How many cookbooks do you own?

I own a lot.

A lot. A lot.

And I mean a lot.

I’ve collected them from various places.  I’ve stolen them, er borrowed them, from my mother.  Inherited some from my Grandmother.  Bought some off Amazon.  Been given some as gifts.  Impulse bought some.  Most of the rest came really crazy cheap from library book sales.  The county over does a HUGE book sale twice a year where hard backs are a buck and paper backs are fifty cents.  Our little library down the way did a straight up cookbook sale a few months back with similar prices.

Hi, I’m Joanna.  I have a library book sale problem.

What?  A buck??  How can one turn down a cookbook for a buck???

My theory on this is I buy all the cookbooks that look interesting, then try out five recipes from each book.  If the recipes stink, off goes the book.  If the recipes are great, the book stays.  It’s like gambling.  If people can put a buck into a slot machine hoping for a windfall, I can put a buck into a cookbook hoping for the best chocolate cake recipe ever, right?


The funny thing is, it’s so much easier these days to scour the internet for recipes rather than scour the immense collection of cookbooks I’ve amassed.  It’s also so much easier to wing dinner which is what I tend to do.  So far I’ve only made five complete recipes from one library find and it turned out to be a dud.  The chocolate cake was bad.  So very bad.

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I haven’t 100% decided what to do with the dud, but so far possibilities include donating it to charity (is that really charity though?)  tossing it in the wood stove, making a hidden safe and cutting the pages apart and gluing them to lampshades.  Clearly I still have some thinking to do on this subject, but I did create a Pinterest board to help me collect my thoughts.  Because that’s what people do these days when they want to think about something, but not actually do the something.  They create a Pinterest board.

My friend Aly mentioned once that she’d be interested in seeing my cookbook collection so I’ve decided to finally share.

That Basic Cooking book has my favorite chili recipe in it.

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These two came from The Husband’s Grandma Doris.

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The Taste of Home Baking Book is a great staple to have.  Aside from Baked Doughnuts for Everyone, I haven’t even cracked open most of the rest of these for so much as a peek.

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Or these.

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I think at least two of these are The Husband’s.

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Ahhhh, the little ones.  Good things come in small packages.

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This one’s not a cookbook at all, but a really great reference book.

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These were all stolen, er borrowed, from my mom.

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This was a gift from The Husband’s side of the fam.

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I think I have these because my niece was selling magazines and I bought a magazine.  I never buy magazines.

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These are on top of the bed.  They’ve been there for months and I still haven’t looked at them.

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This one is technically a novel, but it has recipes in it so I’m counting it.

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This cookbook I bought for the pictures.

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The pretty pretty pictures.

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This is my binder of random recipes.

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This is a box stuffed full of clipped recipes.

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Yup, I have a problem.  I have vowed to pare these down significantly if we ever move again.

And that’s that.

– Joanna

P.S. –

Husband Alert!  Husband Alert!

Yep, I’m hacking in and editing here because two cook books are conspicuously missing.  Probably because I purchased these myself and consider them mine.  All mine.  (OK, the first I bought Jo for what I thought would be a very thoughtful Christmas present since she’d been talking about homemade yogurt, but she’s apparently not interested in it yet.)

I’ve had sauerkraut bubbling away for almost a week thanks to The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.  A wonderful read about how we evolved to co-exist with microbes and bacteria, and why our (especially culinary) culture’s war on them is unhealthy.



Next, is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  The book’s tag line pretty much sums it up: “The cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats”. I was surprised at the huge amount of recipes included in here as I thought it would be more educational/historical prose than straight up recipes.  A nice surprise and I made a fancy chicken dinner from scratch… with side dishes!… this past Sunday thanks to this book.


Question of the Day:  If you could only have one cookbook, what cookbook would it be?


  1. I like collecting cookbooks, too, but I don’t have quite that many. I have the space to hold that many, though, so I suppose I should buy some more! If I could only keep one cookbook it would be my Betty Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook. It has a lot of basic recipes and general cooking guidelines.

    • Well, you’re welcome to borrow some of mine! Once again, just don’t Facelift them into a coffee table. I really need to get moving on my TGF project by the way . . .

  2. Wow. That’s a lot. I keep my “real winner,” recipes in a recipe album my Grandfather gave me (he likes to cook too). When our house nearly burned down (twice) it was one of the first things I grabbed, so I ended up backing them up at, which turned out to be super helpful because I can pull them up on my phone if I’m at the cottage, grocery store, etc. My most useful cookbook is “Weber’s Real Grilling.” Every recipe is amazing, and it has a ton of great marinades and rubs. Our copy is completely falling apart so I might even have to re-buy it.

    • I need to hear more about the cottage.

    • I have grand plans to make a family binder with our favorite recipes. I finally finished my address binder (I’m old school – none of this Google docs crap for me) so it’s next. After finishing the nursery, prepping and freezing food for when the babe comes and cleaning the house till it shines. So maybe I’ll get to it when Petey leaves for college.

      If you grabbed your binder in a house fire I kinda just want to have it. I’ll pay. How much will it cost??? I’ll send you Mistress Billington if that’s what it takes . . .

  3. Now that I hacked in and added two books at the bottom of your post, I’m answering with The Art of Fermentation. Along with healthy long-lost food techniques and a lot of interesting reading, it includes How-Tos for several forms of alcohol.

  4. ummm i might be a little scared after reading this post. I have literally one cookbook that I ever use and its the betty crocker cookbook. i use the strogonoff recipe. I almost have it memorized but always seem to check back just to make sure I have the measurements right. Otherwise its almost all internet for me.

    • If I could only keep one cookbook it would probably be Betty Crocker as well. Gotta admit it, Betty’s got ya covered. I’ll have to try the Stroganoff!

  5. I love seeing what cookbooks people have and love! With everything out there, it’s hard to know which ones are really great. Thanks for sharing! I’ve also been wanting an Elie Kreiger cookbook, how do you like her cookbooks?

    • I really like Krieger’s cookbooks! My favorite turkey meatloaf recipe is in there. She covers a lot of the bases and all while doing it in a healthy way without sacrificing flavor. I recommend her books for sure.

  6. You really do have a bunch of cookbooks! Dang! Most of mine are gifts, so I feel okay knowing I didn’t spend too much money on my collection. I would have trouble resisting $1 cookbooks, too.

    I don’t know if there are any cookbooks I absolutely must have right now since I feel pretty happy with my collection. Maybe if my mom had put her favorite/popular recipes in a book? That would have been nice to have!

    • This family recipe binder idea keeps cropping up. I’m doing this for sure!

    • By the way, little P has been totally into cooking lately! He wakes up saying “dada cook” and loves to help scramble the eggs and stir whatever we are making. It’s so cute. He has his own little frying pan and a Melissa and Doug cutting vegetable set and even “cooks” at his play table.

  7. Holy cow. I don’t think I even have enough shelves for that many books, much less cookbooks. I stick to for the majority of my adventure. That search by ingredient piece is clutch. I thought for sure I’d see my favorite cookbook in your collection above, but nope! My favorite would be The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila. She basically gives a lot of basic, helpful recipes and advice (with a few stories thrown in) for things you would typically buy in store. It might be worth adding to your collection 🙂

    Also, I vote for hidden safe, I see an upcoming blog about this project coming soon.

    • You can never have too many bookshelves (or cookbooks) in my opinion! The only thing I regret at the moment is the books are in two different places and I don’t like that so much. And now I have a new cookbook I need to add to my Amazon wish list!!

      Glad to see you started blogging again! Now I can move your little icon on my phone to my current reads screen and not way far off on the check in periodically screen 😉

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  9. I should have read the post sooner…I would have like to have been in the drawing…I’m pretty obsessed with cookbooks myself. 😉

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