Counting the cookbooks, or how to laze away an afternoon

The other day I read a post on Edinburgh Foody about the amount of cookbooks you own, and that you don’t really use all of them.  On reflection, I realised I rarely use any of them, I prefer browsing the nice ones for the pictures and inspiration, and I get back to the same ones for relied-on recipes.  One of my favourites to get back to is Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners.  I love making the pasta with sweet tomato sauce and baked ricotta, it’s really easy to make, can be prepared in advance, and all my guests have loved it so far.

After the Edinburgh Foody post, I went and counted my cookbooks – 54, not counting the food magazines I’ve accumulated.  Not that many, compared to other people’s collections. But considering that most of them just sit there on the shelf using up valuable space, I made it my mission today to start de-cluttering my cookbook shelf.

So on this beautiful summer’s day, off I went to the balcony, cookbooks next to my deck chair.  And all I got through was four books in about 2 hours.  All four books had Post Its stuck in them in various places, and on looking through what I’d marked years ago, I wasn’t sure I still wanted to try most of it.  However, I detected so many other mouthwatering recipes that I was glad I hadn’t been food shopping this weekend.  With each new recipe I marked, my brain went on overdrive to mentally check the contents of the fridge and store cupboard to see whether anything was usable for the recipes I was discovering.   If I had been food shopping, I would most definitely be in the kitchen now, trying to decide what to make first.

The four books I got through this afternoon are David Herbert’s More Perfect Recipes, Julie Le Clerc’s Simple Deli Food, and Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express 1 and 2.  Why have I never bothered to cook anything from these before, I wonder?  I most certainly will now, and I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.  I wonder what treasures I’ll discover in the other 50 cookbooks still on the shelf…  One thing’s for certain – even though I bought a cookbook only two weeks ago, I won’t buy any more until this book shelf is cleared of unwanted and unnecessary ones!