Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to those cookbooks

I'm having a hard time letting go of the excess cookbooks. I'm not sure why, can't yet pinpoint it. I have the cupboard set up for them, and I just need to choose which to keep and put them in the cupboard. So what is the hold-up?

I suppose I could choose the ones I think I'll use most, put them in the cupboard and store the rest for a set amount of time, selling them if I haven't referred to them in that time. I could do that, couldn't I?

They're just books. They're not magic. They're just paper and ink, and who knows if the recipes are even any good? I sure don't, I haven't tried most of them. How could one? To cook every recipe in a cookbook could take years. Years. Remember that book I mentioned a while back, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, about a New Yorker who decided to give her life meaning by cooking every recipe in volume 1 of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One? It took her a year, and it was sometimes a miserable one, to cook every recipe in that admittedly large, book. I do not want to spend a year of my life doing that. In fact, most of what I cook is made up by me, as I'm doing the cooking. Why do I even have cookbooks?

Still, I'll move these books. I'll stow what fits upstairs. The rest will be tucked into a basement storage cupboard, to be reassessed in three months. Seasons change after all, and I do almost no baking in the summer. I might need those cookie books in a few months, when the fall holidays come.


Chief Family Officer said...

I'm not saying this is your problem, but I have seen this come up before, so I'm throwing it out there. Is there an emotional block that's made it difficult to throw out cookbooks? Something relating to your childhood, like bonding over recipes with your mom or grandma. Or have you always dreamt of becoming a chef or writing your cookbook? I find with my recipes, sometimes it's hard for me to give them up because I want to make every one and I don't want to accept that I simply don't have the time or skill to make certain ones. In any event, good luck! I really admire your determination to get clutterfree!

paisley penguin said...

Maybe you could browse your cookbooks and make a few new things every week or so. If you like it you could record it on your computer or find it on the food network website? I am trying to do the same thing with my cookbooks. Favorites are recorded or found online and saved and then the cookbook is going to go bye bye.

Julie Anne said...

So often when I am trying to come up with something for dinner I want a recipe that uses what I have on hand and is at least a little different from what I usually cook. I have about 10 cookbooks and quite often I ignore them and head straight for the computer. I love to search for exactly what I want right now (like mexican + chicken + black beans) and I make substitutions on the fly based on what's in the house. Do you ever do that? Would it help you cull some of those books? Thanks for sharing your journey with us!