Sunday, February 7, 2010

Clearly, a cookbookaholic

Now last year when I organized the kitchen, somehow I neglected to purge all the cookbooks in the hall closet. I know that I reorganized the bottom half of the closet, which has pans, a rice cooker, and other cooking stuff, but I must have neglected to get to the cookbooks.

Either that or I just reorganized them and didn't get rid of any.

When I purged and reorganized the books in the study, I got rid of hordes of cookbooks--but that was not my main stash. The study only contained a handful of cookbooks until this afternoon.

The first thing I did was dump them all onto the hallway floor and organize them into categories:

The hall closet is also where we keep our hard liquor, and it was actually in front of a full shelf of cookbooks, so consequently we rarely used any on that shelf unless we needed a specific one.

I made piles for healthy cooking, newish, kids, vegetarian, Asian, and specialty cookbooks.

Pile left is the Asian, and pile right is the vegetarian (we are not vegetarian but like vegetarian cookbooks, clearly...).
I went through each and every one trying to decide which to keep. The newer, healthier cookbooks had an edge over the older ones. Also, many of the specialty cookbooks got designated for consignment or donation. It's so easy to find recipes on the internet nowadays--why do we need so many cookbooks? We had so many that we couldn't even see all of our cookbooks, so we tend to use the same ones over and over again.

If an older cookbook had one or two recipes that we used frequently, I put those aside so I could copy the recipes and get rid of it.

Number of cookbooks this morning: 127
To donate: 23
To take to Powell's and/or consignment: 42
To post on 14
Number of cookbooks we now own: 45 plus 3 Christmas ones

I successfully shed 62% of our cookbooks today!! I had Mike's enthusiastic support, although I was not allowed to touch his beloved Delia Smith collection...which cracks me up! Even the ancient one--he claims it ties him to his childhood, although I pointed out that I got rid of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and the Joy of Cooking! (I prefer the more modern versions, such as Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.)

When Mike's mum was visiting last Thanksgiving, we were joking that he should start his own "Mike and Delia" blog in the "Julie and Julia" vein!
I feel such a great sense of accomplishment! And now off to Powell's to get some great credit for all of our rejects!

After my afternoon of organization, this is what the hall cabinet looked like, with 45 cookbooks (still a lot, I know...):

Now let's hope we actually use these cookbooks on more of a regular basis, now that they are more accessible! (And look at all that empty space in the cupboard, too!)

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