Ode to the cookbook collection... - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-13-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mods this isn't a cooking question its a downsizing one. How many cookbooks do you currently own? How many of the them do you actually USE? I am thinking of getting rid of most of my cookbooks as I rarely use them and with all the online recipes I'm not sure I even need them. Fess up ladies...
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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Honestly I don't use any. I usually just jump online to find a recipie whenever I need one. But I am going to start making a Cookbook Binder where I'm going to keep all of our favorite recipies and ones we'd like to try

Jessica, Single Mama to Lailah(4) and Christopher(2)
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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I just decluttered and freecycled more than 15 cookbooks. I kept about 10 total, that includes one that my children will learn to cook from, as I did years ago, and a the ones that I use monthly. I love to sit with cookbooks and make a meal plan so I kept the ones I use. I have a bunch of those Kraft food and family mags too and I think I need to three hole punch them and make a binder of those, since I use those too.

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Old 07-13-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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I have a recipe binder and its the best. I received it at my bridal shower and have added to it since.

I have currently about 30 cookbooks. A few are on their second editions because I wore out the original. I also get hardback since they get used quite a bit.

But I also have passed on many cookbooks before. I remember donating a huge stack to my library. I also snagged a bunch of great ones at my neighbor the chef's garage sales.


One rule we follow- if the book has lots of recipes you will use, keep it. If its just one recipe, copy it down and let it bless someone else's kitchen.

I have also checked out dozens of cookbooks from our library.

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Old 07-13-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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This is a tough one for me... I have a ton of recipes (in dire need of organizing) and cookbooks. I honestly could see getting rid of even the more expensive ones that we rarely/never use - what's hard to think about is getting rid of those cookbooks that mean something - like the one that my church did when I was a teenager, and each person's name is beside their contributions. My grandmother, aunts, mother, my friends mothers'... just looking through it I remember so much about my childhood, and see the recipes for my grandmother's yellow cake, my aunt's chicken pot pie...What to do with that? Because there are only a handful of recipes I would use from it, but I can't bear to part with it.

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Old 07-13-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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I love cookbooks. Right now I have about 10-12. There are about 5 I use regularly, the rest I use more occassionaly. If I get a cookbook I rarely use, I will try to copy down the few recipes I like so I can donate it.

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Old 07-13-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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I love cookbooks and trying new recipies but I have a policy on them. If I have them for more than 6 months without using them I get rid of them. Currently Im giving two slowcooker books to a friend because they just don't have any recipies that my family will eat (they were given to me). I have three cookbooks, Betty Crockers, The Mormon Cookbook (it has some awesome recipies) an a small Chocolate Chirstmas recipe book (for Christmas baking and whenever Im making a gift). I also have my own little recipe binder that has recipes that aren't in any of them or ones I make up and my family loves so I want to remember what I did.

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Old 07-13-2008, 08:23 PM
 
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I have 20 or so, and I honestly use them all! Every week when I plan our meals I include a few standbys and then thumb through whichever book I haven't visited in a while for inspiration. I'll use a site like allrecipes if I'm looking for a certain dish or need to use a certain ingredient, but enjoy the cookbooks more when I'm just browsing. :

I tend to add cookbooks to my wishlist when I find a great recipe online that was taken from it, so I really only wind up with useful ones.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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I had about 75-100 cookbooks and sold/donated almost half of them a couple of years ago. I'm in the process of going through what's left, since I have much less book storage in my newly re-done kitchen than in the old (on purpose!).

I actually only USE about four or five. The rest have one or two recipes I use. I'm probably going to copy those and put them in a sleeve, then into a binder and let the book go. Much less to deal with.

I also have stacks of recipes cut from the newspaper or magazines. Those need to go. I don't use them, and they're just sitting. Still, I will probably yield to temptation and go through them one by one. They've been gone through that way once, and about half I recycled right off.

There are those cookbooks that one sits down and pages through, reading the recipes and stories. Those are the hardest...

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Old 07-13-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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I have 21 cookbooks and a photo album with recipe cards. I regularly use only a few of them, but a others are special to me, too. I could probably easily get rid of a few of them, but others I just like, even though I don't use them! When I need a new recipe, I usually find it at foodtv.com

They do take up too much counter space, so I am thinking of putting them in my regular bookcase.
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:39 AM
 
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I have 7, 5 of which I regularly use. Each time I try a new recipe, I write a comment under the title like "Kids loved it!", "double the salt", "half portion", "AWESOME", "so-so", etc. That way, I don't make a boring one twice and can easily find the best. Once I try them all (at least the ones I know I may like), I'll consolidate it to one large binder.

I : my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks!

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Old 07-14-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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I have 5 published cookbooks, and 2 compilations and I use all of them regularly. Like SAHDS, I like to put notes in the recipes for future reference, and can't do that with online ones (too lazy to print them out). I love the photo album one I've been adding to since I got it as a wedding gift. It has all my family and friends recipes in it with pictures. I've also added our family's new favorites, and those basic recipes I can't seem to memorize. The other compilation is a binder with sleeves for the full page magazine recipes and new ones I want to try.

I borrow a bunch from the library or pick up the occasional one at a book sale, but usually just photo copy the recipes I really want to try. It takes a lot for me to permantly house a cookbook on my shelf!
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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I'm down to three - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, and The Joy of Cooking. I don't even use How to Cook Everything but my dh likes it.

I used to have maybe 25. It was hard to let go of them but I don't miss them at all. Before I sold my other books I copied out the recipes I used. If I'm in the mood for a new dish or to try something I can't find in the books I have I go online or borrow from the library. And at this point I'm confident enough to make up my own dishes.

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Old 07-14-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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The two I use the most are The Joy of Cooking and The New Best Recipe collection. Then I have three others which I use occasionally. I have been buying cooking magazines like crazy. I also look online for things.

I moved recently and cut my cookbooks down to 6, with a few of those thin, magazine-like collections. I also have a folder of printed out recipes which I like and cook often.

Even that is too many. I need to cull them again...
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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I have 5 old/rare/vintage cookbooks that I am keeping for sure and about 30 general and specialty, coffee table quality local restaurant and special diet cookbooks. I will get rid of some since I got a lot of them before I changed my diet. I will keep some key ones though for when I have guests.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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Before I sold my other books I copied out the recipes I used. If I'm in the mood for a new dish or to try something I can't find in the books I have I go online or borrow from the library. And at this point I'm confident enough to make up my own dishes.
I bought a software program where I can store my recipes. My binders and recipe boxes always get out of control, so having it all on the computer, ready to print, makes my collection much less cluttered!

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Old 07-17-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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I probably have about 75 cookbooks, but I used to have a lot more. I have a large bookshelf in the dining room that is mostly cookbooks. When it starts to get cramped, I go through the books and donate the ones I haven't used in awhile. I also have several binders with recipes and some cooking magazines stored on the same bookshelf. In general, I find that having a "place" for things helps me to contain them. When things get too big for the space, I give some away.

I think in this Internet era my cookbook usage has really gone down. I clip things and put them in my binders more often than I used to. And I don't buy new cookbooks much anymore. I use the library's collection and copy recipes that look interesting.
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dolcedaze View Post
I have 20 or so, and I honestly use them all! Every week when I plan our meals I include a few standbys and then thumb through whichever book I haven't visited in a while for inspiration. I'll use a site like allrecipes if I'm looking for a certain dish or need to use a certain ingredient, but enjoy the cookbooks more when I'm just browsing. :

I tend to add cookbooks to my wishlist when I find a great recipe online that was taken from it, so I really only wind up with useful ones.

:

Pretty much how I use mine. I have about 20 but I do use them all and I love flipping through them for ideas. Also sometimes something I never thought I would cook becomes something I try, so it isn't a recipe I would have copied out. I never used to make rice & beans, but now I have a favorite from one cookbook I never would have copied out 2 months ago. They all fit on less than one shelf on my bookcase (right oppisite the kitchen) except the 4 or 5 I use several times a week which I actually keep in the kitchn on a shelf.

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Old 07-17-2008, 04:40 PM
 
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20
1 and I basically only use the brownie recipe from that one, and mostly guesstimate on quantities anyway.

Dh likes having cookbooks and we've got a shelf that wouldn't be used for anything else if we ditched them. I'm only willing to totally empty bookshelves if it means we can get rid of the whole bookcase.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:54 PM
 
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Let's see. I have "The Spice and Spirit of Kosher Cooking" and "Cooking Kosher the Natural Way", both of which were wedding gifts. Then I have 2 Passover cookbooks, and DD has one cookbook specifically geared for kids (which contains some good dessert recipes.)

Then there's the 6th cookbook that actually gets the most use. It's a looseleaf binder filled with recipes I've typed up- some from the internet, some from one of the other cookbooks, almost all with some tweaking from the original. This coming Passover, I may print up another copy of all my Passover-Friendly recipes and put them in a fresh binder, as I don't want my "year round" cookbook touching my Passover table.

I used to have a lot more cookbooks, but I gave most away as I didn't really use any of the recipes. The few I have are simple, basic cookbooks with recipes I'm likely to use often. The Spice and Spirit book happens to be a great resource- if I hadn't thought of typing up the most frequently used recipes, I'd need to replace it, as it's falling apart from heavy use. But in its current condition it will hold up as a reference book, any recipe I intend to use will get typed up and printed out. I may give away the "Kosher cooking the natural way" book, as it doesn't get much use anymore- but first I'll want to go through it and see if there's anything in there worth typing up. I used to find it a great reference as well, but now that I've learned more about traditional cooking methods and cut gluten out of my diet, much of the information is less relevent for me (either includes gluten, or isn't "natural" enough for me anymore.)

Maybe if I had more bookshelf space I'd feel differently about keeping a huge collection, but I'm in a small apt with literally 1 good bookshelf, plus 2 small ones that hold some children's books. I don't have a shelf in the kitchen for cookbooks- I don't even have the wallspace to put one up, and if I did I'd use the shelf for utensil and food storage! Decluttering the cookbooks means more room on the shelf for other books on other topics, and if we free up a whole shelf that means room for game storage or display space for photos or trinkets.

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Old 07-17-2008, 06:34 PM
 
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I have about 10.
I use a lot of recipes often from maybe 1 book.
I could get rid of them. I more often use online resources to find recipes.

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Old 07-17-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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I have about 30. But I do use them all, because I have a policy to get only a couple of cookbooks on each type of cooking. So if I need a slow cooker recipe, I would only be looking at 2 cookbooks. Or if I needed homemade granola, or feed the freezer cooking, or 30 minute meals, or whatever. So if I wouldn't get rid of a cookbook, because I wouldn't want to lose half my slow cooker recipes or half of my feed the freezer recipes, etc. There always comes a time when I need these cookbooks.

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Old 07-17-2008, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am down to about 10. In another 3 months if I haven't used them more are going.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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I *think* I have about 3-5. But I only ever use one, and not very often...but often enough to keep it. (That's the Betty Crocker one, btw. I like to peek at it for a guide of aprox. what kind of things go into recipes so that I have a reference point when I am cooking without a recipe. The other ones I go through occasionally for "ideas".
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm sure I have more than 10 cookbooks (most were received as gifts) and I almost never use them.

I have a small binder with plastic sheet covers and type up or cut out recipes to put in there. It's easy to clean and I can enlarge the font so it's easier to read. I also have my mom's recipe box and break that out once in awhile to find a recipe for somethings I had as a kid but can't find a recipe for now.

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Old 07-23-2008, 12:16 PM
 
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Okay, this is a GREAT thread! Now that I'm in packing mode for our move into my first house (good bye apartment living!) I've just gone through my cookbooks. I think I gave 4 or 5 to my sister to post on bookmooch. That left about 8 that I've packed. They are mostly the ones I don't use. Don't ask me why I kept them. Maybe I'll open the box again.

The ones I do use are kept above my fridge and they aren't packed yet (let me go count). 'K there are 20 there. 20? Really? And I just opened the box I packed and there are WAY more than 8 in that box. I'd say I have about 30-35 cookbooks! : Now that sounds ridiculous! I better go through them again.

I also keep Vegetarian Times magazines and collect other recipes from various places to keep in a notebook.

Well this was enlightening!:

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Old 07-23-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Crunchy Doula View Post
Honestly I don't use any. I usually just jump online to find a recipie whenever I need one. But I am going to start making a Cookbook Binder where I'm going to keep all of our favorite recipies and ones we'd like to try
i bought a little photo album. when i print a favorite recipe off the net, print as 4x6 card, cut it out and slip it into a page. or write a new recipe on an index card. you can remove the page you want while cooking, and if it gets dirty, just wipe it off (as it's in a plastic sleeve.)

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Old 07-23-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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See this bookshelf? The entire righthand side, as well as most of the bottom shelf of the middle. As well as about half a smaller bookcase/sideboard in the kitchen.

Many. Many.
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Old 07-23-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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hm. I have The More with Less COokbook, Laurel's Kitchen, Fannie Farmer, The Joy of Cooking, and the Starving Student's Cookbook (that one is for my kids). I hardly ever cook creatively, adn when I do, I can't follow recipes anyway, they are too constricting. I usually just look things up online, always putting the word "easy" before the dish I am looking for. LOL
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:36 PM
 
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We have 30-35 cookbooks. DH and I both enjoy reading them, looking at the pictures, browsing ideas. However we almost never use them in the sense of "following instructions to cook something". Maybe 2-3 times a week we'll follow a recipe from a book but mostly the books are inspiration and a source of ideas and any specific "how to" info comes from the web.

Like, I might be inspired by the picture/recipe for some neat dish... but I may not have spice X or ingredient Y or cooking option Z. But I'll use that image/recipe as an inspiration and use the internet to put together a similar dish that uses the spice/ingredients/tools I have.

The only cookbooks I use regularly in the way cookbooks are traditionally used are Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals, Biker Billy's Freeway-A-Fire, The Pooh Cook Book, and Cooking Like a Goddess. Oh, and the cookbook that came with our Georgio Formani.

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