Cookbook Shenanigans

by Cate on May 11, 2005

There’s a meme floating around in the food blogging world, and Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness tagged me as the next participant. Happy to oblige.

First, for the cookbooks I have amassed over the years, then the Q&A part. I have three overflowing bookcases (11 shelves total) in my home office, and as you can see, they are in DIRE need of reorganization.

Bookshelf One

Bookshelf Two

Bookshelf Three

The madness doesn’t end there. In my filing cabinet, I have two overstuffed drawers of “Recipes to Try.” These are all clippings from various magazines and printouts from the internet. They are contained in very specific files (i.e., Scallops, Mexican, Trifles, Tarts, Cod, Beef, Cocktails, etc.) to make it easier if I’m hunting to fill a hole in a menu.
Drawer 1

Drawer 2

Not photographed are the overflowing tubs of recipes TO file in the TO TRY filing cabinets, and the hundreds of magazines to read. I try and do a little bit of filing and organizing every night, but some days are better than others.

Now for the Q&A:

1. Rationale behind what we’re seeing?
Although I’ve run out of space and desperately need to reorganize so I can get another bookshelf in here, there is some method to my madness. All the “like” books are together, i.e., all the tapas, all the Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks, all the Cooking Light cookbooks, all the Cuban cookbooks, all the same authors are together, etc.

2. Most recommended?
That’s a really hard question. I’d have to say probably Barefoot Contessa first. Never had a failure from her, and her recipes are easy and never cease to WOW and impress.

3. Cookbook that made you what you were?
Another hard question. I really don’t think there’s one cookbook that defines me or my cooking style. I tend to pull from all different sources, depending on the mood, event, need, etc.

4. Porniest cookbook?
Definitely Booty Food from Bobby Flay’s sidekick, Jacqui Malouf.

5. Sophie’s Choice cookbook? Now that Stephanie has filled me in on what the movie is about (having never seen it myself), I can answer this question … definitely my Tried-and-True file, without a doubt.

6. If you were a cookbook, which cookbook would you be?
Another vote for the Barefoot Contessa. I think her easygoing style is closest to what I try to achieve, especially when entertaining.

7. If your cookbooks were extremely valuable, so valuable you might hide it with other valuables, where would that place be?
Like Stephanie, I ain’t coughing up where I hide my valuables. I will say, however, that the most valuable part of my collection is most definitely my Tried-and-True file. Completely irreplaceable.

That’s it — show’s over. And next in line, I’m nominating SueBob over at Snackish. Have fun with it! :D

Tomorrow is my turn to bring lunch for the office, and we’re having company for dinner, so tune in to find out what I made. Until then…

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie May 11, 2005 at 4:35 am

Sophie’s Choice: while boarding trains to concentration camps, an SS officer tells her that she can save one of her two children. One can live, among the privleged, the other will (most likely) die. She’s not given much time, but ultimately gives up her daughter…

Sad, sad story…the movie’s a sobfest, but the book’s worse!


Cate May 11, 2005 at 11:13 am

Thanks Stephanie — now I can answer the question! :) And what, no comments on the cookbooks? ;)


Jennifer May 11, 2005 at 12:53 pm

So many recipes! So little time!

I really like your filing system. It is very specific…mine on the other hand is just one big file! When I have time I might convert to your system. Thanks for the tip!


Stephanie May 11, 2005 at 4:24 pm

Eh, it was late and I absolutely had to get to bed, sorry!

Seriously, though…impressive. If we had the space, I think we’d have just as many. As it is, the rest of our shelves are filled with our lifetime accumulation of books…we each came into this relationship a reader who doesn’t part with a book. So many books, so little shelving space!


Ana May 11, 2005 at 6:16 pm

Hi! My name is Ana and I am frequently on the CL buletin board (my nickname there is Aninha). I saw you once post your blog there and visit ever since!
I really enjoy reading your posts and reviews, specially because you always post the recipes!!
I love cookbooks and liked to see your cookbooks! I even showed the page to my husband, and hopefully he will stop thinking that I have too many already… and I only have 10 cookbooks… He does not understand why I “need” more cookbooks…. oh well, and I don’t even know how to explain, but I always want to buy cookbooks! Cooking is fun, I love it!
Thanks for sharing your culinary experiences with us!


linda May 11, 2005 at 7:15 pm

Wow, what a collection. I am green with envy! I have a whopping six cookbooks or something tragic like that.


Cate May 11, 2005 at 7:31 pm

Ana – thanks for visiting. Always glad to “meet” a regular. I try to post all the recipes I talk about so you guys can try them if you they sound good to you. No point in getting everyone’s mouths salivating and then not ponying up the recipe, right? Like you, I always want to buy cookbooks too, as you can tell! So hard to resist, although I do try!

Linda, between your collection and Ana’s, we need to work on that. :) My sister is trying not to buy any more cookbooks, figuring she can get everything she needs on the net. These days, that’s certainly true, but it’s also fun to “read” a cookbook at the end of a long day too.


Stephanie May 11, 2005 at 9:55 pm

Stop buying cookbooks? That will never happen!

I just bought…four yesterday. Gulp. Haven’t told Matt yet. Have no idea where I’m going to stick them, either…


Cate May 12, 2005 at 2:17 am

Hey, who said anything about stopping the cookbook purchases? Definitely not me! I would never encourage such a thing. What did you buy yesterday? Inquiring minds want to know… :)


JoAnna May 16, 2005 at 5:01 pm

I use the Internet for most of my recipes, but I do have a few favorites that I use exclusively for porn. Plates laden with food, lighted as carefully as Catherine Zeta-Jones’s butt in that spy movie where she was crawling on the floor avoiding laser beams. Hmmm maybe you had to be there.


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