Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dusty Shelf (where cookbooks die)

World Food: Spain


Have you met Dom, author and creator of Belleau Kitchen?

If you haven't, it's certainly not because I haven't tried to introduce you to him. His food has been featured multiple times in the Food Fetish Friday series, he was one of my Tuesday Tutors (he taught me to make these delicious chicken thighs with leeks), and he is the creative host behind Random Recipes where the monthly challenge is to cook random recipes from your cookbooks.


But for this month's Random Recipes, Dom challenged us to something different: to photograph our cookbooks in their natural habitat. Which of course means scurrying around, cleaning up the apartment, and staging the habitat with fresh fruit, plants and natural lighting.

Actually, that first photo is the only staged photo in this post - I don't normally sit at cafe tables sipping water and munching on green apples. Generally, my cookbooks languish on dust-choked shelves, packed in so tight I'm sure most wish they'd been born canned sardines. Because at least sardines have oil and someone eventually bothers to use them for food.

Top Half of Cook Book Shelf

That's not to say my cookbooks are alone in their dusty misery. Boyfriend Javelin's shot glass collection suffers similar treatment (and are used just as infrequently as the cookbooks). Even the gods from Puerto Rico and Hawaii receive no better treatment. Although, they do occasionally inspire interest from the random passer-by, which is more than can be said for the dusty shelf of cookbooks.

Close-up of Shot Glasses

Yet how bad can the life of a cookbook be when it's surrounded by phrases like "Peace, love and sandy feet?" or pictures of conch shells and beach chairs? And candles - I mean, not EVERY dusty cookbook can boast a habitat crowned with dusty candles.

Wide Angle Shot of Cookbooks

I even keep those messy non-cookbook recipe scraps and manuals safely corralled in their own plastic pen away from the real cookbooks. That way they's no accidental disappearances at the hand of territorial hardbacks.

Basket of Recipe Clippings and Manuals

And I do visit my cookbooks, if only to glance fleetingly in their direction while walking down the hall to the office. Or from the office back toward the kitchen. And sometimes I even linger long enough to adjust one of the shot glasses that has inexplicably shifted out of place, no doubt from all the loving strolls past the bookcase.

Hall of Cookbooks

Sometimes, and I admit it's not as often as a good cookbook owner should, I do pull out one or more volumes to flip through while lounging on the couch. And those lucky volumes then get to spend the next 2 or 3 days sunning themselves on the living room floor, occasionally feeling the loving stub of my big toe as I stumble off to bed.

Cookbooks on Floor

But I suppose if my cookbooks are truly lonely, then there's really only one thing for it: MORE cookbooks. Or I could just participate in Random Recipes.

So tell me, where do your cookbooks live?

Full Bookcase of Cookbooks

Oh, and if you haven't met Dom yet, now's the time to make a new friend. You should get on that...


24 comments:

  1. Such a fun post... but I'm curious what's on the bottom shelf. :) Or maybe my curiosity is just too plain strange. I tend to hunt recipes on the internet and I've got a computer folder of all my favorite ones and where they came from. Otherwise, I'd never remember which cookbook they were in. Although I have my Betty Crocker cookbook from 20 years ago still siting near the kitchen. But I'll have to check out Dom now... By the way - I've got the same bookcase housing archaic books - the things before I had my kindle!

    ReplyDelete
  2. lol The bottom shelf is lined with Parker Bros retro-boxed games like Stratego, Sorry, etc - this shelf belongs to Boyfriend Javelin ;) I do find myself wondering why I bother to collect any more cookbooks where there are SOO many amazing recipes online. One reason, I suppose, is that I enjoy the feel of cookbooks, the tactile touch of turning pages. I also have the odd faith in cookbooks, trusting that recipes in books will be better tested and more reliable than online recipes. Which hasn't really be backed-up by experience ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The online recipies are "try at your own risk" and some of them I look at, I can't help but wonder if anyone truly makes them. Cute - you know though, the boyfriend is taking up valuable space for cookbooks - giggle!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My cookbooks are all over the place, I have some by the side of my bed which often get pushed under and forgotten until I need that one recipe and have to search for every single book I own to find it in the last one. There are a few on the coffee table which lay along side cutting from weekend magazines, copies of Olice, Goodfood and Delicious. Then there are my treasured books which are kept away, signed copies, ones that I use only for that special occassion or inspiration, the ones that never see the light of the kitchen in case I get them dirty. Somewhere in there house these is one cookbook that i know I own and haven't seen it for over a year. It's lurking somewhere and I'm sure one day I will find it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well at least your cookbooks have been dusted now and the shot glasses, so it was well worth participating in RR this month! Great to see your collection. It doesn't look like we have a single one in common.

    ReplyDelete
  6. one of the great things about having

    ReplyDelete
  7. one of the great things about having so many blog friends all over the world is, as Choclette says, not having cookbooks in common, great to see you have so many interesting looking one's and you're so right... time to dust them off every month and join in with the true 'evil' version of random recipes... thanks for the kind words and thanks for entering this month!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, yoou are one of the few people I know who seems to have more cookbooks than me. Mine are currently all over the place pending the purchase of new bookshelves for my kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Everyone seems to be entering this month. Dom made it nice and easy for us. I, like Choclette, don't see many in your collection that I have,

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm much to obsessive about keeping things orderly to let my cookbooks remain scattered about - but then that's true of just about everything in my life including clothes, cookware, etc. I just want it all put away and tidy ;) It sounds like you have quite the collection of cookbooks - and if I had signed copies of cookbooks, I'd probably give them their own shelf ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. lol Actually, the shot glasses and cookbooks are just as dusty as ever because although I mentioned dusting, there really was none involved in the writing of this post! There are a bunch of cookbooks I have on a wish list but haven't yet picked up or received, but I'm not surprised that we don't share any cookbooks in commons. Most of mine are thrift store find or cookbooks I spotted on discount that sounded interesting...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree, Dom, and it's been a lot of fun learning about everyone else's cookbook collection. I've started building a list of books I spotted that I want to check out further, but the real trick is actually using them ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would LOVE to have room in my kitchen for cookbooks! I don't know if I would actually use them any more frequently, but I'd like to think I would ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for checking out my collection and I really enjoyed sharing. And as I mentioned to Choclette, it doesn't surprise me that a lot of my cookbooks are unfamiliar to others as many are thrift store finds I found interesting...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fun post. I have something approaching 300 cookbooks - and they're all over the house. In bookcases, obviously, but also in stacks everywhere. I just counted - on the floor around my desk I have 14 stacked up. On the floor across the room - I don't want to count! Some of mine I barely look at, others I consult all the time. I don't actually make that many recipes from them, but I do use them for ideas. Anyway, great stuff - thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a fun post! I don't own too many (English) cookbooks and it was fun to see some of the cookbooks title. You have nice collection!

    ReplyDelete
  17. 300 cookbooks dwarfs my collection - but it wouldn't be that hard to do ;) I use my cookbooks mostly for inspiration, as you say. Sometimes just paging through or reading a recipe sparks something I'd never thought of before or I spot a new technique I've never seen before. However, if I owned 300 cookbooks, I think I'd have to move out of the apartment and into some place more spacious ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Nami - when you were a Featured Foodie, I was fascinated by the cookbooks you recommended as I don't own many Asian (or Japanese) cuisine cookbooks...

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm a little OCD, so my cookbooks are organized on shelves by type and then in rainbow color. I try to read them, I do, but I really never use them because how ca you remember what is in each book? And in all the food magazines on top of that? And then courtesy of Heather at girlichef I discovered Eat Your Books (it's a services that indexes cookbooks and food blogs and magazines so you can search what you personally own for specific recipes) and I LOVE IT.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jody, I'm a little OCD too, although I don't really have an organization for the cookbooks any more than just to keep them all in one spot ;) I haven't really tried Eat Your Books, although I did also discover it through Heather's blog. I am pretty familiar with what's in most of my cookbooks, tho, but it would be a great service to keep track of recipes as my collection balloons :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Poor neglected books....lol!! You had me feeling really sorry for them for a moment, but you must love them really, after all you picked them,. paid for them and brought them home to languish in the dust with their friends the shot glasses.
    Sue xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. Poor neglected books....lol!! You had me feeling really sorry for them for a moment, but you must love them really, after all you picked them,. paid for them and brought them home to languish in the dust with their friends the shot glasses.
    Sue xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. lol I'm glad you enjoyed the post and yes, I do really love them. I just don't use them. Which is sad, but it's how it is... Thanks for dropping by, Sue!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very inspiring story. Voted and good luck

    cook books

    ReplyDelete