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13/09/2011 / melgardener

The great recipe book round up

Hi. My name is Melanie. And I have an obsession with recipe books.

Yes, folks, it has come to this. I stand here before you, with hand on my heart, and admit to my infatuation. Of course, I have absolutely no intention of entering any form of rehabilitation to deal with said addiction. Except that I may need to up the credit limit on all my cards in order to fully enable my problem.

In my kitchen I am on a first-name basis with Jamie, Nigella, Donna, Bill, numerous MasterChefs – not to mention the many editors of various Women’s Weekly and Family Circle tomes – and anyone who promises to share their recipe secrets with me.

To be fair, I genuinely had no idea that I had a problem with recipe books until I recently decided, in what wisdom I am yet to discover, to have a clean out of the recipe book cupboard.

The results can be seen here…and a sorry sight it is, indeed.

Of course, I have my favourites. Those books that are marked with cooking love – a spot of dripping oil here, scuffs of flour there, smears of butter on pages and, in one sorry case, a burnt edge which was the result of a foray a little too close to an open flame. And I also have those books from which I have not cooked one recipe (and probably never will) but I love the images and the content so much that I insist on keeping them.

I also found, at the back of the cupboard, loose-leaf folders containing all manner of handed-down recipes, recipes photocopied from friends and downloaded from the internet, along with recipes I have insisted (in the way only the true tragic can) people transcribe and send to me.

“Why do you keep them?” I hear you ask, and it’s a quite reasonable question. The answer is this: some of them were given to me as gifts so I don’t feel right in getting rid of them, some of them contain recipes I pretend my family will one day love and insist I make on a weekly basis (despite all evidence to the contrary), and some of them contain meals I actually do cook (even if it’s infrequently).

One might suggest the keeping of all these recipe books is akin to hope springing eternal and, yes, there is some truth to that. But the other truth is that I love having access to these books – even if I only ever make approximately 10 per cent of the contents. I love the escape of delving into their contents and sharing the author’s passion for all sorts of food, how to prepare it and – most importantly – how to serve and eat it.

Do you love your cookbooks and have a collection to make mine pale in comparison? Or do you rely on one or two tried-and-trusted tomes? Or maybe you don’t use them at all?



Leave a Comment
  1. sara / Sep 13 2011 8:57 pm

    Really Mel! Is that it? You’ve seen my collection, right? A whole Ikea Billy bookcase and some! That doesn’t include the magazines. I have every delicious magazine and over 5 years of Bon Appetit

    • melgardener / Sep 14 2011 7:41 am

      Your collection will always put mine to shame 🙂

      What was even more pathetic was how long it took me to sort through it all and decide what to keep and what to get rid of!

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