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How do you organize your cookbooks?


dvs
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not sure if this has been addressed elsewhere, but...

i finally have moved to a house where i have the space to give all of my cookbooks their own space *hizzah*!!

well, i'm wonering how to organize them. do you do it by size? alphabetically? by title? by author?

help!

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a) by size. The big ones will only fit on the big shelves

b) Sort of by cuisine; except that historic and valuable books tend to gravitate to their own corner regardless of cuisine,

c) By frequency of use: the most used ones, and old standbys tend to end up in the kitchen

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My girl has arranged my cookbooks in a really thoughtfull way..On the book cases she used a label maker to reserve the space.. The first areas are for Restaurant Books.. I.E Inn at Little Washington's,Babbo, Terra, French Laundry, Bouchon, Fallon, Les Halles, Antoine's, Galatiores, and so on.. .. Then she does the country of cooking in alphabetical by the Title.. Some subjects that come to mind are, Southern, Creole, French, Italian, Indian, Greek, Portugese, Mexican, Cuban.Spanish and there is a Compilation Section too.. Of course in alphabetical by cuisine.. Then there is a section of desserts subdivided by Chocolate, Ice Cream, and Baking..

I still screw it up.. I often just put the books I use on a table and she puts them away for me... :biggrin:

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I'm no help I'm afraid.  My cookbooks are subject to the laws of physics and entropy rules.

You too? :raz:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I recently rearranged mine and rather sorted them by ethnicity but not completely.Then there is a shelf of restaurant books and on the bottom shelves are the ones that are too big to fit on the other shelves except the "Beautiful" books that are even taller and they sit on top of another bookcase.

It would probably confuse others but I know where everything is.

When one of my sisters visited a while back she would take out a book and put it back in the "wrong" place and I would find it after she was gone. Mexican cooking all stays together for Heaven's sake! I thought it was obvious but maybe not.

A while back my second grandson and his family were visiting and he asked, "Grams, where is your Hungarian Cookbook?" He laughed when I pointed them out. He knew that I would know right where it was or had better be.

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I'm no help I'm afraid.  My cookbooks are subject to the laws of physics and entropy rules.

You too? :raz:

Me too! I think some of mine have migrated into L-Space. Many are in storage, in metal footlockers, with a list of all the books laminated onto the end. I converted one bedroom into a library and one entire wall of shelves holds cookbooks, plus a bunch of rare old ones, first editions, signed, etc., in barrister's bookcases. (I have a lot of other types of books too.)

The shelved ones are sorted by author and by regional, ethnic, type of food, type of cookbook (church/charity/Jr. League/etc.)

I have a bunch of favorites here in my office and then there are the stacks here and there on the floor, next to a chair or couch, in a box to be sorted, and I just noticed 6 that for some reason are in a garden trug on a work table and apparently they have been there for some time because there are several magazine stacked on top of them. (I am the bane of my housekeeper's existance, she likes everything neat and I am always leaving stacks of books here and there and everywhere.)

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Mine are sorted by utility value.

The dozen or so I refer to on a fairly regular basis are kept within arms reach, (when I'm at my center island), on a counter; larger books [Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home] into the corner to the left of my bread box, and smaller ones [King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book] to the right.

In a drawer beneath this countertop I keep some small paperback and pamphlet type books, [book that came with my KitchenAid mixer].

Atop my refrigerator, in a plexiglass holder, I display two of my first "celebrity" cookbooks; Frugal Gourmet and Beard on Bread.

In a cupboard above my range I keep more smallish books, [Aunt Bees Mayberry Cookbook], some magazines I have certain recipes marked in, and a pile of recipes printed off internet sites.

The rest of my cookbooks and food writing I keep in my home office or here at work, where I'm more likely to use them for reference than I would in the kitchen for cooking.

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That's kind of hard to do, since they will often cover more than one genre. I tend to go by author, with a seperate section for the variously authored "little old lady" cookbooks. One of these days, my wife's OCD is going to get the best of her, and I will end up with a searchable database on my computer.

Although, my favorite cookbook these days seems to be the internet. Already arranged and categorized.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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No particular order, but the cookbooks that get the heaviest workout are always front and center. I have alot of recipes on a disk on the computer and some loose recipes that I am going to have to create a binder for them. Food and Wine also gets a heavy workout too in my kitchen.

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Mine are arranged on the bookshelf the way they arrange the items at the grocery store.

The most often-used ones are at eye-level/in the middle, then the next popular are the two shelves down/one shelf up and the least-used are way up high where I can hardly reach.

The very bottom shelf holds some wine bottles and they will likely have to go to make room for more cookbooks.

"I'm not looking at the panties, I'm looking at the vegetables!" --RJZ
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Mine are organized by subject (either cuisine, type of cooking, all purpose cookbooks, famous chefs/restaurants, etc) and within those subjects they are organized by size. I can't stand having big books next to little books....

No one is allowed to replace books, I let friends look at them but they all know to leave them on the coffee table when they are done. I could pull any one of my 300+ cookbooks off the shelf blind folded, just tell me which one you want. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm standing here taking a quick look;

Professional books first (Epicurean, CIA, Cordon Bleu, Larousse).

Then some of the Art Books (Dining with Proust, Monet't Table - I have them all).

Then it gets into specifics on cuisine; Sauces, Soups, American, French, Italian, etc..

Next, I have specific ingredients; the mushroom, the oyster, the pig, game meat, terrines, salt, etc...

After that, I go into desserts and baking

The third quarter is literary criticism and food writing; M.F.K. Fisher, Linda Wolfe, Barbara Haber, James Villas

The Final bit is culinary history, by timeline: Apicius, Charles Perry's translation of Medieval Arab cookery, Renaissance, Victorian, etc.

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I have my antique/collectibles in a glass covered bookcase and the others in an open bookcase. I have several sections: technical, Bay Area, "celebrity chefs", entertainment, general cookbooks, ethnic cookbooks, baking, dessert, chocolate/confections, and misc.

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Time Life Foods of the World and the Good Cook have their own shelf. They are approximately the same size. They are roughly organized by thematic clump.

The rest are organized by size with a few thematic clumps.

And, the large stack beside my bed has no order at all, except for what is necessary for balance!

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I just arrange them by size and usage.

On one shelf goes Ducasse, Keller, Hermé, Larousse, etc...(the less-used books)

On another shelf goes Veyrat, Girardet, Bras, Gagnaire, Hervé This.... (most used) Often these books end up on the ground next to the bed as well, as I like to read late at night.

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Haphazardly. Mainly by size then genre - ethnic, general, authors, ingredients (eg fruit or vegetable books), non-recipe food books, food history, encyclopedias and reference books, food-related autobiographies, and "old" cookbooks. During an organised phase I started cataloguing them by Dewey decimal classification, but that was of course useless for shelf position - small next to large. So I gave up. This is about half the collection. I have to say it represents 40+ years' collecting.

gallery_44937_3643_16572.jpg

Less used ones are in two bookcases in a bedroom, very randomly arranged. And there are still some cartons in the cellar waiting for our next move to another rental house in March. Another good opportunity to review exactly what I own.

The pity of it is, in the house we own in NZ I had custom-made bookshelves specially designed to house the lot, a real cook's library. Sigh! Picture at the url below - sorry it's a bit fuzzy. That's about a third of the floor to ceiling shelving. We kept other books there, too.

http://cookingdownunder.com/articles/2002/110.htm

But in spite of it all, often I can't lay my hands on the book I want! I found myself standing in front of the bookcase the other day wishing I could just do a Google through all the books for some information I was after. I guess one day we will have the iPod equivalent of our library on one little hand-held device.

Edited by Pat Churchill (log)
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If I have several by the same author, I will group those together, e.g., James Beard, Julia Child, Bert Greene. Big books have to go on the bottom shelves, which are taller. Reference and diet/healthy books are on a shelf behind my computer, where I often am when I wish to look something up.

There is a section of tried and trues (Betty Crocker, BH&G, Joy of Cooking), a section of restaurant and take out shops, a baking/dessert section, geographical section, and probably a few more I don't remember. (I can't go take a look, since about 2/3 of my books are still in storage.)

Most everything else is lumped by author as either women's or men's cookbooks. I almost always remember who wrote the cookbook I'm looking for, so I'm cutting my looking in half automatically. Alphabetically doesn't seem to work very well, considering the wide range of sizes.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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By genre/ethnicity first, then by size and/or author within each group. I've grouped together books on American food, Mexican and South American, European food by cuisine, Middle Eastern food, Asian food by cuisine (with the largest sections devoted to Chinese and Japanese cooking), then a shelf of baking and dessert books and holiday cooking. I have a pretty good memory and can usually lay my hands on any given book within minutes -- unless someone else has moved it!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Congratulations, dvs! This is the fun part of moving.

Here's how mine are organized, by shelf (each shelf goes tallest to shortest from left to right).

-things I don't use or don't use much, but like: Junior League, food producer books and pamphlets, celebrity cookbooks that i don't use much. The Jif Choosy Mothers Cookbook and Dom DeLuise's Eat This, You'll Feel Better fall into that category. So does the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, and the cookbook by the Ladies' Club of the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, GA.

-Reference books: The Food Almanac, Larousse, etc., go here, as do my CIA textbooks.

-Binders of recipes, including my coursework from the CIA, FCI and other places.

-Books I use a lot, like Joy, The Way To Cook, Cake Bible, Classic Home Desserts.

-Beautiful, coffee-table style cookbooks that I use: Charlie Trotter's first one, French Laundry and Bouchon, Elements of Taste.

-I also have a shelf for stuff that I like to read like Ma Cuisine, Fork It Over, Cod, Salt, Gallery of Regrettable Food, Soul of a Chef, Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, etc.

-One shelf of ethnic cookbooks and restaurant cookbooks, and one shelf for stuff like my James McNair and California Culinary Academy series', and a Bon Appetit series.

I also have every issue of Saveur, and every issue of Cook's since it went to no-ads.

-The ones I really don't like (heh) are in the basement, holding up the foosball table, or being used as a printer stand here (spines to the wall).

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I take a mixed approach, with a heavy dependence upon stochastic theory and the Laws of Quantum Physics. Effectively, I have come to learn that a cookbook can be in any location in the house at any time. The only sure thing is that it will not be where I'm looking for it at the precise moment I need it.

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I take a mixed approach, with a heavy dependence upon stochastic theory and the Laws of Quantum Physics.  Effectively, I have come to learn that a cookbook can be in any location in the house at any time.  The only sure thing is that it will not be where I'm looking for it at the precise moment I need it.

I lol'ed!

I sometimes find myself in a similar situation and can't help but wonder how the things end up where they do--but I am mighty grateful that I found them!

PS: Police officer: Do you know how fast you were going?

Physicist: No, but I know exactly where I am!

"I'm not looking at the panties, I'm looking at the vegetables!" --RJZ
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One of those life-long ponderments.

I suppose it'd be considered categories. Although the categories themselves are not arranged alphabetically but idiosyncratically, authors within are, and their works by title within. Some things I just want to put together, and so let it happen; Russian and Japanese, for instance, near each other. I have always thought of it as symbolizing hope for resolving the historical Kuril Islands dispute.

Like Torakris, I know where everything is, and had better be the one to replace volumes if they are to be found the next time.

The cookbooks are more easily negotiated by others than the records, whose filing system I have never been able to explain. Course I bedevil myself sometimes, like where did I put "Raw Power," is it under P for Pop or S for Stooges or perhaps O for Osterberg.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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The cookbooks are more easily negotiated by others than the records, whose filing system I have never been able to explain.  Course I bedevil myself sometimes, like where did I put "Raw Power," is it under P for Pop or S for Stooges or perhaps O for Osterberg.

I was looking for "Raw Power" just the other day--first I looked under "I" for "Iggy," then "S" for "Stooges," but I found it under "P" for "Pop."

I have my cookbooks arranged in various ways. I have sections for East Asian, West Asian, British Isles, Europe, US & Canada, Mexico and further south, bread, other baking and desserts, general cookbooks, vegetarian, Asian vegetarian, cookbooks too big to fit in their sections, preserving. I think that's it....

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