13 March 2010

Weekend Cooking: A Look at My Book Shelves

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


On Thursday afternoon (on Twitter, where else?), I got a couple of requests to reveal what cookbooks are on currently-cooking-from shelves. As many of you know, I own close to 1000 cookbooks. Obviously, I'm not cooking out all them on a daily basis. Most of my collection is housed on the second floor; the cookbooks that live downstairs are the ones I use frequently.

Some books stay downstairs permanently, others get rotated out by season. This is not a purposeful cycle, it happens naturally. If I were to photograph these shelves next fall, you'd see a lot more vegetable and vegetarian books, farmers market books, and grilling books than you'll see today.

I'm going to go through the shelves quickly--some of these books were reviewed in previous Weekend Cooking posts, some will be reviewed in the months to come. Some of these may be out of print by now. I bake bread a couple times of week, so you'll see lots of bread books. But enough with the introduction . . . let's look at the books (click on the photos for full size).

Shelf 1. If you can find Michael Field's Culinary Classics and Improvisations, pick it up. He presents a master recipe and then three or four recipes for using the leftovers. I turn to this every time I make a ham, turkey, or large roast. Art Fare was published by the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art and includes recipes from that city's chefs. The two Ellie Krieger books are my new absolute favorites. I reviewed Lidia Bastianich and What to Cook earlier. I have all of the Ina Garten books; these are the two that are downstairs at the moment--love them all. I have made almost everything in Marion Burros's Keep It Simple; note how worn it looks. I like both Beatrice Ojakangus (my maple cinnamon rolls are in here; recipe in a future post) and Lora Brody. The last one is Marie Simmons's A to Z Bar Cookies.

Shelf 2. I really like Beth Hensperger's bread recipes, and this shelf contains two of her books. The Londons' Fresh Fruit Desserts cookbook is pretty much my go-to book for fruit desserts. This is another one you shouldn't pass by. I have most of Nigella Lawson's books; I don't cook out of them every week, but I like her style and attitude. Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home is practically falling apart, I use it so often. I reviewed Crescent Dragonwagon's Soup & Bread book earlier. You can't go wrong with any King Arthur Flour book; this is their cookie book. Ken Haedrich's Country Baking has my favorite cracker recipe in it.

Shelf 3. Like I said, the King Arthur Flour baking books are fabulous. This self has a general baking book, their 200th anniversary book, and a whole grains book. I have a few of the Time-Life books I picked up at yard sales; this one is Fresh Ways with Lamb. We buy a whole lamb every year, so I use this book for ideas. The spiral book is from a women's group my mother belonged to. Fish: The Basics by Shirley King is just that: a good, solid book on how to cook all kinds of seafood. Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is a nice one for farmers market season, as is Ruth Spear's The Classic Vegetable Cookbook. The skinny red and blue book is by Quaker Oats and has an oat-raspberry bar we love. Oops! I almost forgot Seasons of Central Pennsylvania by Anne Quinn Corr; this has local recipes and photos.

Shelf 4. First up is another Marie Simmons book; this one is Muffins A to Z. Peter Reinhart's bread books are wonderful (I have several), this one is Artisan Bread Every Day. I love Paula Wolfert, and have most of her cookbooks; here is The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. Bert Greene is another author I like (he died too young in 1988); his Greene on Greens is downstairs right now. I have three Silver Palate books, and they are all worth owning. I used to give The New Basics to new cooks. Lorna Sass is the queen of the pressure cooker, and I own all of her books (and I love my pressure cooker); here is Pressure Perfect. The title of Deborah Madison's cookbook is all that's needed: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Of all the Julia Child books, The Way to Cook (it weighs a ton!) is the one I turn to again and again.

Hope you enjoyed this visit to my cookbook shelves.

Thanks to Rebecca from The Book Lady's Blog and Swapna from S. Krishna's Books for the encouraging me to write this post. If someone reminds me in the fall, I'll mention the books that found their way to the current shelves over the summer (and only those books, so it'd be a shorter post).

FTC: I bought most of these books, a couple were review copies, some were gifts. I can't keep everything straight.


Heather 3/13/10, 7:06 AM  

My cookbook shelf is groaning in fear of what this post is going to do to it. So many of these sound so good!!! Thanks for the glimpse at your cookbook shelves; it's going to be extremely bad for my pocketbook though!!!

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog 3/13/10, 7:38 AM  

Oh, I have such a way to go in my cookbook collection! Thanks so much for doing this post and adding to my TBR list in a way that will make my husband happy because it will feed him. I would love to see this as a seasonal feature.

Kaye 3/13/10, 7:47 AM  

Fascinating post! I love to go through cookbooks. I hope someday you'll publish that raspberry oatmeal bar recipe.;) We like oatmeal in a lot of things.

Lynda 3/13/10, 8:08 AM  

Great post.
I love the sound of the Year in the Vegeatrian Kitchen...I must look out for that one.
I really need some bread making books. I tend to cook the same ones. Today Im baking wholemeal herb bread to go with the soup for lunch.
Thanks for hosting this great weekly event ;0)

Sandy Nawrot 3/13/10, 8:18 AM  

You are a woman after my own heart! I really need to get my hands on an Ellie Krueger cookbook, because I know she has healthy recipes. You are a cooking goddess!

Beth 3/13/10, 8:26 AM  

This is amazing. I'm so jealous! But at least now I have some good ideas. Like the bread lovers bread machine book, I MUST check that out!

Aptly, I'm doing a cookbook giveaway on 990 Square this weekend!

Beth 3/13/10, 8:32 AM  

I apologize my link is only to the site not to the post, I'm linking via iPhone and it's not user friendly!

Beth F 3/13/10, 8:34 AM  

No problem, Beth, I'll fix the link for you.

BooksPlease 3/13/10, 8:50 AM  

Lovely books - completely different from mine, apart from Nigella's books. I do like Nigella's recipes, but like you don't use them every week.

bermudaonion 3/13/10, 8:55 AM  

Wow! Those 3 shelves would probably hold my complete cookbook collection. I've seen Ellie Krieger's show at my parents' a few times and enjoyed it, so I think I need to get one of her cookbooks!

JoAnn 3/13/10, 9:07 AM  

I loved this look at your cookbook shelves!! Will look forward to seeing the seasonal rotations. My family would love the raspberry oatmeal bar recipe, too.

Chris 3/13/10, 9:10 AM  

Love how they look on your shelves!

I made cookies for my post.

Julie P. 3/13/10, 9:11 AM  

Holy moly! And I thought I had a lot of cookbooks! At least you're organized.

caite 3/13/10, 9:20 AM  

wow...that is a great many cookbooks...a great many.

I do have the new Lidia Bastianich cook book that you had reviewed. I bought it at the International Wine and Spirits Festival at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Sorry to say, I missed getting it signed by Lidia herself who was there Friday afternoon, promoting the book and her line of wines...didn't even get to taste them, darn.

softdrink 3/13/10, 9:28 AM  

Holy guacamole, that's a lot of cookbooks! I love the idea of cooking, but when it comes down to it, I never want to spend that long in the kitchen. I think I own less than 10 cookbooks.

farmlanebooks 3/13/10, 10:13 AM  

It is great to see your cook books. I don't own anywhere near as many as you (probably about 200) but like you I don't use all of them regularly. I think I own all of Nigella's books now. I use them a lot - last night I made her buttermilk chicken (Nigella Express) and it was delicious.

Kim 3/13/10, 10:34 AM  

Ummmm, 1,000 cookbooks??? My husband would poop a brick! I think I own maybe 30 and that feels like a lot. I don't use them all that much--my Betty Crocker and Fix It and Forget It sit on my cook book stand most of the time.
Great post--

Aths 3/13/10, 10:39 AM  

Wow! Fascinating really! You will put even my mom to shame. LOL! That's a totally wonderful collection of books!

Lorna Sass 3/13/10, 10:43 AM  

Thank you so much for mentioning Pressure Perfect. I am thrilled to know that you are a fan of pressure cooking. I am also honored to be among such august cookbooks authors, many of them favorites of mine as well. FYI, I now blog at www.pressurecookingwithlornasass.wordpress.com. Happy Cooking! Lorna Sass

S. Krishna 3/13/10, 10:47 AM  

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know this probably took a good amount of time to do, and I really really appreciate you taking the time to do it! I'm going to take my time going through each of these cookbooks!

Michele at Reader's Respite 3/13/10, 10:50 AM  

I love this post! And I'm supremely jealous of your cookbook shelves. Especially the Art Fare --- a cookbook put forth by a museum? That is fabulous!

Margot at Joyfully Retired 3/13/10, 10:53 AM  

I am in awe of your library and to think there are even more upstairs. I'm even more impressed that you use them on a regular basis. How much fun it must be to sit in your kitchen surrounded by wonderful books and food.

One advantage of your cookbook library is that you will never run out of material for Weekend Cooking posts. If you only did cookbook reviews you have enough resources for over three years. And, that would be fine with me as you have so many books I'd love to hear more about. I'm so glad you did this post.

SuziQoregon 3/13/10, 11:06 AM  

I've been looking forward to this post ever since that twitter conversation. I'm definitely bookmarking this.

I have quite a few cookbooks, but only use a handful of them. It's good to get recommendations from folks about the cookbooks they actually use.

Amused 3/13/10, 12:44 PM  

That was so interesting! Man if I had the space for that kind of cookbook collection alone I would be in heaven!!

Belle 3/13/10, 2:11 PM  

Love the glimpse at your cookbook shelves! I have all the Nigella Lawson books - like you, I really love her style (and her basic roast chicken has got to be the best roast chicken I've ever tasted!). Ward isn't as fond of cooking from Nigella's books as he is of Jamie Oliver's, unfortunately. Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home was one of my very first cookbooks! We have a copy of Greene on Grains (I think that's the title) somewhere, I think - you might like that one, too.

The Bumbles 3/13/10, 2:15 PM  

That's a wonderful post Candace! I actually went and saved that Fields cookbook in my Amazon cart for the next time I have a large balance for free shipping - being just the 2 of us we always have leftovers so I think that concept for a cookbook is pretty damn cool.

Bonnie 3/13/10, 4:03 PM  

Thanks for sharing your cookbook collection with us. I am adding some titles to my wishlist. I really need some new cookbooks to add variety to my cooking and baking.

Bonnie 3/13/10, 4:03 PM  

Thanks for sharing your cookbook collection with us. I am adding some titles to my wishlist. I really need some new cookbooks to add variety to my cooking and baking.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) 3/13/10, 4:34 PM  

What a wonderful cookbook collection! I'll definitely remind you about an updated post in the fall, because I'd love to see more. (And that is a really good idea about rotating them ... duh, why didn't I think of doing that?) The same ones usually sit on my counter month after month.

Plus, you've given me an idea for a similar post for a future Weekend Cooking!

Alexia561 3/13/10, 8:52 PM  

I love cookbooks, so thanks so much for sharing what's currently on your shelves! Wrote down a few titles to check out. Thanks!

Heather @ Book Addiction 3/13/10, 8:56 PM  

I love that you did this! I now have added several more cookbooks to my wish list. :) And I may have bookmooched one or two already...

Robin of My Two Blessings 3/13/10, 9:27 PM  

Wow, so many choices and a cookbook for every mood.

Jill 3/13/10, 9:35 PM  

I love, love, love this post. I can't wait to look up each one of these cookbooks. I think I'm going to do a four-part twist on this for my April WC posts!

Molly 3/14/10, 8:55 AM  

You can post about your cookbook shelves anytime, as far as I am concerned :)

I love all my Silver Palate cookbooks, including The New Basics.

I am sad to say that I am not very familiar with Nigella, but after reading your review and hearing my daughter's cooking instructor rave about her, I think I must check her out.

You have convinced me to rush out and find a copy of Michael Field's cookbook. It is something that is desperately missing from my personal cookbook collection.

Heather 3/14/10, 12:56 PM  

love this post. I have limited myself to how much space I can dedicate to cookbooks and I have overshot it by almost 1/2. eeks. Should try more new recipes to justify them all.

Robin 3/15/10, 4:22 AM  

Over a thousand cookbooks? You are my hero. What a treasure chest.

I collect cookbooks as well. I usually consider them a success if I find one or two keeper recipes in them.

PS King Arthur is a must in our house too - what a great one!

Debbie 3/15/10, 9:57 AM  

I have just fallen in love with you!! ha ha ha. I thought I had a lot of cookbooks... I own over 200. I'm so glad to have found you...or "re" found you, as I was away from book blogging for quite some time. Now I can do both!
Thanks. I'm excited to participate in Weekend Cooking.

Jenners 3/15/10, 8:09 PM  

Close to a 1,000 cookbooks???? Wow. Just wow.

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