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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

For the most part, my purchase of cookbooks has been focused on pre-purchases for the coming fall releases. I'm eagerly awaiting the new books by Yotam Ottolenghi, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Nick Malgieri, and Dorie Greenspan. (Note to the files: Make room on the bookshelves!) In the meantime, I am enjoying my recent purchases including my fiirst Diana Henry and Anita Lo's Cooking Without Borders.

What is new on your bookshelf, and what are you looking forward to this fall?

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  1. I also purchased my first Diana Henry book (A Change of Appetite), in hopes of joining this months COTM. AND, I also pre-ordered Ottolenghi's Plenty More. I have to keep the collection going...

    I wanted to share a "new to me" feature on Amazon. (I haven't read all of the July "cookbooks" postings, so excuse me if this is a repeat.) Amazon is offering a new membership for Unlimited Kindle books. For $10 per month you can have as many as 10 Kindle books in your library. Return one and check out another, unlimited. Now, not ALL books are part of the program, but there are many that have many cookbooks that are worth a look. I just downloaded Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and 25 Tomatoes. I have't spend time sifting through other available books yet, but thought it was worth a mention on this thread. I have mentioned before that I'm not the biggest fan of Kindle cookbooks, but I couldn't resist this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pagesinthesun

      Very interesting, although I've yet to fall in love with cookbooks on my iPad.

    2. Just an FYI the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook is the kindle deal of the day today ( August 3rd) at 1.99

      no endorsement implied.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rasputina

        Thanks, I am thinking of buying a cast iron skillet.

      2. Here are some oldies but goodies. Pillsbury and Gold Medal Flour Cookbooks from 1911 and the Ryzon Baking Powder Cookbook from 1917 that you can read online or download in PDF format for free:
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        1911 Pillsbury Flour Cook Book
        http://books.google.com/books?id=WR04...
        .
        To download PDF copy of Pillsbury 1911 Cook Book, click on Gear Icon on the upper right menu bar.
        .
        .
        1911 Gold Medal Flour Cook Book
        https://archive.org/details/goldmedal...
        .
        https://archive.org/stream/goldmedalf...
        .
        PDF Copy
        https://ia700502.us.archive.org/17/it...
        .
        .
        1917 Ryzon Baking Powder Cook Book
        https://archive.org/details/cu3192408...
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        https://archive.org/stream/cu31924089...
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        PDF Copy
        https://ia600401.us.archive.org/7/ite...

        1. I had to stop reading these threads as my resolve has just melted away. I've pre-ordered and acquired several in the past few months.

          Like roxlet (and many others, no doubt) I've pre-ordered the new Malgieri and Berenbaum.

          "Fried and True" (on a whim after some discussion about it on CH; I'll probably hardly use it as I almost never fry chicken).

          "My Italian Kitchen" (because I'm desperately in need of another Italian cookbook! Ha.)

          "A Change of Appetite" (August COTM. I had to.)

          "The Way We Ate: 100 Chefs Celebrate a Century at the American Table": a strange book. I've enjoyed reading it, it is full of lovely photos and interesting recipes, many of which I've marked (including some very good-sounding cocktails), but the title is entirely misleading. The book is organized according to decades and within those units, chefs (and that designation is loosely applied) "interpret" given years and their events, and the connections made are often quite a stretch. 1977, for example, is associated w/the release of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors." The corresponding recipe for schlutzkrapfen (which looks delicious) connects to said event because of "multiple voices or flavors, and a prevailing smokiness reminiscent of Stevie Nicks's lead." If you can get around that kind of thing, the book seems to contain several gems. It's not at all what I expected, but I don't regret buying it.

          A few days ago, I ordered another four books from TGC and can't even remember what they are right now. Someone needs to ban me from the Internet.

          79 Replies
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            Love this! I feel like a masochist for always getting myself onto these threads (although I've been doing pretty darned well). My favorite: "I had to". I certainly know that feeling.

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              I love that there are others out there that collect cookbooks like I do! You make me feel normal :o)

              1. re: CMCooks

                I have a recollection of a CH, who shall remain unnamed and isn't on this thread btw, who has over a thousand cookbooks. And there are certainly plenty who have hundreds.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I'm not sure who you're referring to but I have well over a thousand at this point! It's crazy, I know. And I don't have a large home. I'm facing the fact that a serious culling is in my near future, I just don't have room for all of them anymore.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    I spent a bunch of time last summer culling, and to be honest, I was really glad it happened. I can honestly say that I haven't missed one of those books (yet) and I took a LOT of them to the library - something like 6 big grocery bags. And I've been mostly good about not ordering a book the moment it crosses my radar.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I have been trying for some time to cull with very little success. So far I've managed to let go of something like 5 books. I need to go back on the purging thread and reread it. I need some inspiration in that department.

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        I didn't get the culling gene either. At least, not for cookbooks. About a year ago I put nine books on the floor under my bookshelf. Haven't looked at any of them since, and I still can't bring myself to get them out of the apartment. I did, however, manage to throw out a couple of shelves of novels and old reference books. Those shelves are now about half full. With cookbooks, of course. It's a disease. And I can't decide whether or not I'm pleased that there seems to be no cure.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          I have a Considering Discarding bookmark on EYB with about 35 contenders, but still they stay on my shelves, virtual and real.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        I've done a couple of major culls and, still, I have an overwhelming number of cookbooks in at least 4 rooms of the house. And my system of organization has broken down because I've run out of room --again. It used to be I kept all of my Asian books in one area, British books in another, appliance cooking in another, desserts in another and so on...but now almost every section has gone to overflow shelving, which means I can't find anything. And I continue to acquire more. It's gotten to the point where I feel so guilty about having them, that it's hard to cook from them. Like cooker's block!

                        So, yesterday, I literally boxed up almost 5 boxes of books with the intention of just holding them for awhile, until I'm ready to cook from them again until stop feeling guilty about them. Basically, I've regained my overflow space, plus one shelf.

                        I cut really deep. From Arabesque to Zuni Cafe--and that's not even a joke, both of those beloved books went in boxes. I haven't cooked from them in a long while and I just don't see a change in cooking habits on the horizon. Art of Chinese Cooking, all my Simon Hopkinsons, both of my 3 inch thick books on Latin American Cooking, Roden's Spain. Pok Pok and Smoke and Pickles (neither of which I cooked from even when they were COTM), David Thompson (that book is just too big!) and so on. I'm going to photograph each box (so I can find the books if I need to) then put them in the basement.

                        Basically, I asked myself: am I holding onto this book out of sentimentality? Do I have a book on this cuisine I prefer? And cook from more often? Or that is thinner? Or do I cook only 1-2 recipes from this book that I have copies online or elsewhere? If the answer was yes, into the box it went.

                        The sad thing is, I don't feel that good about it yet. Maybe it's because the boxes are still sitting around the house (waiting to be photographed) and, therefore, still feel like a burden? Maybe it's because I haven't really yet had the opportunity to experience the benefit of less crowded shelves? I'll have to see how I feel after a month or two.

                        Here's my thread on boxing up books for storage (a link to my cull thread is in that thread, too): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/983924

                        ETA: For the most part, I haven't missed any of the books I've actually culled, though I recently did buy another copy --for a mere $4-- of one I got rid of. Only one. So I feel great about the cull.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Oh, TDQ, I'm so sorry you're having boxer's/culler's regret about this. Sit on it for a while and make sure you're ready. Everyone is different - it is hard to give up things you've loved or expected to have a wonderful relationship with. It wasn't easy for me to do my culling, but I felt that I had to. I was getting grief from my husband and I had no more space for more books. And it was only in thinking back that I realized - Hey, I haven't missed a single one of those books! (and that has been a nice realization.) That said, given some things that have happened in my life, I may have gotten used to (sadly) having to say goodbye to things I loved or cared about more often and earlier than I would have liked.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Thank you, LLM. Don't feel too sorry for me! I have a great life and I've had the incredible luxury of being able to acquire as many books as I want. It's just that I've experienced a couple of major life changes in the past few years, a couple of really amazing, wonderful ones and another couple not so great, but hopefully only temporary ones.

                            I just need to acknowledge that my life is a little different and allow myself to adapt. I think I'll be able to cook more in a few years.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Definitely allow yourself to adapt. Give yourself time.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              No! I didn't get rid of it. I just boxed it up for long-term storage with the expectation that my life will be a little more sane in a year or two. And, of course, if I suddenly decide I MUST cook from it now, I can always dig it out.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Both arabesque and Zuni are books that are on my wishlist. Too funny. I think I'm still in the collecting point of my life. I haven't counted but I think I have like 50 cookbooks maybe more? I need a real bookshelf . They are all over

                                1. re: Siegal

                                  Do you buy all of the COTMs? If so, I'll bet you have more than 50, because it only takes 4 years if participating to hit 50! And then reading these threads...It happens really quickly if you're not disciplined... I need more discipline, I guess.

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    No I don't buy them unless they Interest me. Plus I only discovered this website like a year ago! I have a bunch of the old COTMs though by chance and love to read old threads. I'm going to count my cookbooks soon

                                    1. re: Siegal

                                      Seriously? It's only been a year? Time flies. Well, then you've only been tempted by about a dozen'ish books or so, then.

                                      ~TDQ

                                    2. re: Siegal

                                      I visit used bookstores and benefit book sales. Sometimes I get lucky. I think I paid $1 for Zuni Café. I read thru threads like these to see what's popular so I have an idea of what titles to keep an eye out for. My favorite independent bookstore just had a 25% off sale but I passed on some cookbooks I've been thinking about. Something about all the books I already have on my shelf and what cuisines I haven't been exploring.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    That was my response too when I saw "Arabesque to Zuni Cafe" *wince*

                                    1. re: CMCooks

                                      Oh, I winced, too. I really love those books. But I haven't cooked from them in a long, long time. Arabesque for the most part requires a lot of special ingredients I don't have time to shop for--and the seasons that are best suited to cook from it in terms of local ingredient availability (in Minnesota) line up to the part of the year where my husband is doing most of the cooking on the grill and when we keep everything as simple as possible. Or the very early fall when we are just slammed with too much to do much cooking other than old standbys.

                                      And Zuni, God bless Judy Rogers, but I don't have time to read her exacting 3 page directions for how to roast a chicken (or anything else), instructional and foolproof though they may be. And I have to say, right now that book makes me extra sad because I passed up a couple of visits to Zuni Cafe, formerly a fairly regular haunt of mine, on my last couple of visits to San Francisco because I thought it was the kind of place that would always be there.

                                      So, time to put that book away for awhile.

                                      Every book I put into the box has some kind of reason for surviving all the culls and why I'm just boxing them up instead of selling them or giving them away. They may not suit me right now, but I know/hope/expect to eventually come back to them.

                                      ~TDQ

                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Our culling got us down to a more manageable 60 or so books. We used to have about twice that (having had minor culls in the past). Every supermarket cycle, we picked a new book off the shelf - decided if there was nothing we actually wanted to cook, or cooked something and didnt find it memorable and, if so, they were culled. It general it's meant we've kept books by cooks, rather than books by celeb chefs.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      That's a great way to do it! Cook from a different book every supermarket cycle and decide what to keep.

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        I recently decided that this fall I am going to focus on one of my cookbooks every month in order to get through them. The only sad thing is that a lot of the books I've recently acquired have already been COTMs. Boo. The problems of being a newbie...

                                        1. re: pistachio peas

                                          Oh, but we love reading new reviews on the old threads! Please, please do post on them when you make something from one of the old COTMs.

                                          1. re: pistachio peas

                                            No, that's fantastic news! You can always post to those old COTM threads! And definitely lean on them for reference.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Thanks for the support TDQ and LulusMom. I have been posting little updates on some Marcella recipes I've done lately. I'm glad there is still room to contribute.

                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          TDQ,

                                          Your post, it seems, really struck a cord with a lot of us. Me especially. Like you, I have somewhere between 3 and 4 hundred cookbooks. Quite a lot by anyone's standards, but not as many as some on this board. I have a dedicated space set aside for my cookbooks - the bookshelves in my kitchen and my adjoining great room. This has always been ample space for my books, until recently. Now they are spilling off of the shelves, into baskets, piles and some are even living in the empty space behind the books on my bookcase. I feel incredibly disorganized and my books no longer are sorted by region, cuisine, size or any other system. Even with EYB I feel like I have to do something so I can effectively start using them again.

                                          I definitely don't find myself using the books the way I used to. But I still rely heavily on them for inspiration and that is what keeps feeding my addiction. If I don't have new sources of inspiration, I stop cooking and that doesn't work for my family. So, as the new come in, I have to find a way to let go of the less used friends on my shelves.

                                          Your decision to pack up some of your lesser used books has prompted me to do the same. I have cleared off 16 books from my shelves and have tucked them away. I am taking them off my EYB shelves too so the recipes won't to pull me back to them. Putting them away but not giving them away was far less difficult for me to do. Books I hang onto because of COTM but I never use (like my Madhur Jaffrey book) were easy to part with. I could probably pull another 30 easily knowing that they weren't really going anywhere (at least not for a while). Thanks for motivating me.

                                          Now, as for your decision to pack off Arabesque........

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            Well, I'm glad I inspired you!

                                            Arabesque hasn't gone anywhere. In fact, it's still in a box in the kitchen. I can get it back anytime.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                              P.S. Your state-of-cookbook-affairs, as you describe them, sound very similar to mine, although I have a different thing going on, I think.

                                              I have some kind of magical belief that cookbooks will solve all of my problems in the kitchen--and then some. They will make me a better cook, help me lose weight, help me prepare food that my preschooler will eat, help me find enough time in the day, help me save money, help me be more organized, help me streamline my shopping and pantry, help me eat more "locally" and in season, expose me to new cuisines, and, of course, knock my socks off with delicious meals.

                                              If only I could find the right cookbook.

                                              I haven't found it yet. Obviously, some books will help with one or two of these things, but I need to stop searching for the perfect one and just use what I have. No cookbook is a magic wand.

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Could there be there a service that would allow you to look through a book online and choose which recipes you'd like to have?
                                                Then, print those recipes, send them to you in a folder, or bound?
                                                I'd pay for this, would anybody else? I'm already paying for (and storing) a lot of bookspace!
                                                I randomly chose a book that I've never cooked from, a Joan Nathan book I bought years ago. Went through 180 pages and have just 16 recipes I might try.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  I think TasteBook was initially going to allow you to do something like that. Basically, the idea was that you would buy, say, an ecopy of Jerusalem, through TasteBook and you could pull recipes from Jerusalem into a custom cookbook of your design. No need to dispose of the book since you own it digitally anyway, though I believe you could only access it through TasteBook software (what if they go out of business?)

                                                  My recollection was that the books were pretty expensive relative to other means of purchasing them and the selection of cookbooks was pretty limited.

                                                  I don't think that's how it works now, though, though I haven't really explored that feature lately.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Ok, I just looked at TasteBook, that's the idea, maybe combined with Eat Your Books, or..
                                                    just plain renting ecopies of cookbooks would work too.

                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      You can do this for free through your local library .... or at least I can through mine :)

                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                        You can do what for free? I get that you can borrow books for free, even digital ones, but how does that help you copy recipes? (What secret am I missing?)

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          sorry, i just meant "rent" the ebook -- i don't know of any easy way to transfer the content! short of printing it out or retyping it.

                                                        2. re: Westminstress

                                                          Checking into this, I'm sure we'll see the day that all books are available this way. I'm in Utah, ebook rental is here but limited.

                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    TDQ, I think we all have a bit of this problem, or at least I know I do. :) Good luck with your storage project. I moved Arabesque to the kitchen about a year ago because I *really* wanted to use it more ... and one year later I don't think I've cooked from it at all! Though the recipes look amazing and I really want to try more of them.... meanwhile I seem to have less time than ever and my kids only get pickier ... haven't used Zuni in many moons either though it is a sentimental favorite and also stored in the kitchen.

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      I'm currently doing research for an upcoming column focused on getting healthy meals on the table in a hurry. Take a look at MinuteMeals "Quick & Healthy, Tasty, Good-for-you Dinners in
                                                      20 minutes." This just might fill the bill.

                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        Hey, thank you so much! I just found a "like new" copy on Amazon for a penny. :) If you feel comfortable sharing, I'd love to see your column when it's done, too! (New rules and all!)

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          You're welcome! The column will be published 2 weeks from today, but it will be behind a pay wall. I guess I could publish the unedited copy, however (believe I might have done that once or twice before).

                                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    TDQ, I've been reading your posts with interest. Culling definitely seems to have struck a cord with many on this thread (Interesting for a thread dedicated to just the opposite!!) I'm travelling so much that my past method for getting to know my cookbooks better to help me decide which to keep or chuck (CAWC) is no longer practical.

                                                    I was in a real bricks and mortar book shop this week and of course I gravitated to the Cookbook section immediately. I have over 2000 cookbooks now so when I head for the cookbook section, I expect to see very few books I "don't own" but guess what? I couldn't have been more wrong. I was simply overwhelmed with how many cookbooks I saw that actually interested me that I did NOT own.

                                                    Crazy as it sounds, this was a real "AHA" moment for me and since then I've been reflecting on my own cookbook collection. I started out by simply trying to understand what it was about "new or newly released" cookbooks that was so appealing. (I'm a sucker for a newly released cookbook) but then I got to thinking even more deeply about my collection and how I choose my books when making decisions to cook.

                                                    To help me think about which books it might make sense for me to part with, I've started to create a list of questions for myself about my cooking, cookbook preferences, cooking habits etc. with a view to using the questions as a filter to assist me in making decisions about which books I should keep and which books I likely won't regret parting with.

                                                    If you (or anyone else here) thinks this might be helpful, I'd be happy to post my questions in an new thread. I'd love it if others could assist by adding questions or, sharing their answers!

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      I think you should definitely share your list in one of the culling threads. But here's the thing that kind of shocks me. Looking back at our previous culling discussions. Most of that is dated...August 2013. Yep, we were having this same discussion almost a year ago.

                                                      I made great progress a year ago, but somehow lost most of that ground. Which means I need to be more judicious about my acquisitions, or I'll find myself in the same, overwhelmed, cramped place in August 2015.

                                                      Or, maybe I need to come to the realization that if I want to have the joy of acquiring a lot of new cookbooks (which, clearly by my participation in this thread, I do), an annual cull (or, as blueroom said in more culinary terms "skimming") of my collection just needs to be part of the package.

                                                      Your culling thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912083

                                                      My culling thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8835...

                                                      And, yes, you point out the irony of talking about discarding books in a discussion about acquiring books. Funnily enough, if you re-read my culling thread from the beginning, you'll realize it's as much about acquiring books as discarding them! Maybe what we're learning is that culling (ahem, skimming, clarifying) goes hand in hand with acquiring.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883555

                                                      But, here's the bottom line about culling. If you can come up with a way to come up with that lightning bolt of realization I describe in my rummage sale post (4th paragraph: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8835...), you'll be halfway there.

                                                      One thing about boxing up books for storage rather than boxing up books for discard. I found that it helped to do it super quickly. In other words, just as I acquired a bunch of book on impulse, I can "discard" a bunch of books on impulse. Then I let them sit there for a couple of days --still open-- and let myself marinate on the decision. Some books get rescued. Some more books get discarded. But during that marinate period, you get to have the experience of feeling what it's like to have space on your bookshelves, which can be motivating.

                                                      If you're going to employ this impulse discard method, you'll need to start with some nice, fresh storage boxes, a sharpie to number the boxes, a camera to photograph the contents of the boxes so you can find books later if you need to.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        It has occurred to me that I'm going through this with Lulu and her books. The situation in her bedroom had gotten beyond insane, and I told her it was time to get rid of some of the books before she could get any more (thank goodness we got her a kindle for christmas). No, no, no! She didn't want to give up any books. So ... thinking about how tough this has been for so many of us, I said "how about if we box them up and store them someplace other than your bedroom?" This made it easier (although still not a total sell), and we now have something like 5 full boxes of her books waiting to go into storage. I have to say, it was the psychology of the culling threads that helped me figure out a way to deal with her bedroom situation. Somehow knowing they're still accessible makes it easier for everyone, I guess.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I have a friend who is a compulsive hoarder of books and other printed media. The fact that she is a journalist and reviewer makes it worse since she gets sent virtually everything that comes out. She so completely ran out of places to put books, that she started storing them in her car. That is until the axle of her car broke, and she was forced to buy a new car. Her brother refused to hep her shop for one unless she promised that she wouldn't store any more books in the car. Since she lives in another city, I have no idea if the promise holds. I just keep telling her, "Remember the Collyer Brothers!"

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            Ha!!! I love this. And it reminds me of my ex-husband. He is obsessed with music, always has to have the newest/obscurist/coolest stuff. And he ran out of space. One day I looked in the freezer and he had filled one shelf with CDs. I kid you not.

                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      I had my cookbooks in three rooms of the house. Yesterday I bought a library and moved them to one area. Cookbook collecting is going to stop for me, to some extent. I just do not have the room. I was amazed at the books I bought and had forgotten about them. Having them in one place is functional, practical. I will be going through mine and giving some away as well.

                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                        When you say you bought a library, what do you mean exactly?

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          I meant bookshelves which I put in only one area of my house. I had cookbooks all over the place and now that they are in one place reality is setting in. I have a lot of cookbooks. It's great that they are in one place but I do not want to have more than what is in that particular bookshelf. Just gave three books to my nephew and will continue to do some purging. However I love my cookbooks.

                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                            Putting them all in one place/bookshelf really helps..

                                                    3. re: LulusMom

                                                      I really really love my books. I don't know how I'm going to part with any of them. In a perfect world, my solution would be to buy a bigger house with a dedicated library!

                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                        Well, my problem with my situation is that I can't really honestly say I'm using them. I would have no problem with the books if I really felt I was getting good use out of them. But, let's say I have 400 cookbooks (which is approximately what I own), that means I need to cook from one book each day to use most of my books in one year.

                                                        More realistic is to assume I cook from one of the books per week, which means it would take me 4 years to get through my books.

                                                        And the problem for me is that the sheer number of cookbooks I have is making it difficult for me to use the ones I have because I can't find them. I don't have a big house and don't plan on buying a bigger house in the near future.

                                                        So, I really need to get honest with myself.

                                                        I'm hoping this temporary solution of boxing a bunch of books up will help me feel less overwhelmed.

                                                        In the meantime, I just received a notice from Amazon that a book I had on preorder has shipped... :)

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Laughing about the pre-ordered book! Been there, done that.
                                                          Is a rented storage space a possibility? That way they're out of sight and you don't have to feel any guilt about not using them (not that you should be feeling that anyway) but you also don't have to really give them up, just in case.

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I don't feel like I have to cook out of all of them to justify keeping them. Some I just use for inspiration or reference.

                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                              I certainly count that as "using" them, although, I still don't thinking I'm using them once a day or even once a week right now.

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                          The word “culling” has not made it into my vocabulary yet...and to my husband’s dismay I keep re-decorating the house and looking for more ways to incorporate more “decorative shelving”. I think he knows now that re-decorating = new bookshelf!

                                                        3. re: flourgirl

                                                          I cull on a regular basis. Probably at least yearly. If I didn't I'd easily be where you are in cookbooks instead of the 300+ I'm at now. For the last 4-5 years my cull prospects get moved into boxes while I decide if I want to keep them before they go out the door. I culled probably 4 boxes worth last year.

                                                        4. re: c oliver

                                                          I passed a thousand many years ago. I've probably gotten rid of a thousand over the years, and still have... well, the last I counted, it was about 1,500, but I have not counted in a few years. Plus, the ones I get for the iPad "don't count". I think I have about 300 or so on there. Uh, last I counted, which I haven't for a while.

                                                          I definitely need to cull them, but I have a hard time doing it, because I have a lot of really great books, and I love them. Even if I don't use them, I love having them, and I love being able to look up multiple versions of almost any recipe imaginable. I've started buying more books for my iPad, and fewer hard copy books, so that helps with the space. EYB has helped me use them more effectively, but many of the books I have are not indexed or even in the database.

                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                            Why do you feel you need to cull? I know by reading your posts that you (and flourgirl) really love and really use your cookbooks. In my mind, unless it's a problem for you, it's not a problem!

                                                            In my case, I'm not using them as much as I feel I should, I'm out of space, and it's frustrating my husband. It's a problem. But, I don't put you and flourgirl (and many others of course) into the same category as me!

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              I would never cull a book that I have really used, but I have so many that I have had for years and never used at all! And I am out of space. What's more, we are planning on moving in the next couple years, and it might entail downsizing. I will always have a very large collection, but it needs to be a more carefully curated collection! Electronic books + EYB are going to be my salvation.

                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                That makes sense! I did a big move about a decade ago and, honest to God, there are boxes I still haven't unpacked. I thought I culled deeply before I moved (and I did) but I wish I'd culled even more.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  Exactly why I do it. Although I was looking at the built in hutch I have that's currently storing dvd's, blu-rays and video games and wondering where I could move them so I could take it over for books.

                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                    Moving is the very best thing for culling, in my experience. You have to pick up and pack every single object you own, so it's the perfect opportunity to ask yourself whether you need each thing, whether it's of use to you, whether you want to be unpacking it at the other end. I've done two major moves in the past 10 years, and in each case I did a pretty major culling of books (cookbooks and others).

                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      But, wouldn't it be great if you could cull without the hassle of moving?

                                                                      :)

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        It certainly would! I do find it much easier when moving; I guess I just adopt a certain, more ruthless (or maybe just honest) mindset as part of the process that I have a hard time reaching at other points. I've been pretty good about not acquiring a lot the past year or two, because I have a finite space that's already filled. Now I need to lose some of what I have to make way for the new or upcoming acquisitions, and I've been dithering.

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          It would, but I seem to need a (metaphorical) gun to my head to do any serious thinning.

                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                            You know, not to be all melodramatic, but that's the point I was pretty much at when I made the decision to pack up a bunch of books.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          I've moved 17 times in the last 28 years, but that has not been sufficient to keep the collection from growing. There have been some major culls, but of all the things I own, the cookbooks are more likely than other things to make the cut and get packed. And most of those moves, I've done the physical labor of hauling the boxes myself, so I seem to really be attached to those books!

                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                            Wow. That's dedication! As an experienced cookbook boxer and box-lifter, what would you say is the optimal size box for packing cookbooks? The boxes I packed a couple of days ago are a little too heavy and I'm wishing I'd chosen smaller boxes...

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              The small-sized boxes from U-haul or most movers are the maximum size to use for books. Even smaller is better.

                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                Thank you. According to uhaul's site, the small boxes measure Box dimensions: 16-3/8" x 12-5/8" x 12-5/8" (1.5 cu/ft).

                                                                                It's good to have this as a benchmark. I'm certain my boxes were bigger than that, but I didn't pack them full, either. I only did one layer. They are still too heavy.

                                                                                And, P.S. I also moved ALL of my books on the last move (very few of which were cookbooks, actually, since I caught the cookbook bug more recently than that). Yes, they are heavy, but they are relatively easy to pack! So, good for you for trying to cull now.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Yep, that's the size I meant. And other movers/box sources have similar sizes. Bigger boxes get heavy and awkward fast when books are involved!

                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                    I have used the small boxes filled 1/2 to 3/4 with cookbooks, then tightly packed the rest of the way with kitchen towels, oven mitts and aprons. Makes for a lighter box without compromising the stackability.

                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                  Ditto. And as an academic, books are the largest part of my "cargo," wherever I go.

                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  I find the standard size Banker's Boxes are perfect for books. They are a bit on the heavy side when packed but you can almost fit a single shelf in a box. It really helps keep them organized if you're moving.

                                                                                  When we moved, our (regular) library took up close to 100 of those boxes. I moved every single one of them. Don't ask me if they've been unpacked yet. Hubby has bookcases to finish staining before that can happen (and the project started 7 years ago).

                                                                                3. re: MelMM

                                                                                  17 times in 28 years! I'm feeling stressed just thinking about it!

                                                                  2. I just ordered Yucatan! I hope it has lots of pictures. I love armchair travel

                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Siegal

                                                                      "Yucatan" is loaded with gorgeous photos, but most of them are of food or people preparing and enjoying food, not so many of the peninsula itself.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        Can't wait to report back. Amazon have me free 1 day shipping to compensate me for earlier error so I will have my hands on the book tonight!

                                                                        1. re: Siegal

                                                                          I just made my first recipe from the book. Sopa de Lima. OMG it was sooo good. It is pretty much chicken broth, shredded chicken, sofrito, a Yucatan spice blend, and lime juice and zest. I served it with some French Bread I made from the Betty Crocker site (go figure it was amazing) and some white rice I made with a little garlic and some of the stock from the soup. You serve it garnished with chopped cilantro, lime slices, and crispy tortilla strips (the last two I left out). The best part about the soup was the super simple hot peppers thinly sliced steeped in lime juice. I added a little of the spicy lime juice to the soup and it was just amazing.
                                                                          I can't wait to try something else from the book.

                                                                          1. re: Siegal

                                                                            Sounds amazing! And simple.

                                                                            Would you mind providing a link to the bread recipe, too?

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                          my son was looking at the book for purchase at the library

                                                                          1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                            I haven't cooked from it yet, but I spent some time in the Yucatan and knew I had to have it. The only word to describe it, other than beautiful, is authoritative. Just from the reviews it struck me as a must have for any serious collector.

                                                                        3. re: Siegal

                                                                          I made my second and third recipe. I made plain rice - which is not exactly plain. Onions, garlic, stock, lard! Came out great with the interesting cooking method (cooked uncovered then steamed).
                                                                          But the main dish was the empanizado. Breaded cutlets. My husbands fav dish ever is schnitzel so this was a must. My husband chose a crappy cut of veal but otherwise it was great. It was marinated in citrus juice and a yucatan spice blend and you could really taste the marinade when it was cooked. I really liked it

                                                                          1. re: Siegal

                                                                            So impressed that you're cooking from this book. I'm still quite intimidated by it. I look at the list of ingredients, don't understand what half of them are, and just trying to figure it all out and locate the sub-recipes turns into a research project. This sure does sound good, though. For the time being, I'll just follow you around and take notes.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              Maybe the intimidation is the author lists as an "ingrediant" something with A crazy name like recado de escabeche and your like ??? But then you flip to the back and it's really just some spices ground together. Or a flour mixture. Take a look!

                                                                          2. re: Siegal

                                                                            My copy just arrived - what a gorgeous book, I can't wait to dive into it.