I would rather tell you how many shoes I have in my closet than how many cookbooks I own. And actually, it’s not about how many I own, but how many I use regularly.
And when I say use, I obviously mean for recipes (my current 4-5 favourites rotate in and out of the kitchen) but also the books that I love to look at, that remind me of somewhere I travelled or just tell a good story or the books that I WILL use when I finally get around to doing some pit cooking in my backyard.
But, if you love and use cookbooks you also know that, like an uncomfortable shoe, there are disappointments. Recipes that never work or are too vague, purchases that were spontaneous “yes! I WILL be an expert confectioner!” and the trendy stuff (how many Jamie Oliver cookbooks does one house need?).
I also do not mean to imply you have to cook out of a cookbook to enjoy it. Not at all. But, at least for myself, now that I know what I like I have a better idea what is a worthwhile investment of money and shelf space. And it forces me to look and flip through and appreciate the book right away as I will have to return it sooner or later.
THUS I INTRODUCE FELLOW COOKBOOK ADDICTS TO THE LIBRARY.
I myself forgot about the library for many years. With amazon and ebooks downloading in a flash, it seemed troublesome to go somewhere to physically check out a book. In fact, it did not even occur to me that the library had modernized since I was 12 and is now (gasp) on-line.
I got myself a card and now I just log on, put a hold on the cookbooks or books I want and I am sent an alert when it arrives at the branch of my choice.
Sometimes it takes a day or two and sometimes a few weeks (but how exciting when the email arrives saying Happy Day! The Art of Living According to Joe Beef is mine!! ).
Now with cookbooks I borrow them. I read them and maybe try a recipe or two. And generally have a clear sense of whether I need this particular book at my fingertips at a moment’s notice.
And I feel a little more satisfied when finally making a purchase. Yes, I took the book for a test drive. It performed as I’d hoped.
And while you’re at the great place called The Library you can also get books such as this:
Or, something beautiful and simple such as this:
And all in all, the place just smells like books and pages and everything is organized and you can hide in a corner where no one knows you reading the latest issue of The New Yorker.
Or just looking in fashion magazines for shoes to buy.