I won’t bother saying that I am obsessed with cookery books because I know that if you are reading this blog you probably are as well. Apparently the correct term for the love of books is bibliophilia, one would like to imagine a few steps down from bibliomania which starts creeping into the murky realm of rather more serious health issues. Being older than the average blogger I have many books that have seen more of life than probably the majority of readers. Bursting from every nook and cranny they have witnessed every event in my life since teenage years. Loss, laughter, divorce, surprises, reunions, family arguments, many tears and lots and lots of love. Some live at the top of the piles; sticky, covers torn or lost completely, some with no spines, old friends that I would be very sad to lose.
A few years ago when the stacks of books began to finally take over our small cottage to the point they were a health hazard, blocking any means of escape out of the back of house, a cull was agreed upon. After days of stressful decisions being made into which ones went and which lived to cook another day, I reluctantly and with a heart heavier than a two day old scone, took a car boot full to the local charity shop. By the time I got home I was nearly in tears, vowing never to put myself through such trauma again.
Many of my books have been lounging around for years, some may only have one recipe in that I use and the logical side of me says to photocopy the page and ditch the book but thankfully logic is not one of my strong points. I always think that even if I glean just one small bit of information from a book, it may not even be a recipe itself, just a small tip, then it is worth its keep. That is the joy of cooking, there will never be a time when I know everything, no possibility of becoming an expert because there is always something to learn, whether it be from a new up and coming chef or someone’s wise grandmother.
As a baker, although not now baking for a living, every now and then I will get given a new baking book as a present from a well meaning friend. The majority of the books are spin offs from television programmes or new celebrity chefs and bakeries which look absolutely amazing but just how many different recipes for red velvet cupcakes can there be? I am not knocking them at all as I will champion anyone who manages to get a book published but there are so many excellent old cook books that get overlooked just because the out of fashion and faded photographs haven’t been taken with a Canon D5 mark III or the jackets have been lost or heaven forbid there are no photos at all. Obviously many of the rarer and therefore more valuable ones can only be found in specialist shops or resourced online but I come across some fabulous finds at charity shops and boots sales, making no need to have to spend £25 plus on a book if you are just starting out or wishing to add to an existing collection.
There is a section on my blog that every week champions a few of my books that give me seasonable inspiration or just the opportunity for a damn good read about the vast variety of food I love and the wonderful people who cook it. I hope you enjoy.