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What?!? I have to admit, I love cookbooks, and have a small problem with collecting them. No, I'm not cooking from them, but rather reading them like novels...and I am unable to throw them away! Your post was inspirational, but it lead me to wonder--what did you do with these cookbooks that you can live without??!!


Golly, I've got a ton of cookbooks, and I could probably live without most of them. But since I have space for them, I keep them and enjoy them. I've been thinking I should set myself a cookbook challenge, though, and do a recipe from each one over time.

When in the '80s were you in Chengdu? Do the names Andy Mertha and Greg Ferguson ring a bell? They were teaching at ... I want to say Sichuan Normal U., but I could be wrong on that. 1988-'89. Such a beautiful city it was then.


Yes, where are the cast-offs going?


This is why I am NEVER going to move.
At least not unless I get a lot more money; then I might buy another house and have two places with lots of cookbooks!


I love cookbooks. I especially love old, garage sales, charity shops kind of books. Not only they are cheap to buy, many of them are old receipts and they read like history books. Since I do make a point of collecting from different countries, languages etc. these cookbooks bring cultures to my home.


I stopped buying cookbooks now that I have access to a good library and can borrow a lot of them. I only buy the cookbook when I find myself borrowing the same cookbook repeatedly from the library. I do love Hiroko Shimbo's Japanese Kitchen book. It's really wonderful and I've used it quite a bit.

Of the cookbooks I do own, I love Beranbaum's baking books (the cake and bread bible are really great for me) and I have a bunch of Malaysian ones that I go to for reference.

These days though, I find most of my recipes from foodblogs, the internet or food magazines. Isn't it wonderful how much we can access through the internet? LOVE IT!

Lisa in Toronto

Some books are just too specialized.
I love foods of the middle east/mediterranean, but if I only ever make one moroccan carrot recipe from a book, because the other recipes don't suit my needs, then probably I should just copy the recipe and give the book away.
Early in my vegetarian cooking days people would give me random books that had vegetarian in the title, but the recipes were not really very tasty. I should just give those ones away too.
Also any cookbook without an index should probably be packed off to Goodwill.
Thanks for making me think about culling the recipe books!
Best wishes for as smooth a move as possible.


you've just inspired me to review my collection.


Jamie, BM - castoffs are going to friends. Failing that, a bookstore and, failing that - the round file.

Hi Kitt - we were there '84-85, at Sichuan University, so a few years before your friends. Yes, it was a pretty neat little town, and I know much of the old parts have disappeared. Still - we're dying to go back and eat!

Kalyn - I shudder to think how large my collection might grow if we ever lived in one place for more than, say, five years!

Cindy - I picked up a couple of those types of books when we were back in the States. The secondhand book shops in MI are great troves ...

Hi Annie - I have to say, I have never cooked from a recipe I found on the internet. Don't know why...

Lisa - I know what you mean abt vegetarian books ... there are some horrible ones out there. Thanks for the good wishes.

Kiko - good luck with it then!


I came across this at just the right time! I'm moving house again and am desperately trying to dump some cookbooks. Am having a terrible time deciding about the food porn cookbooks--the ones I never cook from but love looking at the pictures. And your decision to get rid of the Book of Great Desserts is so bold! I've never been able to dump a cookbook that I've had any previous success with. With me luck--I hope to have tossed at least ten by this time next week. Would love to see a list of your favorite cookbooks as well.


Hi Robyn,
A reader of my website directed me to yours. I too am getting rid of a lot of my cookbooks/culinary mysteries, a result of a New Year's cleaning binge. Wish I could buy some of your castoffs! :p As they say, one girl's trash is another's treasure!

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