Monday, 16 July 2012

The Unbearable Randomness of Cookbooks

For the Random Recipe challenge this month Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to do something a little different. Instead of cooking something from our books, he wants us to photograph the books instead.

Well, here is my main collection of cookery books arranged in no real order at all in an oak cabinet in the kitchen. The cabinet was built by a previous owner of the house, probably as far back as the 1930s. The oral history is that he was a carpenter who worked on local churches and made bits and pieces for his house with (hopefully) surplus oak. He also made the brass fittings by cutting them out of disused name plaques. Some of the brass in the kitchen is cut from the nameplate that was once displayed outside the door of an elocution teacher.
The Cookbook Shelves
Despite mislaying and giving away quite a few books over the years, there are still too many for the church carpenter’s cabinet. So upstairs there are also a number of books that sit on much more modern shelves, although I don't think they're from the well-known Swedish store where you queue a lot and are forced to eat meatballs.
The Cookbook Reserves
Clearly that’s too many books (or so I’m reliably informed). As a result, this year I vowed that I would not shop online or visit bookshops to buy any more cookbooks. I have kept that vow, but unfortunately I didn’t promise that I wouldn’t go to charity shops and sales. And so there is a small but growing pile of books that I’ve gathered this year in the name of charity and, so far, I’m not quite sure where I'm going to put them.
The Charity Cookbook Overspill
Funnily enough, some of these books were purchased at a sale in the local church where I noticed a distinct similarity between the oak in my kitchen and some of the pews. I’m saying no more.

20 comments:

  1. That cabinet is beautiful. I've spent about 3 years looking for something similar for my bathroom of all places. Eventually found it! I love your collections. They are beautiful. Thanks for entering Phil. So great to glimpse into people's homes!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well that is rather great - having beautifully crafted furniture in your home. Proper, meant-to-last stuff.
    You can't quibble with charitable buying, can you? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love that cabinet, the oak would look perfect in our house :)) Diane

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like you have a great collection...and I love the Arts & Crafts cabinet. Lovely history too. Good to see Robert Carrier I'd forgotten all about him.

    ReplyDelete
  5. that cabinet is my DREAM...well and being able to afford all the cookbooks to fill it, and then some ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have a wonderful collection of cookbooks and I am looking at them rather longingly - most of mine are stuck at the storage at the moment, can't wait to get my hands on them! The oak cabinet is delightful; enjoy your collection:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really beautiful cabinet! my pathetic little shelf cannot compete. It's nice getting a little glimpse in to someones home - It's like a random through the keyhole.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! I love your collections, the cookbook cabinet and its history. You made me laugh about the store with the meatballs lol! I know exactly what store it is. Thank you for sharing part of your home for us to see : )

    ReplyDelete
  9. OK, I am officially very jealous. I know you had a good collection, but this is pretty darn awesome. I had to give away most of mine when I left England, and I am still sad, though I've been slowly collecting them back.

    And that cabinet is fantastic. Weirdly, I have a matching dining table and a hutch... perhaps its time the hutch came out of the basement and started to get used as a cookbook repository? Hmmm....

    ReplyDelete
  10. Phil, I have church pew oak envy and it hurts! I somehow knew you would have rather a lot of books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love cookbooks and can't imagine not buying again. However I am living in Shanghai at the moment so collection not growing so fast. Amazon does deliver, but at a cost so I am down to ordering and sending to friends and family who are about to visit. Cookbooks are as my husband comments "my porn"

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh! To have enclosed bookshelves ... bless that man and his moonlight requisitioned oak! And I recognize Essential Cooking ... how are the offerings in that book? We have heard of him here in the States ... but only that, alas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of my recent purchases, so I've not yet tried any of the recipes, but it's an interesting book. There are a number of elaborate, restaurant dishes with expensive ingredients (truffles, foie gras) alongside very simple dishes (such as pumpkin soup). Unlike a number of cheffy Italian books it's pretty good on desserts too.

      Delete
  13. Agree, love the cabinet, really attractive. Our main unit is an Ikea jobbie too. The other two smaller sets are in the inbuilt units we inherited with the house, apparently the lady who sold it was once married to a carpenter, who built them all himself...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love your oak cabinet! I have no space at all in my kitchen for books :( Impressive collection of books too! I tried not to buy new books but that only lasted for a few days! Oh well...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Gosh, I love that cabinet! It looks beautifully made. And I love the random provenances of the brass fittings – such a unique touch. An impressive collection of books, too. I feel like a rookie in comparison with my one shelf of books!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your cabinet is certainly a very attractive way to house your books. I'm afraid mine are on shelves from the place where they make you eat meatballs....

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love the bookshelf. Terribly organised and a sizeable collection too!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your cupboard wins, no competition. I am simply seething in a green mire of envy... Stunning :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. The cabinet is just simply perfect! What a lovely home for your collection!

    I have banned myself from late night amazon shopping and charity shops, doesn't always work but have definitely got slightly better at not impulse buying..

    ReplyDelete

Sorry but I've had to switch word verification on due to a vast amount of very depressing spam.