Sunday, January 15, 2006

Confessions of a Cookbook Addict

It isn't rational. I have more soup recipes than I would ever use in a winter, more cookie recipes than I could reasonably use in a year, and more pot roast recipes than I will probably use in a lifetime. And there are so many other recipe sources, from the internet to my mother. But then, I have an irrational love of books and an equally irrational love of food. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that I drool over the cookbook aisle in every bookstore I visit, and that, cheapskate though I am, I often can't bring myself to leave without making a purchase.

Still, when I returned from the SBL/AAR conference with Great Vegetarian Dishes by Kurma dasa, "one of the Hare Krishna movement's most celebrated chefs,"* I began to think that I might have a problem.

Then I read this article:
Sally LaRhette, 75, has over 3,000, and she's not letting up anytime soon. In fact, one of the reasons she moved to her Natick home was for extra room to house her collection. Daniela Coleman, 38, of Jamaica Plain has 250 books in her kitchen and another 100 or so boxed up in her mother's attic. Jane Kelly, 49, of Wayland, owns around 850. The 75 she uses most often are in the kitchen, hundreds fill a large bookcase in her office, and the remaining ones are stored in the basement.

While some may wonder how anyone could possibly need, want, or use this many volumes, food lovers admit to pangs of desire when roaming the cookbook section of a well-stocked bookstore.

As it turns out, I have a long way to go. Since I don't have a "problem," I guess it wouldn't hurt to place an order at I think I'll get Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, by Julia Sahni. And The New Best Recipe -- Jabbet seemed to like that. And Myra Kornfield's The Voluptuous Vegan (I'm enjoying The Healthy Hedonist). And maybe. . .

. . .maybe I should sleep on this. I am a cheapskate, after all.

(Cross-posted to Kosherblog)

*The book includes "over 240 recipes from around the world," including a lokshen kugel recipe attributed to the author's mother. Draw your own conclusions.


Lawrence said...

The book includes "over 240 recipes from around the world," including a lokshen kugel recipe attributed to the author's mother. Draw your own conclusions.

Just highlights the unexplained (at least not in full) tendency of American Jews to be drawn toward "alternative" religious practices.

elf said...

Actually, he's Australian. But, yes.

elf's DH said...

Actually, he's Australian. But, yes.

Well, if you look at a map of Australia upside down, it kind of looks like the Continental US...

Lawrence said...

Exactly my point. Everything in Australia is upside-down, right?!

Or better yet, I could just retract my original phrasing and replace "American" with "Western." (And I mean this in the cultural sense that places Australia due West of India.)

elf's DH said...

Nah, go with the former. Did you know that every American has a double in Australia who takes the same steps as you do, but backwards, and replaces "hello" with "g'day, mate?"

The back of the hill said...

I have over one hundred Indian cookbooks - although my main food interest is Dutch-Indonesian.

Altogether nearly six hundred cookbooks (although I do not know the exact number, they are the only part of my book collection which betrays significant organization).

Problem, nope, that's no problem....

Except for "the useful pig'.

A beautiful book... but sadly, verging on useless. Except for a few of the sauce recipes.

elf said...

Are you serious? (Are you ever serious?)

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