night and it seemed like it might be a pain to sell books from Canada since I'd have to factor in duty etc if buyers were from other countries.

                                                                                I have given some books to a local culinary program before but I think some are better suited to that audience than others. I might try Kijiji which tends to attract a local audience. I'd really like to think these books were going to be used and appreciated.

                                                                                I'd love to hear other ideas!

                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                  Giving your cookbooks to a local charity or church sale is a wonderful thing. Your books will be much appreciated. You will get more pleasure from passing them along than trying to go through all the trouble of reselling. It's just a law of nature that giving will bring you good feelings & will open the door for other things to come into your life, but only give freely & without reservation.

                                                                                  1. re: cstout

                                                                                    After giving it some thought I've definitely decided to donate the books cstout. For so many reasons and as you suggest, it's so gratifying to give.

                                                                                  2. re: MelMM

                                                                                    Libraries put some donations into their collection rather than going straight to their sales. Good cookbooks, if not dupes, would probably be desireable.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      I'm thinking that is where mine will go.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        Our nations public libraries are poverty stricken. Literally. We used to live in a small'ish town in Oregon and the county library system shut down completely due to lack of funding. They're not operating with almost all volunteers. Book budgets are practically nonexistent so expensive nonfiction like cookbooks just don't make the cut frequently.

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I volunteered for a few years for the Friends of the Library. They do book sales every 3 months and use the money they get from that to buy new books, and what is leftover they send to soldiers and students overseas. So you can't feel bad about having given the books to a cause like that.

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            I don't understand why, but my little local library stopped accepting donations and having book sales more than 5 years ago. Although they never specifically said so, I think they were worried about bedbugs, even though there have been very few confirmed cases in the past few years.

                                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                                        I'm actually OK with the books going to the sale. It still helps the library, and they get to use the proceeds as they see fit. If I donate to the library, I'm fine with whatever they choose to do with the books. At the sale, cookbooks are the first thing to go.

                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                          Oh, I meant NO criticism. Just wanted to clarify. And, Joan, where we live now, they have so few staff that a lot of books that would have gone into the collection now go to the sale. They just can't process them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if in NYC the bedbug issue might have caused that. A close friend stopped doing house exchanges for that reason.

                                                                                    2. What I've been doing is as I buy more cookbooks I end up having to cull some to make room on the bookshelves. These have been going into a box ( now it's 4 boxes). So far none of them have made it out of the house, but my walk in pantry is getting cramped with these so something has to give soon.

                                                                                      1. Maybe as books move to ereaders we won't have to worry about culling. (I bought a Kindle just so I can keep accumulating books even though I have no more shelf space!)

                                                                                        But I guess that doesn't address the topic.

                                                                                        I know I'm going to have to cull my herd at some point. I like the idea of tagging books that I use (and like the results) over a period of time and then setting the remainder aside for discard (though I'll need to have some final filter to make sure I don't throw away something that's important to me despite lack of recent use).

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                          You want an iPad for cookbooks. The format, as it stands now, produces easier to use ecookbooks. But yes I have switched to electronic versions as much as possible now. I have basically side stepped my bookcase problem :)

                                                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                                                            By the way, I have culled cookbooks on both my kindle and iBook apps. Too many on the same screen is just confusing! But I know safely they are in the cloud when I need them again.

                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                              So how do you cull it from your kindle and still have it around? I thought once you took it from your "library" it was gone forever?

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                Both amazon and apple remembers what books you've purchased. If you remove them from your device, you can redownload them again. Takes less than 30s. On the ipad kindle app, the books not on your device is under the 'cloud' tab.

                                                                                                That said, another problem with the kindle app is all the books are in one long list. There isn't a way to organise them. The ibook app has categories, so I sort my books in different 'bookshelves'. For example, I have reading books and cookbooks.

                                                                                                I'm paranoid that these companies might go bankrupt and I'll lose my books. So I actually store another copy on my computer but with the DRM removed. I don't use them but I know they'll be there when something bad happens. (It's not strictly legal, but I felt very precious with my collection)!

                                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                                  Thank you so much for your reply/explanation. I have to say, as much as I love my kindle, I do find it irritating that one can't organize the books, and that the book you're most recently read is the one at the top. To me, it should be the one at the bottom. And you can't much move them around. Anyway, I appreciate your help.

                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                    You mentioned a very good point re the ordering in kindle too, which I've forgotten about. In the ibook app, you can arrange the books within each bookshelf, so they are always at the location where you left them. It's just a much nicer app all round.

                                                                                                  2. re: lilham

                                                                                                    I have quite an old Kindle and can organize the books into what they call "collections." I have "collections" of cookbooks, travel books, novels, etc. The books in the collection are in order of the date added, again newest first, but at least you don't have to scroll through pages and pages to try to find something.

                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      I bought the cheapest kindle, and I'm mostly very happy with it, but I don't think it has the collections option. I'm going to look into it though, that's for sure. That would be incredibly helpful.

                                                                                                    2. re: lilham

                                                                                                      Good thought about what happens if these companies go bankrupt. Actually, I think more likely is that they'll simply abandon older file formats as their technology advances -- so your old ebooks will work on your old device, but when that device fails (as inevitably it will some day) then you're out of luck.

                                                                                                2. re: lilham

                                                                                                  Yes, I agree. I have both a kindle and an ipad and I find the ipad superior, especially for cookbooks. I just use the kindle app on it. I also have some on ibooks cookbooks.

                                                                                              2. Good luck BC! I have been trying to implement the "One in, one out" rule. My biggest motivator is that I live in a small condo , and I also have a lot of "other" books. I am also hoping the EYB will help me use the ones that I have!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                  Good system for anything really. Like buying new underwear ;)

                                                                                                2. I've thrown away some cookbooks that I've bought and never made a recipe from (Zuni Cafe Cookbook included) and others that were given to me as gifts or that my husband brought into the relationship. I just counted and I have 36 cookbooks in my kitchen along with probably another dozen in the office. Of the 36 in here, I only would probably ditch 3 of them: The Chew Cookbook (all over the place and can get recipes online), The Mexican Cookbook, and The Carrabas Cookbook. I received the last two as gifts. The Mexican Cookbook was given to me by my mother for our 1st wedding anniversary as we were married in Mexico. It is very simplistic and I think I've only made 2 recipes out of it in the past 4 years.The Carrabas cookbook I received as a gift from a very good friend who is always here and checking out the additions to my cookbook collection. She would notice if it went missing. So I'll probably move The Chew book to the office and keep the other 2 on the shelves though I never use them.

                                                                                                  2000 cookbooks? I can't even imagine!

                                                                                                  P.S. I will be so mad at you if you get rid of the Carmine's Cookbook! hahaha

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                    See, here's the thing with this cookbook addiction I suffer from. The first thing I thought as I read your post was ....wow, The Chew has a cookbook!! I have only seen a couple of episodes of the show but I'm such a fan of Mario and his recipes I am now wanting to check this book out. But I won't. I will heed your wise advice and look for the recipes online!

                                                                                                    Njc...I would never part with Carmines. It already has a dot!!

                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      "The first thing I thought as I read your post was ....wow, The Chew has a cookbook!!"

                                                                                                      You're killing me tonight bc. Hysterical! This is going to be a leeeeetle bit difficult for you.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        Look, I never said this would be easy!!! I have a cookbook monkey on my back and buying a cookbook is as natural to me as breathing.

                                                                                                        I think my first cut will be the easiest. I could already come up with a list of books I'd be ok to live without. I'll report the first one tomorrow. After the first dozen it will definitely get more difficult. That might seem absurd since I have so many books but I honestly know exactly where 90% of them are located.

                                                                                                        If I really suck at this maybe I'll just turn a section of my house into a cookbook library...we do have a separate entrance to our office!!

                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                          I think you'd get a lot of business. You could make little cakes and cookies to sell to those who visit, and therefore make money from the whole situation. A win-win proposition!

                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                            When you list some of your cookbooks that you are wanting to purge, these folks will jump in & tell you how great that book is, "no, don't get rid of it".

                                                                                                            Dear, go in secret, tell no Chowhound & quietly purge. You are subconsciously wanting us to discourage you from making the final decision, it is written all over your responses. And since we are addicted too, we know how to set up the traps. Not a good thing!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: cstout

                                                                                                              Each of us needs to do this his or her own way, which is why we’re discussing what works and what doesn’t work for each of us. You’ve clearly found your way; some of us are still searching. I was all ready to toss Craig Claiborne’s “Southern Cooking” which I hadn’t looked at in years when someone suggested that it remains one of their all-time favorite southern cookbooks. That caused me to take a closer look at it and I decided to keep it. I find it tremendously helpful to bounce potential discards off others on this board. I’m not looking for an excuse to hold onto them; I’m just consulting with people I trust before making a decision I might later regret.

                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs, this post just made me giggle. Yes, you have a problem when even the mention of a cookbook you don't own [yet] elicits this response.

                                                                                                          I can only imagine that many of us would love to peruse your "discard" pile.

                                                                                                      2. Very very inspiring...

                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                          Thanks sandy!

                                                                                                          One of the things that brought me to this place is that it’s a long weekend and as a treat, I’d dedicated a day to lazing on the deck with a handful of cookbooks (7 in total) that I always wish I had more time to look at.

                                                                                                          Intuitively I knew I’d love these books but I couldn’t possibly have imagined how much I would want to cook from them. I tabbed so many recipes that I couldn’t reasonably expect to make them by year-end even if I cooked exclusively from these books. Perhaps not even by the end of 2014. How crazy is that? These books made me wonder why I was even bothering pulling other books off the shelf to give them a chance.

                                                                                                          I quickly realized that I needed to downsize and spend more time with my books that appeal the most rather than experimenting with others that could very easily be total duds!

                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                            Yeah...when I am excited by a cookbook while reading it for the first time (or sometimes subsequent times, too!), the little post-it tabs totally litter the pages. There is no hope of cooking/baking everything that I mark!!!

                                                                                                            Another thought: Aren't there enjoyable, inspiring cookbooks that you don't necessarily want to cook from, but enjoy anyway? I just gives you pleasure to read them... I have had a few of those...can't think of which ones, offhand...

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              Oh yes, absolutely sandy. Thomas Keller's books and my Alford & Duguid books come to mind immediately. I adore them. I would never part with them as they totally inspire me. I'm also a bit of a sucker for photos. I love books with photos of a region or country I've never visited. Show me a market and I'm swooning.

                                                                                                              OMG this is going to be hard!!! Stick with me folks!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                I've got your back BC, I've got your back.

                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  Funny thing, BC, Keller's books are the first that come to mind when I think of doing a purge. Hard to explain why... they're beautiful, and the recipes work. But I never want to make anything from them. The food just doesn't quite line up with how I like to eat.

                                                                                                                  Now for me, the ones I would never part with are anything by Paula Wolfert or Richard Olney.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    Most of my read-and-use cookbooks are in my bedroom, which is where my one wall-to-wall bookshelf is. But I have three shelves in the kitchen that used to contain my entire collection (THAT was a long time ago) and now contain about 75 of what I call reference books. Many of these are books I rarely consult any longer but couldn’t possibly get rid of: Richard Olney, Michael Field, Paula Peck, Simone Beck, Perla Myers, Mireille Johnson, Michel Guerard, Paul Bocuse, Alain Senderens, MFK Fisher, George Lang, the old two-volume Gourmet in a slipcase. I have a very small kitchen and could really use that space for other things, but it will be my executors who will have to decide what to do with those cookbooks.

                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                      See here is my biggest problem, you list off your couldn't part with authors (JoanN) and I immediately cut and paste the list so I can go on Amazon later to look up each and every book each person has written. It's a sickness!

                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                        I need to know more about your books by Perla Meyers, which ones do you have and would recommend?

                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                          I have both “The Seasonal Kitchen: A Return to Fresh Foods” which won Best Cookbook of the Year, Best Basic Cookbook, and Best Author’s First Cookbook at the 1973 Tastemaker Awards (the precursor of the James Beard awards), and her followup book “The Peasant Kitchen: A Return to Simple Good Food.” Myers was born in Vienna and grew up in Spain, Switzerland, England, and France and those are the countries most represented in both books. The first book is organized by season and although definitely not vegetarian, does highlight vegetables and, for the most part, less expensive cuts of meat. The second book emphasizes the cooking of those same countries plus Italy and Scandanavia and although a general cookbook has a special concentration on hors d’oeuvres, which weren’t as common in the US then as now. Both books use symbols to indicate whether the recipe is inexpensive, moderate or expensive; easy, intermediate, or difficult to prepare.

                                                                                                                          She was really very much ahead of her time in advocating for fresh, local produce. I used to use these books a lot, but haven’t in a long time. I’m so glad you made me pull them off the shelf and take another look. Just flipping through I see so many recipes that look exciting to me all over again.


                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            Thanks for such a comprehensive review. The two I am thinking of purchasing (aren't I supposed to be purging?) are Peasant Kitchen and The Spur of the Moment Cook. I was disappointed to see that Peasant Kitchen has not been index on EYB but Spur of the Moment has. Will see if I can preview these from the library before making the commitment.

                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                              Previewing is always a good idea. Nearly all my mistakes are when I haven't done that.

                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                I just ordered all three from the library.

                                                                                                                      2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                        I'll keep the Keller books because they are beautiful. I alternate them on my coffee table in the family room and I love just flipping through them.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                          I'll keep the Keller books because the few recipes I've made from them have been terrific. Yes, some of them are major projects. But when the results are as good as have been, I don't mind a major project every now and then.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            I agree Joan. I hope to cook from them some day. I remember making a pretty involved dish last winter (perhaps a Suzanne Goin recipe)...it was a perfect day for cooking. Snowy outside, freezing cold. I had good music playing in the kitchen and cooked my heart out! I'd especially like to delve into the Bouchon baking book one day...I sense there's a lot I could learn from it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                              It's not the project aspect that keeps me from cooking from Keller. Paula Wolfert's cassoulet is more of a project (takes days to complete) than anything from Keller, and yet I have made it and would make it again. It's just that the style of cooking does not match what I like to eat.

                                                                                                                              That said, I will be keeping my Keller books for the time being. There are some pickle recipes in there that do appeal to me, so I want to try those before letting go of the books.

                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                I was thinking just the same thing about Wolfert's cassoulet. The thing with Keller is that these aren't really traditional French recipes, much as they may draw respectfully from French homestyle cooking. They are restaurant recipes. I don't know if that's what you meant, MelMM, by saying his style of cooking doesn't match what you like to eat, but that's how I feel.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                  That's not quite it either, that bit about being restaurant recipes. It's really hard to explain, and it may be more of a perception of mine than a reality, but I think of his food as bland. I also think of it as meat-heavy, but that is really more because his vegetable recipes do not appeal to me (back to the bland thing). His meat recipes really don't appeal either. For example, I made a tri-tip recipe which I believe was in Ad Hoc, and it was really boring and to me, and not something I want to make again. I should also note that I am not a Francophile, food-wise. There are some French recipes that I love, but they tend to be the more flavorful country cooking, and I already feel like I have really good versions of these in books by Richard Olney and the like.

                                                                                                                                  I think another thing is that a lot of people pick up new techniques from these books, but I haven't seen anything in there that I am not already familiar with. Examples that come to mind are his roast chicken and fried chicken. Also, while I like roast chicken on occasion, it is not something I crave or swoon over - it's really not my style, and if I have it twice a year that's enough.

                                                                                                                                  But every time I take a while to look through the books, I do find things that look more appealing, and I keep meaning to try them. There are some pickles for example. And in Bouchon there is a frog leg recipe I would probably like, so I should try that. I think in general I find Bouchon more appealing than Ad Hoc. For the record, I'm not getting rid of the books at the moment. I'm going to try to give them more of a chance, and try to make some of the recipes that appeal to me more.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                    My husband thinks that someone else did Ad Hoc and Keller just put his name on it! I don't think he has anything to base this on, but he hates that book.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      Well, it's no secret that Susie Heller wrote the recipes and Michael Ruhlman did the "other" writing, which would surely include writing in Keller's voice. But this is true of all the Keller books.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, but I think my husband's feeling was also that Ad Hoc most distinctly didn't sound like him.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                      Okay, now I have to think about it, I guess. I find his recipes so fussy that I think I haven't even bumped into the "bland" thing yet.

                                                                                                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                  I've made a ton of the recipes in Bouchon (by ton I mean 12 or so). They are excellent. Try the leek salmon or the beef burgundy. Also the creme anglaise, ice creams and a tart (I think it was from there is amazing). Also, from French Laundry, the Veal breast is great and easy as is the Yabba Dabba doo Rib steak.

                                                                                                                              2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                I bought a very cheap used Richard Olney book (the famous one) and gave it away almost immediately! I knew I was never going to use it.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                            Which ones? Just curious....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                              I wondered whether anyone would ask this. I'm almost afraid to share them because I don't want to enable anyone!! ; )

                                                                                                                              These are the 7 books I pulled and fell in love with on the weekend. I eventually ran out of post-it tabs as there were simply so many dishes that appealed:

                                                                                                                              POLPO - by Russell Norman
                                                                                                                              BOCCA COOKBOOK - by Jacob Kenedy
                                                                                                                              MAGGIE'S HARVEST - by Maggie Beer
                                                                                                                              STEPHANIE ALEXANDER'S KITCHEN GARDEN COMPANION - by Stephanie Alexander (just a beautiful book with so much information especially if you love to garden)
                                                                                                                              EAT YOUR VEGETABLES - by Arthur Potts Dawson
                                                                                                                              OTTOLENGHI THE COOKBOOK - by Yotam Ottolenghi
                                                                                                                              PLENTY - by Yotam Ottolenghi

                                                                                                                              ...and I should mention that Jerusalem by Y.O. is already filled with tabs and I've loved the dishes we've made thus far.

                                                                                                                              I definitely wouldn't part with any of these books.

                                                                                                                        2. Oh, and I better confess, before my epiphany on Saturday afternoonish, I'd already ordered a "few" cookbooks that I'll be reporting on in bt's thread...I'm just sayin'!! ; )

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                            You. You did WHAT?

                                                                                                                          2. And I want everyone to note that BC have not even replied to my offer to BUY her Kennedy books - ha-ha-ha!

                                                                                                                            This is one very difficult undertaking! I've been struggling with culling my books for a few years now with very little success.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                              Too funny herby...have a look up thread...I just can't keep up here!

                                                                                                                            2. I have this very specific, IKEA bookshelf that only holds about 100 books (mine isn't red!):
                                                                                                                              http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

                                                                                                                              When I moved from a four-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment half-a-dozen years ago, I had to cull my 1,200-count cookbook collection to only those that would fit in the bookshelf.

                                                                                                                              Since then, I have made a point of never buying a new cookbook without making an old one go bye-bye. Every now and then I have found myself with an extra book that sits horizontal atop some of the others and I force myself to divest before they get out of control again!

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                                                I dream of being you Carrie. Thanks so much for your inspiring post!!

                                                                                                                                ETA: Oh, and now I've taken a look at your link...I'm tempted to buy one of those bookcases!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                                                  <"...with an extra book that sits horizontal atop some of the others..">

                                                                                                                                  If you think. I'd ever divest myself of a beloved cookbook just because there's no room for it on the shelf.. Well, I never would. That's what.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                                                    I do this as well. If I buy a new cookbook, I have to get rid of one. I'd culled about 25 over the past couple of years (my collection was probably around 130 or so, not the hundreds that some here are talking about). I was running out of bookcase space. Most went to library book sales.

                                                                                                                                    One thing I also do is periodically go on cookbook (and cooking magazine) moratorium. Right now, I'm on moratorium until Sept. 1 (started this late May, so it'll be over 3 months when all is said and done). In the meantime, I've gotten rid of a couple of cookbooks and I'm "allowed" to buy 2 when the moratorium expires.

                                                                                                                                    Of the books I've given away recently, most went to a friend of my mother's (she's on a limited income and loves them--she keeps some and the rest she takes to a nursing home when she visits her husband--the residents LOVE the cookbooks and magazines). When I think of the joy I may be giving others, I worry less about whether I've gotten rid of a "should've kept" book. I know that when I was younger and poorer, I enjoyed getting books!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                                      I love the idea of bringing them to a nursing home! I may steal that one!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                        I think for some of the residents, the pictures of food trigger pleasant memories of when they prepared meals (or shared them) with their families.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                                          That and reading through recipe books can be a mini vacation without leaving the couch. I know my mother loves to look through mine, but never, ever cooks out of any of them.

                                                                                                                                  2. Not yet, I have about 50 books only but it has become somewhat of an obsession of late. I guess this means we won't be hearing about your wonderful yard sale purchases anymore.

                                                                                                                                    1. I actually have this obsession with getting rid of things. I have and have always had a pretty small living space to work with and I've always had this thing about getting rid of things I don't use (especially if it's something I can sell or get credit for - I get this from my hock-happy father). I am constantly buying useless books, but also constantly selling other useless books to my local used bookstore - thank god for them.

                                                                                                                                      I try to keep my cookbook collection at a decent size in conjunction with my bookshelf - it rotates - with the staple exceptions. I pretty much always have about $40 credit at that used book store (and I've gotten SO many great "staple" books for free on that credit) I love my style, actually.

                                                                                                                                      1. Wow, that was a wonderful read! Thanks for starting this thread BC!

                                                                                                                                        1. OK, I've been through one shelf. Not a whole bookcase, just a shelf. It had 32 books on it, and of those, 28 stay and 4 go. Here's my cull list:
                                                                                                                                          How to Make Pizza - Cook's Illustrated
                                                                                                                                          Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking - Madhur Jaffrey
                                                                                                                                          Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things - Lois M. Landau and Laura G. Meyers
                                                                                                                                          Vegetable Sides - Louise Pickford, Celia Brooks Brown, Maxine Clark, Jane Noraika, Laura Washburn, Lesley Waters

                                                                                                                                          The Jaffrey book is a duplicate. It's a good book, I just ended up with two copies.

                                                                                                                                          While I'm doing this, I'm making a spreadsheet of the books that stay and go, noting their location on my shelves and whether they are in the EYB library and what their index status is.

                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                            The spreadsheet is an excellent idea, and it looks to me like you've picked reasonable ones to get rid of.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                              Ok, deep breath... of the four you have listed, none I feel the need to collect. So far, so good....

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                "The Jaffrey book is a duplicate. It's a good book, I just ended up with two copies."
                                                                                                                                                So you DID hear me screaming in outrage that anyone would get rid of one of favorite cookbooks!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                  I was looking for the book one night and couldn't find it. I thought I looked everywhere, and so I decided I must have gotten rid of it in a previous purge (and can't image why on earth I would do something like that). So I immediately went on to Amazon and ordered a new copy... only to find my old one a few weeks later. It's a really great book, along with her World Vegetarian, which I would not be without.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                    What do you love in World Vegetarian? I have that book and have never cooked from it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                      There have been a number of things I've made and liked... I can't think of any losers off the top of my head. But the stand-out recipe that I gleaned from that book was the Fried Okra with Fresh Curry or Basil Leaves, which is on p. 252 of my edition. The okra is sliced thin (1/8) and fried, with no breading or batter, until crisp. Curry leaves or basil leaves are fried along with the okra (I usually use basil leaves, as I have an abundance during okra season). During frying, a mixture of turmeric and water is added to the oil, which seasons the okra. Everything gets very crisp (no slime at all in this okra). After you drain it and season with some salt, pepper and cayenne, you have a crunchy treat that is better than popcorn.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                        That sounds fabulous. And slimeless okra. What a treat! When I lived in Egypt I used to get tiny okra, no bigger than an inch, and they never seemed to produce slime at all.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                          I'm getting tiny little okra like that from my CSA now. Roasting them whole in the oven, and they are slimeless and delicious. It's a real treat, and I rarely find okra like that, save for growing it myself.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                          DANG. I've avoided buying World Vegetarian since I'm no longer a vegetarian, yet have dozens of vegetarian cookbooks, and cook so much anyway out of Worlds of the East as well as a couple of her other general Indian cookbooks. Now since I love any great okra recipe you've convinced me that I MUST buy World Vegetarian as well. I hope you're happy:)

                                                                                                                                                2. You are complicating things with all those dots & shuffling around. Just start purging & getting them out of the house as soon as possible so you don't have a chance to change your mind. Sorry to be so blunt, but I too am addicted to cookbooks & it is very hard to let go. Just do it!!

                                                                                                                                                  I put my discards in a brown paper sack, tape them up with duct tape & get them to the nearest charity box as soon as possible. Out of sight, out of mind.

                                                                                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                    I'm thinking maybe you don't have this same obsession, or at least not to the degree that some here do.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      I absolutely have the same obsession, I try to be ruthless with myself when it comes time to purge & I guess I was trying to get breadcrumbs to do the same. That was a mistake on my part because I never did stop to consider that maybe this is how she is coping with her problem & her method is helping her to come to grips with the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps I was being too serious when that was not her intentions at all.

                                                                                                                                                      I overstepped by being "too helpful". Both of you, please forgive me.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                        Totally forgiven on my part.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                      Ha- I do that with shoes (another obsession, along with cookbooks). Cull quickly & efficiently, sack them up & don't, I mean DO NOT go back through that bag!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bevwinchester

                                                                                                                                                        I go straight to my car with my sack of books just to get the temptation out of my sight. As long as I am seeing that sack, I am having withdrawal symptoms. Eventually I realize this is just another thing we must cope with & I release that sack to the world so new owners can enjoy them.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Hey BC, you're in Toronto yes?

                                                                                                                                                      I would love to act as a halfway house for your books.. I'd promise to donate them as you wish if I ever part with them? :) I have about 100 books, would love to add more. Have car, will travel!

                                                                                                                                                      I'm also a sucker for the $10 used books at BMV etc. lol.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I just did this. Pulled a few beautiful but I never cook from them books off the shelves (Cafe Boulud, Nobu, My Calabria) and some other too-specific books (The Sriracha Cookbook). I've got more, but it's a start.

                                                                                                                                                        Then I promptly went to Amazon and thought, "Well, what do I have room for now?"

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                                                          Gotta say, My Calabria is on that I-wouldn't-part-with-it list, for me. But don't look back!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                            I think it's too late - Husband took them to the book cart at church. I just owned it for almost two years and have not been inspired to cook a single recipe from it. (In part I don't have the time with two small kids + a job + a blog)

                                                                                                                                                        2. Cookbooks I purged last night from storage:
                                                                                                                                                          Bermuda's Best Recipes 1991
                                                                                                                                                          Best of the Best from Florida 1986
                                                                                                                                                          Famous Florida Seafood! 1991
                                                                                                                                                          Key West Women's Club Cookbook 1988
                                                                                                                                                          The Blue Water Cook Book 1976
                                                                                                                                                          Sip To Shore Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvre 1986
                                                                                                                                                          Party Receipts from the Charleston Junior League 1993
                                                                                                                                                          Bermuda's Best Recipes 1979
                                                                                                                                                          Lompoc's Kitchen Secrets 1951

                                                                                                                                                          Donated to friends and the library. 5 more boxes (at least) to go.

                                                                                                                                                          edit: A quick check showed 5 businesses still alive in Lompoc 62 years later. A liquor store and a funeral parlor lead the list!

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                            "A liquor store and a funeral parlor lead the list!"

                                                                                                                                                            Too funny!

                                                                                                                                                            I would probably buy some of those books if I came across them. I not going to look to closely at your list, and I'm refraining from looking up the books on Amazon.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                              I worked in a bar/restaurant for many years that we found out had been a funeral home in a previous life (weirdly, owned by the same guy who owned the bar - but with many different owners in between).

                                                                                                                                                          2. Have YOU purged today?

                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                              It kinda becomes something we need to attempt seasonally; like cleaning the closets. And it is always very nice to rehome those books with other friends that may be interested!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bevwinchester

                                                                                                                                                                What if your friends who cook have the same addiction problem? If someone regifted cookbooks on me I'm not sure how I'd deal with it at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I definitely see your point- it would just compound the purging.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bevwinchester

                                                                                                                                                                    We could all send our books to breadcrumbs ... kidding!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bevwinchester

                                                                                                                                                                  Sometimes it is not always a good thing to pass along books to friends. They feel the need to reciprocate & then pass along their baddies to you. So you thank them profusely for that sack of books & wait until they are out the door & then hurry them out to the car for another delivery to the charity box.

                                                                                                                                                              2. We had the same epiphany a weekend apart! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                I took all the cookbooks that I only like 1-2 recipes and either found it online and printed it out or made a photocopy of it (Bye Nigella x4!)

                                                                                                                                                                Then the ones I look at all the time but never make anything all went into the donation pile.

                                                                                                                                                                Then the ones that I never look at anymore went into the donation pile.

                                                                                                                                                                I don't have 2000, but I had a room full.

                                                                                                                                                                I am planning to buy a tablet, so I will eventually get digital versions of all my favorites as well as cooking magazines.

                                                                                                                                                                It really is freeing once you let go of these old books that just take up space and need to be dusted.

                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                  If you are getting a tablet take a look at the Paprika and the HotPot recipe manager apps.

                                                                                                                                                                  I like the layout of Paprika and it has the best one button download feature for downloading recipes from recipe websites. The downside to Paprika is you are limited to its proprietary file system for exporting and importing recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                  HotPot has the one button download, but it doesn't seem as robust as the one in Paprika. Where HotPot shines is its ability to import from multiple other recipe programs like Paprika, Living Cookbook and Master Cook.

                                                                                                                                                                  Both of these apps have a very nice cut and paste feature where you can cut and paste recipes from the websites where the one button download doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                  Also there are some inexpensive USB Flash Drive apps that allow you to transfer most any kind of file from your computer to your tablet via WiFi. You can transfer .jpeg, .gif, .pdf, word docs etc. One is called USB Flash Drive and another one is called AirDisk Pro. They both work well and sometimes they go on sale for free.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AKJim

                                                                                                                                                                    You can also transfer for free with cloud storage like Dropbox.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, Dropbox and EverNote will work too. EverNote also has a recipe section that can clip recipes from websites.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: AKJim

                                                                                                                                                                      AKJim, how would you compare Paprika and HotPot to Pepperplate? I've been using pepperplate for a while and love the ease of saving recipes with one click if it is from the site that they have a relationship with. Copy/paste is easy too as they will format the same and a picture is easily imported.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AKJim

                                                                                                                                                                        Wow thanks. I had not heard of those 2 apps. I only hear people talking about MasterChef on the Cooking Light boards.

                                                                                                                                                                        I will definitely look for those.

                                                                                                                                                                        Now I'm getting excited to get a tablet.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I really do enjoy that "free" feeling of letting go, sorta like a burden has been lifted from my thought processes. I start feeling guilty that I spent so much time & money pursuing these books, sometimes to the point of being ashamed of my gluttony. This happens when a stranger walks in & immediately makes a comment on all the books they see everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                                          A house without books is the house of a boring person.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                            I love books. Not just cookbooks, all books. I've always been a voracious reader. I love looking at my bookshelf lined walls. I love being able to pull a book off the shelf and curl up in a chair and re-acquaint myself with it. I love the smell of books.

                                                                                                                                                                            Books are simply woven into the fabric of my being.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                              Geez LulusMom, I totally agree with you. A home without books is a lonely place. I love books everywhere in my home & love to visit where there are books just waiting to be picked up & browsed through. I am only referring to MY excess of books & what people have said about it.

                                                                                                                                                                              I thought everyone here was having fun, but I think I am somehow finding a little irritation from you every time I post a reply. Please forgive me if I have said something you did not like. I will just bow out of this thread so you folks can continue on with the subject at hand. No use cluttering a great thread with sidebars of this type of knick & knack.

                                                                                                                                                                              I will keep reading though since there are great ideas for weeding out books. It is just an ongoing process & very painful to let our dear books go.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, didn't mean to make you feel singled out. My apologies. I'm on the side of making this easier for BC.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Wow! I'm so excited about the response to this thread. I've only had a brief opportunity to scan through it but I can't that you enough for \all the helpful comments, stories and words of encouragement.

                                                                                                                                                                          It's also wonderful to know some of you are joining me in this journey!

                                                                                                                                                                          I will make my way through all your posts and respond as soon as I can but in the meantime I wanted to share an update.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm actually having no trouble at all identifying books I no longer want. I set out just to apply my dots to the books I definitely want to keep and couldn't help but start pulling books off the shelf already that I'm no longer in need of. I have over 30 books in the "to-go" pile already.

                                                                                                                                                                          Obviously I expect it will get tougher when I get to books I've never used or really had a chance to get to but, I'm committed to making space so I'll stay the course.

                                                                                                                                                                          I actually think the most difficult thing for me to do will be to stop BUYING books in the first place. The criteria I've set above should help but I must say...I love seeing those Amazon or Abes packages at my door!! Maybe I can get them to send me empty boxes just so I can get my fix!!

                                                                                                                                                                          I'll post a list of some of the books I'm purging when I get a chance. I've also decided I'd rather donate than sell my discards. I put out some calls last night and will keep you posted as to where they'll be going.

                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                            That's a very good start. 30 books already!

                                                                                                                                                                            But you are also right the books that are in the middle. I know there are books that I dislike or just don't appeal. They are very easy to part with. And then there are my favourites. There is no way I'll part with them. But I have a large number of books where I'm loathe to give away/sell even though I haven't cooked much from. Maybe they are well loved by many and somehow I think I would regret giving them away. (Like David Thompson's Thai Food and Nigella Lawson's How to Eat). Or they are overly complicated for me right now, but I might get back to them when my daughter is older (Again Thai Food or the baking books). Or it's just that I haven't had the chance to cook from them, but everytime I flip through them, I feel I wanted to cook something from them.

                                                                                                                                                                            And I know what you mean by the excitment of looking at a new book!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, congratulations. This is inspirational. My husband was complaining about the mess in our house (me: but we have a 7 year old! - him: doesn't matter, this is unacceptable). So I told him about this thread and how I was planning on doing my part, really want him to feel happy at home, etc. and he immediately said "I do not want you to get rid of your cookbooks." Very very sweet. But some cookbooks will be going.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                LOL at you trying to pin it on the 7 year old! But, you know, many of the piles of books, drawings, magazines cluttering up *my* house do actually belong to the 15 year old. He's a book lover; his brother is fine with just an iPad.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                  I know, I know. It's like blaming certain things on the dog, right? But ... she *does* refuse to give up anything (4 year old valentines, toys that are broken, etc) that she has ever owned. I have to wait until school starts and try to start sneaking things out of the house. I tried to talk her into a kindle, but no go.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    Now I know how my mother must have felt..

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                Brava Breadcrumbs! Marvelous beginning. I'm proud of you. It's tough giving up objects one loves. It won't get any easier, but there will be satisfaction knowing that a difficult decision was made and a goal was accomplished.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                  And that others will benefit.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                  Donating is a great option BC. A local library perhaps? I gave a few of my cookbooks to my son's home economics class a few years ago, they really were very appreciative. What will be your criteria for a new purchase?

                                                                                                                                                                                3. I'm struggling with my 4 boxes of cull cookbooks. I have somewhere around 300 cookbooks. Some of them have been in and out of the cull box more than once.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Example: The Cake Bible & The Pie and Pastry Bible. I have quite a few baking cookbooks and I don't really like her format for her cookbooks. I haven't cooked one thing out of either one. I always end up choosing another recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                  660 Curries: I'm not sure why I don't like this one because I haven't picked it up in quite awhile but I have other Indian cookbooks that I do use and love. I've had this cookbook for 5 years and when it was finally COTM I ignored it LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. I bought this when I was on my Paula Wolfert kick. I love her Clay Pot cookbook. I've just never cooked from it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  King Arthur Cookie Companion. I've never cooked from it. I love and use my other King Arthur cookbooks. I just don't bake cookies much anymore. I end up baking cakes, pies or bread instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                  French Taste and French Food At Home by Laura Caulder. I love her show. I've cooked her pork belly recipe and it was wonderful. Her cumin carrots are a staple at our house. Why don't I cook more from these?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads, ok it's never actually made it in the cull box. I learned to bake yeast breads from this book 20 years ago. But I haven't baked from it in probably 10 years now. I think it might be time to let it go.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds like your "cull box" hasn't made it out the door yet!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. An update on my progress. I've made through a stand-alone shelf and a whole bookcase so far. 220 books in total, of which, I am keeping 209 and purging 11. I still have three more bookcases to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have also entered all of these into a spreadsheet, along with their location in my home, whether they are in the EYB database, and the indexing status. So I now know that of the 209 books I am keeping, 9 are not in EYB at all, 60 are not indexed (I requested indexing on those), and 3 are being indexed now (according to EYB). So 72 of 209 are not indexed at present (over 34%) and that is a bit of a problem, as I tend to search in EYB, so if a book isn't indexed, it doesn't get used unless I am using it for research or already know it has a certain recipe in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, in addition to what I listed upthread, here's the additional books I decided to purge:
                                                                                                                                                                                    Joie Warner's No-Cook Pasta Sauces, Joie Warner
                                                                                                                                                                                    The Supper Book, Marion Cunningham
                                                                                                                                                                                    The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer
                                                                                                                                                                                    New Vegetarian, Celia Brooks Brown
                                                                                                                                                                                    The Abel & Cole Cookbook - Easy, Seasonal, Organic, Keith Abel
                                                                                                                                                                                    Taste Pure and Simple, Michel Nischan
                                                                                                                                                                                    Vegetarian Barbecue Cookbook, Mary Gwynn

                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                      You're rocking it Mel. Congratulations!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it's funny but without really having a need to cull my small 40 book collection, The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer came immediately to my mind as a donate book as soon as I started reading this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                        That and Three Guys from Miami Celebrate Cuban (I wanted the three guys from Miami original book, but was sent this one instead and even the seller just refunded the money and said keep it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        I may have to look though my collection as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, any 'Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook' that needs culling, I will pay for that shipping!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Crockett67

                                                                                                                                                                                          My "collection" is probably about your size. When I read the titles of some of the purged books I'm, like, well, yeah, that doesn't sound like something I'd want either :) I'm not home for a couple of days but am getting the itch to ditch even some of my few.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I only have The Accidental Vegetarian and do not remember when and why I bought. Never cooked from it but every time I flip through it I like it enough to keep. Why did you decide to purge? Just curious :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                            For me, it's too aspirational. I'm never going to buy many of the ingredients in the book or spend the time on some of the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            But hey, I did pick up that filling fiery red peppers with chervil cheese is awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm flipping through it right now, and I almost like it enough to keep it. But the thing is, I have a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, and I don't feel like this one has much in it that I don't have elsewhere. There are a number of "international" type recipes, but I have books from all those nations. I think for someone with a smaller collection than I have, this would be an interesting and useful book. It's just not adding much to my (excessively large) collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to say, this culling business is both difficult and arbitrary.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I should add to what I've posted above that I'm being pretty conservative about what I get rid of. For example, as noted, I'm keeping Keller for the time being. Also I am keeping the Canal House books (I have the entire set of the subscription series), even though I find them completely uninspiring and don't cook from them. Hmm.... why am I doing this? I think in part, I DO feel like I'm curating a library.

                                                                                                                                                                                            46 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                              2nd finding the Canal series uninspiring. If you all pinky swear they will not become a future COTM theme I will gladly cull them!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are a couple of books I thought the same thing about! As in "well, there is *some* chance this one will become a COTM, so then I'd be really mad it was gone. How long does one hold on to one like that ... hard question to answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Glad to hear that about the Canal series. I hear so many good things and I've been somewhat tempted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that is why I'm keeping them, DK, because they do come up on the COTM threads. The food in these books is very traditional, generally European, especially French & Italian. I don't think there is a single recipe that I don't have a better version of somewhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mel, this is very interesting remark you made - " I don't think there is a single recipe that I don't have a better version of somewhere else." I would love to explore this further but it is too late to be thinking clearly. Maybe a thread on what are our best recipes for xyz dishes? Too general, I know... but lets explore tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love the idea of this thread. I've done this quite a bit for myself and would love to hear from others. I am always trying to seek out the best version of my favorite foods (linguine with clams, patatas bravas, tortilla de patatas, yakitori, ganmodoki, etc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like this idea too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Until that thread goes up, I'd like to nominate Linguini with Clams from "Fish Without a Doubt" for the best version of that dish I've ever made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree Moonen's version is great! I had to try it after reading your review of the dish and it did not disappoint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I considered buying that book a few years ago but a couple of my Chow-friends recommended against it as I don't really have a source for good seafood. WF is it in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is one of my very favorite books (Fish without a Doubt). Not sure where you live, but I'd think WFs would have a fairly good seafood section in most large cities. But I don't really have the full experience to know for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I bought FWAD several months ago but haven't even looked through it yet which is strange because we love seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If there is a day when you have a bit of time on your hands and feel like it, it might be fun/useful to read the old threads from when it was COTM, see how people felt about various dishes. Here is a link to the revisit (which I think covers the original time it was COTM): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856535

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's a shame. It's probably in my top ten list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Joan. Do you think WF quality and range of seafood (granted, you don't know what we get) is good enough and diverse enough to warrant the purchase?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fish Without a Doubt is a really great cookbook. I grew up on the ocean and assumed I knew all the "tricks." No. This book has fish techniques that are stunningly good and have changed my approach to fish cookery dramatically. And, as a bonus, the side dish and sauce/salsa recipes are just as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is a book that I can't imagine not having on my shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is WF whole foods? If so, I actually like to purchase seafood at Whole Foods because they sell only sustainably sourced and farmed products and the fish is always clearly labelled, farmed or wild, country of origin, fresh or previously frozen, local or not. If you don't have a local fisherman to purchase from I would think WF is your best bet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although there's a Whole Foods not too far away from me, both Fairway and Citarella are much closer so I'm not familiar with WF offerings. (I know, embarrassment of riches.) I will say, though, that I make a lot of recipes from FWaD using Costco frozen fish fillets and shellfish and fresh fish that I've bought there and repackaged and frozen in single serving portions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks all of you! I guess it's back on the list :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just saw monkfish at WF (yes, Whole Foods) this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, my WFs has a pretty great selection. We're only about 3 hours from the east coast so I thought maybe that influenced it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I had my bossy pants on I would tell you to just go buy the book. But after a day at the pool I'm wearing my jammie bottoms so you're in luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I can pretend you have your bossy pants on, right? I can tell Bob that Ms. BP made me do it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am more than willing to take the blame. Go forth, C Oliver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, in the blink of an eye, I found a used copy on Amazon for under $13 including shipping!!! Thanks for the nudge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You won't be disappointed, I assure you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, I'm looking forward to it. And we're off again to Rio in September so maybe I can cook some fish there also! I go to the little fish market and then never know what to pick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And that is another great thing about this book. For every recipe, the title tends to have the fish name, but then there is a sub-title of all possible fish substitutions. And the index includes the alternates. Been very useful to know how to use seasonal fish effectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That IS good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good idea, herby, and it could be a thread that gets added to over the years, as we find new "This is the best X I've ever had".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What jumps to mind as a "best ever" recipe is the falafel from Jerusalem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The hummus from Jerusalem is the best I've ever (or in recent memory) made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are a number of recipes from Jerusalem that are Real Winners: the chicken & clementines, the spinach & date salad... in fact there are winners in each of the Ottolenghi and Tamini books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll second that spinach and date salad for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ana Sortun has a fabulous Spinach falafel recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have her book, but I can't recall trying that recipe. I'll give it a look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please post a link to the upcoming best recipe fro xyz dish here. What a wonderful idea for a thread! Hopefully people who post will include links or paraphrase there recipes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So herby, you've got 5 recommends here. Why not start the thread and post the link here? You or Mel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am having super busy next two weeks, one without internet access. Mel, could you start the thread? If not convenient, I will do it the week of 26th.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sure, I'll start it. I'll try to do it tomorrow, but I will be traveling so bear with me if it takes a bit longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Mel! Whenever you can ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many thanks Mel! In addition to all the travel I somehow injured my foot around ankle (not sprayed or twisted but hurts a lot) and have been hopping around tonight. Hope that ice and anti inflammatory will fix it for tomorrow...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Totally understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OK, folks, Herby's thread, as interpreted by me, is up here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9129...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Post away and tell us all about the best of the best recipes from your cookbook library.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Mel, you are awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep. I bought one of the Canal House books sight unseen and returned it. A definite first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love the idea that I'm curating my own personal cookbook library. I love collecting beautiful cookbooks almost as much as I love to cook and bake and my library gives me immense pleasure. I do try to thin it out now and than, but I currently own over 900 volumes and I don't have any that I would really care to part with at this time. My main problem is lack of space. I need to get creative to store the piles that I currently have throughout the house that have no home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the only thing that is going to save me going forward is that I really don't have many holes left in my collection in subjects that interest me. So it's getting harder and harder to justify new purchases and as a result, my purchases are finally slowing down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to admit, I do think of it as curating a library, and that is why I hang on to "important" books, even if I don't find them to my taste. The Canal House books are interesting as an example of successful self-publishing, and that is part of why I subscribed and have kept them so far. The Keller books I think are also "important" because of Keller's reputation as a chef, and the team of people recruited to write and produce the books were top-notch. There are also books that I use for reference, especially historical cookbooks, which may not be that useful for everyday cooking, but I like them for researching the history of a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I don't necessarily cook out of all my books, but that doesn't mean they're not keepers. Reference, inspiration, etc., I keep books for all kinds of reasons, and all the books I currently own resonant with me for one reason or another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sometimes I keep books that I cooked out of a lot at one period of my life, even if I'm no longer really a fan. Almost a historical record.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I will gratefully take any David Thompson book that is being culled! Esp Thai Street Food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not happening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I gave my husband Thai Street Food 2 years or more ago for Christmas. It has lived on the secretary in the living room since then, unopened and unloved. Maybe it's the size, but I'm not ready to part with it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do actually have a spare copy of TSF, but I suspect that shipping from Australia (it's the big one) would be more than buying new in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I had endless problems with it - it was the large book, and the bindings kept cracking and tearing. The publisher ended up sending me a smaller, softcover edition in the end :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thanks to everyone for the inspiration and kick in the pants. I just spent a short time (really, only about 15-20 minutes) and was able to pick out 36 books that are on their way out of here. Not all are cookbooks, there are a few gardening and decorating books, but those make up less than 20%, so given the number of books, that is pretty darned impressive. And there is still plenty to work through, although I must admit that was the place that cookbooks kind of go to die (or to be looked for only when someone else brings them up). The sad part is that this doesn't even come close to taking care of the problem, but ... baby steps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    36 books is impressive, LLM, not baby steps but rather leap in the right direction. Brava!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks herby! It felt really good. There were a few that got kept that I'm still on a fence about, but I figure I'll just start there and do a little every few days. Need to go through the novels too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Added about 15 paperbacks in a spare few minutes today. I feel the momentum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Added or took away? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oops, meant added to the "take to the library" pile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are putting me to shame, LLM! I've been out of town, but even without that I think you'd be well ahead of me in the purge. I need to get back on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ha! We'll see when it gets down to the nitty-gritty how well I do. I'm happy to say that I made it to the library today with almost all the books (the others just wouldn't fit in the boxes I had available).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Small steps are good. I do that with my wardrobe twice a year (I have a lot of clothes) when I switch seasons. Something that I do with clothes that I can't *quite* get rid of is set it aside for a few months. Generally I didn't' miss those items, so can then get rid of them with a clear conscience.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, like many people on this board, I am a book hoarder, and those hardest to give up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. I'm interested to know what goes on your discard list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I could have mistaken your post for the thoughts that run through my head almost every week. Except that I don't know what EYB is, and when I checked for acronyms, the closest I got was "Earn Your Breakfast." (The Eugene Youth Ballet doesn't sound like a good place to check for recipes.) Please, what is this very useful sounding EYB?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is web site called Eat Your Books that catalogues and indexes cookbooks. You do not need to be a member to look through the site. Check it out: http://www.eatyourbooks.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah yes, acronyms that exclude [ATE.] EYB is eatyourbooks.com, a paid website that allows you to "add" your books to a library, and then search, categorize, bookmark, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is also available to non-members as a searchable database without the "saved" features. Give it a try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Sorry, what is EYB?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eatyourbooks.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RCanin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Check Herby's reply 2 posts above yours. ↑

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I amassed a huge collection in the '80s, and many of them are turkeys. I read cookbooks like a novel, and rarely follow the recipes. I so need to get rid of about half of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Out of perhaps 50 books I've removed 16 from the shelves. I'm not going to say "purged" til they're out the door and then out of the car :) But this feels great! Thanks for starting this, Bc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I still have a lot of catch-up reading to do on this thread but I thought I'd check in and report on today's results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I only had a couple of hours but I made good progress. One bookcase no longer has any wayward books (books stuffed on top of other books) and even a little room to spare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm also getting to know my collection much better. I really do have some lovely books and I sincerely hope this process will weed out the "noise" in my EYB results and help me focus on cooking from the books I love or think I'll love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Today I decided to create a "Books To Try" bookmark in EYB so I can focus my searches on books I haven't yet cooked from but expect to like/love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also added 17 books to the donation bin. In addition to 6 Rachael Ray books that I just don't use, I've parted with the 11 that you see in the photo below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just donated The Farmhouse Cookbook too. Not up to the author's usual standard, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good work bc and soccermom. I know it is tough, but some of the stuff I have/had is not so hard to give up. If I haven't used it or even thought about it in 5 years, will I ever?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree LlM, not only were some of those books unused, I wouldn't have even known I had them. ....and in that case, I definitely couldn't miss them!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's the best feeling when there's space on a bookcase!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When I saw these photos, I thought that was so cool and I snapped a pic of mine, intending to post. But I reconsidered. What if someone tried to talk me out of some of them??? It's that whole trash/treasure thing :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Only post when you're at the point of no return c.o. Those books are dead to me now!!! We'll be strong together!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't go to the library until Tuesday but I MUST go to pick up a reserved (non-cookbook) book so I'll take them then. Gotta get them off the dining table, into a box and into the car. My husband was kinda shocked and I said "If there's anything there that you want to cook from, then take it now!" He didn't take anything :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good for you c.o.!! Do you know how many you putmin the box?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sixteen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's amazing! Good for you. I bet it feels great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hate waste. And I love giving to others. So getting rid of these doesn't feel painful. But they're not out the door yet :) Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They went to the library a few days ago and I love seeing the empty space. I don't have all that many books but had held on to things that I'd not looked at in years. Five at least. Some even longer. Now I can buy more but have them be more what I want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Perfect c.o.! That's fantastic. Looking forward to reading about your new acquisitions on bt's thread!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just got a used (barely) copy of Fish Without a Doubt. Brought it with us up to Seattle, just in case I find something I "need" to cook :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I LOVE that book and I'm envious of the bounty you'll encounter in Seattle...happy cooking!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks. Looking forward to it also. Our fish choices aren't like here, for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ...also wanted to add, I'm snapping a quick pic of all the books I part with and keeping the photos in an e-file so I can refer back to it to prevent re-buying them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With a collection the size of yours, I should certainly hope so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BC, I am curious about Salt Spring Island cookbook. The island had many great eating places in my memory of a few years. Are recipes no good or not of style that you like to cook now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Last fall I spent a week at the home of a friend of a friend on Salt Spring Island and she had a copy of “Salt Spring Island Cooking” on her shelves. I flipped through it and it struck me as something that had been collected by an early ‘60s commune. You know, scrambled tofu; cheese spread made from seeds, nuts, and agar; that kind of thing. Very much of it’s time and place, but nothing I’d ever want to cook from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You've hit the nail on the head Joan. While the Island may have lovely restaurants, the recipes in this book were from one place, a health retreat I believe. While there may have been some hidden gems in there, most of the recipes I looked at held zero appeal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you both! I noticed lately a lot of dishes like that around - cashew ice cream, cream cheese made of nuts, raw desserts, etc. Made for people who can't eat certain foods or prefer not too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vegans use nuts a lot to make cheese. I've never tried it, but my bestie swears it is great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gotta say, it sounded pretty vile to me. Maybe that's why my vegan experiment lasted only a few months. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to say, I agree!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. This thread got me thinking, and over the past few days i compiled a nice stack of books to take to my local thrift store. 16 to be exact. I had enough self control to come home with just four instead of the original eight i wanted. I got the silver palate book mwntioned upthread. Lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Goatjunky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's so funny - that is one I'm getting rid of! Just goes to show - one man's trash is another man's treasure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Whew! Took me 90 minutes to read this whole thread but it my have inspired me to weed out the duds of my meager collection to make room for some good stuff. Tried with my recipe clipping bin and got overwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. We have had cookbook exchanges in our office - everyone brings in the ones they're sick of, we stick them all on a shelf for a week and you are welcome to take a couple home if you see an interesting one. At the end of the week anything left went to Goodwill. This was perfect for me, as I got rid of my Jello cookbook (gag gift) and picked up one that a coworker found "too technical", which is right in my wheelhouse. Maybe I didn't clear off as much shelf space as I'd intended, but we do it every couple years now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great idea...if I still worked!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Our local food bloggers group has an annual cookbook exchange, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. http://www.eatyourbooks.com/blog/2013...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This reminded me of you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hadn't seen that yet pagesinthesun, thanks for sharing the link. You know what, it reminds me of me too!!! ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And it appears you just won a new cookbook! There is irony there. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I did smt, you're right...on both counts!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: You know, I think cookbooks may just naturally be drawn to me!! Clearly, I was meant to own that book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe that's the issue!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have always admired your cookbook collection (through EYB and CH homecooking). Although I understand issues with space and time, I was sorry to hear that your collection was stressing you out. I do think that these books are drawn to you! What book did you win? I can't find that link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks pagesinthesun. It's not stressing me out but I did realize that I could enjoy it much, much more if I could eliminate some of the "noise" in the collection. What I mean by that is I want to part company with books that just aren't as good as others on the same topic. When I do an EYB search, I often skip past certain recipes just because they were from books that I'm not as passionate about as others. As an example, inevitably I'd get lots of Rachel Ray results in my searches. With no disrespect to Rachel, if I'm preparing a pasta dish for instance, I'll naturally gravitate towards a recipe from one of my Italian books rather than hers. Same thing with a fish dish. I'd pick a Rick Moonen recipe ahead of RR's too. It just makes sense to take those books out of my library since in all likelihood, I won't be cooking from them any more. Does that make sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The book I'm excited to have won is Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, Featuring 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less by Raghavan Iyer. (author of 660 Curries).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have Indian Cooking Unfolded in my cart on Amazon. It sounds great! I'd be interested to hear what you think of it when you've had a chance to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Absolutely will do flourgirl. I'm looking forward to its arrival and will most definitely post back here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BC, I have just looked at your bookshelf on EYB, and you have inspired me to get my books entered. What a great way to see what books you actually have. (Ha, without getting up from the sofa, that is!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which is the goal! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Welcome to EYB sandy!! It really is an amazing website and it's totally changed the way I cook. I used to troll Epicurious for ideas despite having a ton of cookbooks...it was just easier. Now I have EYB, I can search my own books by ingredients (on hand or that we're craving) or whatever other criteria we may have. I love that you can create bookmarks. I've created COTM bookmarks so if a recipe from a book that was a past COTM comes up in my search I can come here to CH to see if anyone else has made it. I sometimes immediately narrow my searches to just "Historical COTM" books so I can cook or bake from one of those books and share my results here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Once you get going I'm sure you'll fall in love with the site. Pop back here if you have any questions, I'll be happy to share my experiences and I'm sure other EYB users here would be happy to do so as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK, so I stayed up late last night and put in some of my books. It went pretty well; so far there are about 40 that I didn't find, many admittedly obscure. I did find about 230 (?) so far and it is so COOL to scroll through my collection on my laptop. I could get to like this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Onward to the books in the basement...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're going to love it a lot more once you get your initial collection recorded...that's the hard part. If you don't find a book, be sure to use the ISBN to add it to the Library. You won't see it right away but in my experience, EYB does find info on some of these. It's the really old ones that are harder for them to find info on. Being Canadian, I found a number of my Cdn books weren't in the library when I first joined but ultimately most have now appeared in the library. Now if I could only pay someone to index them for me!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Keep us posted on your progress!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I am in the process now. I gave 100 books to a culinary school last summer. I have another 100 I have pulled this week. If I cannot remember the last time I opened a book off it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do buy a lot of cookbooks. I try to borrow a book from the public library to see if it is something I will cook from and that has been beneficial.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are planning to relocate in the next 18 mos. or so and another criteria for keeping a book is, would i pay to have a book moved. They get pretty heavy. I'm sporting a bruise on my left foot after dropping one on my toe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's a very inspiring post Candy and I like your criteria for culling. Heavy books are indeed very expensive to move. I have a friend that just relocated to the UK and she and her husband parted with most of their extensive library. It broke their hearts at the time but a recent conversation with her was encouraging...she said they felt more "free" than they ever have. I guess access to very inexpensive air fares to EU countries doesn't hurt either!! Priorities shift sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I took two more grocery bags of books (some were cookbooks, most were fiction) to the library today. I'm on a roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My library does not want me to donate any more books, "for a while, thank you very much." I'm thinking of giving some to the library in the next town, anonymously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For those in the Boston area, here is a link to an excellent organization that takes book donations. There are drop boxes and if those aren't convenient, they will pick up. They specifically state that cookbooks will provide the most support for this place. And, if you go there in person, you can stop in one of the many indian stores for supplies or mexican restaurants for refreshment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://mtwyouth.org/book_donations/bo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's fantastic, BB. Thanks very much! I know just where to donate now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you so much. Can't believe I hadn't heard of them before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ditto. I go through Waltham all the time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This sounds like a great program. The cookbooks make sense, as they certainly go very quickly at my local library book sale. Cookbooks are really popular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wish I could find a program like this in my area. Maybe if I looked hard enough I would, but so far, I haven't heard of anything similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What an amazing organization bb...makes me wish I lived in Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            !!! That is almost funny. What on earth are they thinking? Do they not sell what they can't use, or give it to those in need of books?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you, LLM, I found that really odd. My local library system has a big sale every year, and it is a very popular event. The cookbooks are among the most highly sought-after items. If you want to get the best cookbooks, you have to be waiting in line hours before the sale opens (and yes, people really do that). Any donation I make to the library, I assume they will end up at the book sale, and I'm OK with that. It raises quite a bit of money for the library system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Same here, plus they do a weekly sale in the lobby, and all the money goes to the library. And you have to join the Friends of the Library to get to go on the first night of the sale - it is worth the $25 (or more) to people to do so for those first picks. I'm more than happy to support the cause (especially since they help me by lending me cookbooks all the time!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We've been members of the Friends of the Library for years. I even used to volunteer. I'm guessing they simply an out of room. They have a wish list at Amazon and people can donate that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think you're right it might be a space issue. I know our library's biggest constraint these days (except maybe budget cuts..) is space. They have to be careful about when they can accept donations for the semi-annual book sales, or else they'd need to have a lot of storage dedicated year round, which for them kind of defeats the purpose of a book sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have slipped books in my library's night return slot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our library has a sign posted asking us not to do that. Sometimes they really do just reach their limit of how much a volunteer workforce can handle. Those damn retirees think they can go away just any old time to visit the grandchildren :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's amazing LlM, good for you! I'm inspired!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is kind of funny, since you are the one who inspired me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I read "grocery bags" in your post it reminded me that I have 2 Trader Joe's bags in the basement with gardenening books in them. They've been down there for 2 years so they can definitely be donated without regret.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't even open the bags!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: <