Conquering the pile in the corner of the room

April 2016 has been tough, I’m not going to lie. My relationship of four years ended, I moved out, and I’m living on my own for the first time in almost ten years.  It’s the end of one chapter and hopefully the start of an even better one. Positive thinking!

Last weekend I moved the majority of my belongings into the new apartment. I spent one day moving just books…fiction, non-fiction and cookbooks. While I have pared down the collection quite significantly in recent years (and that was tough!), I still find it hard to part with physical books. There is something I find comforting just having them there, even if I am not going to read them again.

Cooking developed as a passion and hobby over the past couple of years. Not something I expected given my meat and potatoes upbringing. But I love it – everything from throwing together simple dinners without a recipe to conquering bigger DIY projects (like making pasta or croissants). A side effect of this new hobby has been a slowly growing cookbook collection. One book here, another book there has certainly added up. They currently live in big piles next to the sofa. I also find – as I am sure most people do – that I don’t use them as much as I should.  It’s so easy to resort to the internet these days. But with my own space and no television to distract me, it’s time to change that!

I’m not sure how my cookbook collection stacks up to others in terms of sheer numbers. Some may think I have a pitifully small collection. But I’m using the move – and this fresh start – as an opportunity to clear the clutter from my life, including my cookbooks.

The Plan

  1. Pick one cookbook to feature every month.
  2. In general, cook 10 recipes out of it. If I can’t find 10 recipes, it’s probably an indication that the book should go! The more hefty books may require more than a month and 10 recipes to make a decision.
  3. Blog each recipe. I may not do them as written — I’m always making substitutions here and there. But that’s ok. Cookbooks scan also serve as inspiration. I have enough cooking experience to know when a recipe has problems and can adjust. I will not reprint the recipes here.
  4. Honest assessment at the end of the month. Did I actually find ten recipes I wanted to make? Did the recipes work? Did I feel the need to make substitutions? Were the recipes tasty? Did I learn anything new? Does the book fit my cooking style? Does the book bring something unique to my collection?
  5. Decision time!

I’m looking forward to seeing how this unfolds. I hope you find something interesting in it too.


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