Today I thought it was time to take a really good look at all the cookbooks we own. We have so many and most of them we hardly ever use. Also, most of the time we look online for new recipes (there’s this thing called Pinterest, you know?). I do love them though, and there are a few that we do use each week at least. My favorites are Het Kookboek by Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie’s Italy (this Jamie Oliver cookbook has a great pizza dough recipe), and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We keep our usual suspects on the shelf above the kitchen counter:
The rest sits on the bottom two shelves of the Lundia unit in our kitchen:
Behind the books in this picture you can just spy the spot where we usually drink our morning coffee – it’s that same spot where I like to sit and look out at the garden – it’s basically where I hang out all the time. A few days ago we had come to the conclusion that it’s actually a lot more practical to turn our books around to face that part of the room. That way we see them when we try to think of what to make for dinner – which is usually the main topic when we talk over coffee. So I thought that if I were going to move them around I might as well do a tiny cookbook purge.
So this morning I first read some articles about purging cookbooks. The first one was a general tips and tricks article that also focused on how to keep your stash of culinary magazines under control and how you can best keep your single recipes orderly and together – that’s for another time though. I did like the suggestion that you don’t really need five cookbooks on the same subject – two might be enough (sound familiar?). At the end of the article the writer suggests that after you have purged your collection you should try to stick to a “one in, one out” rule: so when you get a new one, try to get rid of an old one. I don’t know whether I will be able to stick to that rule but I’ll try to keep it in mind.
The second article I read was by Adam Rogers who blogs at amateurgourmet.com. His story was a familiar one: you’re moving house and you can’t take everything with you. While he was doing his purge he tweeted about the books he was getting rid of: The River Cafe ones, Nigella’s books, even his Larousse Gastronomique! Apparently – the internet was shocked! Now I have to agree with the internet: if I owned a Larousse I would never give it up and I kept all my Nigella cookbooks but one. I like his mantra when he purged his collectionI going through my stash: “Do you use it, do you love it, but–most importantly–do you trust it?”
After reading the articles I first went through our collection on my own and did a little “pre-purge” as you might call it: setting aside the books I definitely did not want to hold on to. However, I then concluded that this was more of a project I had to do with Thomas because they’re his books too. So tonight after dinner we continued the purge and we only kept the books we love, use and trust. We got rid of those books we have loved but don’t use anymore, the ones we don’t think we will ever use and the ones we had multiples of. For instance, we over 4 books on Japanese cuisine – that was a bit ridiculous considering we only make sushi one or twice a year.
So here’s how the other side of the same Lundia unit looked this morning during coffee…
….and here is how it looks tonight!
We also updated our “top” selection that’s on the shelf above the kitchen counter because you need to shake it up every once in a while.
Now here is where I need to maybe warn a few of you dear readers. I don’t know if anyone who reads my blog ever gave me a cookbook. In that case: your book might not have made the cut. I am sorry. It’s not that I have never loved the book, it’s just that right now: me and the book need to go our separate ways. Also, I did really appreciate the gift and most of these books I did actually use. So here they are: The cookbooks that are no longer in the running towards becoming Roswitha and Thomas’s next Top Cookbook.
…we had a great run Daily Italian…
…and I’m sorry Nigella, but even you didn’t make the cut.
If anyone reading this in interested in one of these books, let me know in the comments and I’ll try and get it to you. I do think almost all of them are in Dutch (sorry Alison!)
Now – what’s for dinner tomorrow?