I had an epiphany this weekend. I have too many cookbooks and I absolutely must cull the herd and, (here’s the thing), I also really must stop buying so many new or new-to-me cookbooks.
For context, I have appox 2000 cookbooks. Seriously!
A perfect storm of three events occurred over this long weekend and while I won’t bore you with the details of what they were; I will share what they’ve caused me conclude:
I only want to keep books that inspire me.
I like cooking more than I like collecting cookbooks. I need to spend more time on the former. Having too many books is overwhelming. There are simply too many choices. I like to search for recipes in EYB then pull various books from the shelf for inspiration and to compare recipes. Sometimes the “research” sucks the day away. Fewer books mean fewer, more targeted choices.
I will stop purchasing used books just because they are ridiculously cheap. I asked myself why I buy cookbooks and this was one of the reasons. Bad idea. This needs to stop!
I will stop buying new books sight unseen.
Here’s how I plan to cull the herd:
1. I will immediately box up and donate any books that I regularly pass up if their recipes come up in an EYB search.
These books are the first to go. They may have suited a certain time in my life, they may have been gifts but the bottom line is that these are books that no longer appeal and they can go.
2. Separate the great books from all the rest.
I’ve purchased sticky dots and I’m going to browse my shelves and immediately identify all the books I know I love. These are keepers. A different colour dot will go on any books I have a really good sense about. Books that have been recommended to me or, that I purchased because they compelled me in some way. These get to stay put for the time being. I need to get a sense of how much of my collection fits into these categories…and how many books do not.
3. Commit to pulling at least one of the non-great (dot-less) books off my shelf every day. If there’s nothing compelling about it, out it will go. I will consider whether a book is indexed in EYB or if it may soon be indexed. I know I’m a lot more likely to use it if it’s indexed and that will weigh heavily in my decision of whether or not to keep the book. If I have any doubts, I’ll post about the book here to get input and see if others have experience with it.
4. I will post updates here to ensure I’m staying on track.
I’m really excited about this undertaking and of course it would be a lot more fun if others joined in and shared their experiences.
So, do you plan to say good-bye to any of your cookbooks?