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Monday, October 30, 2006

Cookbooks

Quite often, the subject of cookbooks comes up over at the CLBB. Recently, someone was trying to find the King or Queen of Cookbooks - the person on the boards with the most cookbooks. As I read over the responses, my jaw dropped. 100? 190? 250? 293? 500? The numbers kept growing!

The winner? Our own Sweetnicks who came in with 932. Nine hundred and thirty-two cookbooks! I can't even fathom a number that large! Never mind that I don't have room to house that many cookbooks, I can't imagine ever having the time to even appreciate each and every one.

The more I read about some folks' love of (or is it obsession with?) cookbooks, I've come to realize that I really am not a cookbook person. I'm much too fickle. I'm commitment phobic when it comes to investing in a cookbook.

It's not that I don't appreciate a good cookbook, I do! I loved Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest with all the little notes and instructions all penned in Mollie's own hand, no less. Some cookbooks are beautiful, like Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook. Gorgeous photos and so many lovely-looking appetizers. I didn't care if I ever made a recipe out of it, I just had to have it.

Thing is, I find that I make a handful of recipes from each one and then I seem to lose interest. Perhaps I need to go through my cookbooks more often, but sometimes that just seems plain tedious. It's one thing if I just want to see what's inside - it can be fun to just casually browse, discovering and rediscovering - but it's another thing when I want to make something with chicken and end up hauling them all out, thumbing through each and every one, only to find there's nothing in any of them that I really feel like making.

I find that the internet better suits my needs most of the time. I can try recipes from many different sources without really having to commit to any one. And there are so many recipes floating around in cyberspace, there almost isn't any need for cookbooks. Almost......

Except that it just isn't the same to click as it is to turn the pages in a book. You really can't get any feel for the author of a recipe or cookbook by simply looking at a recipe online. Kind of like buying the single without buying the whole album (Did I say album? I meant CD.) You can still enjoy the song on its own, but you get a better feel for the creator if you buy the album, er, um, CD.

So, I still like and value cookbooks, I just don't want to own very many. At some point it truly begins to feel like clutter. I'd love it if my library had a more extensive collection so that I could take them home, look them over and then give them back when I was done. And maybe now and then, even decide I like one well enough to commit to it.

One of these days I'll get around to listing the few cookbooks that I do own here on this blog. You may have noticed that I put up a new section over on the sidebar a few weeks ago - Kitchen Hardware. I've begun listing many of the useful, fun or just plain practical items that make cooking more enjoyable. I hope to expand these lists and include cookbooks too. Won't be tonight though. Blasted Blogger isn't letting me upload any pictures - I guess I was lucky to get the one.

Off to figure out my menu for the week so that I can get to the grocery store tomorrow or the next day. What to make, what to make, what to make............??

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2 comments:

  1. 932 cookbooks!? Holy moley!!! That's astronomical. :) Wow. I'm speechless...!

    Like you, alysha, I don't use many recipes from my cookbooks and prefer making things from the web. Go figure...

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  2. Yes, I like the idea of cookbooks, but with internet search capabilities, I find them somewhat impractical to use. Maybe the age of technology has made me too impatient? If I want to make muffins, I may spend an hour and turn up a handful of recipes from the cookbooks on my shelf, but the internet will come up with hundreds of recipes in just minutes.

    And then there's the financial aspect of spending all this money to gather up a pretty small number of recipes you really treasure.

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