culling cookbooks

Whew!

That’s the sound of a long, long day of culling our cookbooks.

David thought it would be a good idea to clean out the pantry this weekend. We’ve got a small walk-in pantry closet with shelves on two sides, which is a boon as we have a pretty small kitchen (10 ft x 10 ft) for a house this size. The pantry serves all kinds of purposes – it even holds brooms on the back of the door! – and has a pretty well-defined setup.

  • Top left: Extra bulk-purchased supplies like paper towels and ziploc bags, as well as our raclette cooker (and a coffee maker for guests)
  • Left shelf #2: Beverages! Besides hot chocolate mix, Ovaltine, and Torani syrups, we have enough flavors of tea for a variety of tastes.
  • Left shelf #3: Canned goods
  • Left shelf #4: Spices, spice mixes, etc.
  • Left shelf #5: Lunch boxes and water bottles
  • Left side floor: Reusable shopping bags and a tub of dog treats

I am fully aware this is more detail than anyone desires. I’m going to continue recording this for posterity, though!

  • Top right: Snow cone maker and supplies, milkshake maker, giant tub of cookie cutters
  • Right shelf #2: Pasta, rice, baking mixes
  • Right shelves #3 & 4: Cookbooks
  • Right shelf #5: All Q’s baking doodads (cookie cutters, food coloring, icing bags, etc.), as well as the pancake griddle
  • Right shelf floor: Basket of paper plates and cups, paper bag filled with paper bags

Now, back to the cookbooks! I love them, because as you all well know, I collect books on areas of my life that need improvement, as though the books themselves will miraculously change me. Our cookbook collection was purged ten years ago when we moved here, and again about four years ago before we went to Europe. Today, however, we got serious.

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After cooking with Blue Apron for the last six months, David and I have realized the difference between cookbooks we would use and those that just collect dust. We like cookbooks to have photos, step-by-step directions, and suggested side dishes. David, especially, likes recipes that are a little different. We like to use fresh ingredients, rather than start with, say, a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. We sorted out those types of cookbooks and ended up with one shelf of books we’d look at to plan regular meals.

The second shelf is more “specialty” stuff: various foreign cuisines, desserts (cookies, especially, for Q), party cookbooks (tapas, fondue), and cookbooks of sentimental value.

David has been “mathing it up” all day, telling me that we still need to get rid of all but five of the cookbooks since we have more recipes than we could ever need, numerically. I, on the other hand, am quite pleased with myself, as I have culled an entire shelf and filled a box to take to Powell’s to sell. It was difficult; I got rid of quite a few I thought I couldn’t part with, and there were quite a few times today that I wanted to quit. This kind of purge stresses me out quite a bit. But I persevered!

Next step: meal planning and cooking. Let’s see if we can break away from the support of having food magically appear à la Blue Apron and make it happen all on our own.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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