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Cookbook Collections That Go Unused


Porthos
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I realized this past year that I have a habit that I can't explain. I love to buy new cookbooks and yet I rarely consult cookbooks unless looking for a very specific recipe.

A little background. My sweet wife and I have been married for 28 years and love to cook and entertain. She has a knack for hors d'oeuvres and desserts while I am more the entree and side dishes guy. For every-day meals we split up who fixes the evening meal (the only one we're together to eat during the week) based upon who gets home first that day. An example of my everyday cooking is a meal from last week. I seasoned 4 chicken breasts and initially sauted them to about 75% doneless. I then added chicken broth and white wine and brought it to the simmer. When the breasts were done I removed them from the pan and reduced the broth/wine mixture then added in some sour cream. I served the breasts with pasta and steamed vegetables, napping the breasts and covering the pasta with the sauce.

So here's the question. I will spend gift cards that I could use anywhere in a book store buying more cookbooks - adding to a collection that may only be consulted 2 or 3 times a year. Am I alone or are their other cookbook addicts out there that share this trait? I'm not troubled by this - just curious.

Porthos Potwatcher

The Unrelenting Carnivore

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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I don't buy many cookbooks anymore because I realized that I rarely cook from them. I do get some inspiration from some, but I tend to get that from my foodie magazines.

I'd like to cook from them more, but it's always one thing or another: makes too much, makes too little, I don't have the specific ingredients on hand, takes too long, ingredients cost too much, etc. I'm just not good at planning to make a recipe, making sure I have it all on hand, and making sure I have enough time to make it happen!

I have a couple of "go to" books that are almost all general purpose cookbooks that I've cooked out of for years. But the rest...*sigh* mostly for kitchen decoration, as far as I can tell.

Marcia.

cookbook impaired

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Oh, this one is easy to answer. I enjoy reading cookbooks! I read them like novels. That is the way I primarily use them. Of course, I might use the recipes, but I consider that entirely optional.

Charley

Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

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I don't buy many cookbooks anymore because I realized that I rarely cook from them. I do get some inspiration from some, but I tend to get that from my foodie magazines.

I'd like to cook from them more, but it's always one thing or another: makes too much, makes too little, I don't have the specific ingredients on hand, takes too long, ingredients cost too much, etc. I'm just not good at planning to make a recipe, making sure I have it all on hand, and making sure I have enough time to make it happen!

I have a couple of "go to" books that are almost all general purpose cookbooks that I've cooked out of for years. But the rest...*sigh* mostly for kitchen decoration, as far as I can tell.

Marcia.

cookbook impaired

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Thank you, Maggie, for the link. Fun reading + now I need to see if I can even come close counting our collection since they are scattered in 4 different parts of the house.

p.

edited because I need to hit the "preview button first - glad for the edit button 8-).

Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Thank you, Maggie, for the link.  Fun reading + now I need to see if I can even come close counting our collection since they are scattered in 4 different parts of the house.

p.

edited because I need to hit the "preview button first - glad for the edit button  8-).

Well, I've been slowly collecting cookbooks since I was a teenager. Most are because I have been inspired by the author one way or another. The others, I've just picked up and thumbed through them at the book store and fell for the foodie pr0n :)

The last few I've gotten I bought because I had a chance to get them signed by the authors. Wolfgang Puck, Martin Yan and Ming Tsai to name a few. What a great apportunity it was to meet them! You know, the cookbooks are great too, lol. I'll post some pictures later.

I do use [most] of my cookbooks on a regular basis. I refer to a couple authors books on almost on a weekly basis to answer questions or to aid in menu creation (Escoffier and James Beard). A few, I must admit, just sit there and collect dust.

Heck, if we didnt buy cookbooks, who would make them!?

Edited by Chef Bradley (log)
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\Am I alone or are their other cookbook addicts out there that share this trait?  I'm not troubled by this - just curious.

Porthos Potwatcher

The Unrelenting Carnivore

I do the same thing. I buy cookbooks left and right. I also buy books about food, and books about restaurants. This year (I counted up on Amazon and half.com) I bought more than 200 books in these categories (!!!)

But I don't cook from recipes, because that takes all the fun out of it for me.

If I'm craving a food that I'm not all that familair with cooking, I will consult my book collection, primarily to learn how that ingredient behaves when cooked, and what types of cooking it takes best to (I rarely get flavoring ideas from books, though), usually a few days in advance of making it. And I'd say I do this a few times a year.

So, you're not alone.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I'll join!

My name is Andie and I too am a (cook)book addict.

Collecting is probably some symptom that a psychologist would blame on a deprived childhood...

I collect a great many books in several genre.

Over the years I have added on to two different homes to make room for more books.

A cookbook doesn't have to be used to be a pleasure to own. I too read cookbooks for pleasure, for inspiration or sometimes for a challenge.

And no, my childhood was not deprived, in fact, quite the reverse.

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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I too have been collecting cookbooks since I was a kid -- started in junior high home ec class! But I also do not generally cook from them. My family laugh at my collection because they know I have a rebellious streak and cannot follow directions. I like to compare different versions of the same dish to come up with my own, and cookbooks are lots of fun to dust (joke!).

I also have some cookbooks that I would definitely NOT cook from -- they are more curiosities than anything else. One of my favorites was a gift from my late grandmother. When I was a poor starving student, she gave me a book with a gazillion hot dog recipes. I only eat them one way -- Chicago style -- but I keep the cookbook still as a remembrance of Granny.

Cookbooks are also a remembrance from places that I have traveled. I try to find a local cookbook wherever I go. Cookbooks from other places are also a way for me to travel to those exotic lands. Perhaps I shall never get to the Congo, but I know what kinds of foods they eat there, and perhaps I can experience a little of that faraway place by eating some of the same food that people eat there.

(edited to go on and on and on...)

Edited by chile_peppa (log)
"It is a fact that he once made a tray of spanakopita using Pam rather than melted butter. Still, though, at least he tries." -- David Sedaris
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My name is Doddie and I am a cookbook addict too.

I find it relaxing to read at night (and very persuasive for those midnight raids in the pantry and fridge).

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I have been collecting cookbooks since my mid teens and when I'm in the mood I will open some of the oldest and the foodie splatters on favourite pages are as evocative of times long gone as songs and certain fragrances can sometimes be. So I see these cookbooks as a sort of diary of my life.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As much as I would love to have a cookbook collection that I am embarrased about....space limitations and frequent moves prevent it. My need is filled by going to the library. Many times you can get on the request list for new cookbooks, but often what is on the shelves includes a few classics. I will read them like a book, make a list of the recipies I would like to make from the book, and sometimes photocopy or scan selected recipes.

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I love cookbooks, but I too have a bunch that I don't bother to use. It seems like the spontaneous buys are the ones I tend not to use while the ones I actually planned to buy I use quite frequently. One exception to the spontaneous buy category of books is my first Japanese cookbook, which I still refer to regularly. I found that with a couple of basic and very good books, I don't need other books except if I'm looking for more inspirations.

Since I'm still fairly new at cooking, I still follow recipes from cookbooks, though I'm finding myself improvising more and more. I've even started to "steal" recipes from restaurants (try to figure out the ingredients of a dish I liked and eplicate the dish at home).

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You can do an impulse buy airport ton o' trash -- a Patricia Cornwell here, a Tom Clancy there. So what? It's what felt right at the time.

With an impulse buy cookbook there's at least a small chance you'll be happy to have it around in a year.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love cookbooks too but i tend to only buy cookbooks that are a good reference point and can teach you something new like techniques from different types of cuisines etc... books that get alittle wacky and more complicated ill buy if they are on sale or cheap like in a art book store.. but the wacky stuff i usually leave to my imagination! :biggrin:

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