The making of a cookbook junkie

Cookbooks from a visit to Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

Cookbooks from a visit to Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

I'm really not sure when it all began.

I grew up in the 'burbs, my mom kept her cookbooks and recipe cards in those awkward half-cabinets above the stove, the ones that the hood vent runs through. She had a small, but well used cookbook collection full of bookmarks and handwritten notes capturing meal successes and modifications.

I remember a few of those cookbooks from my childhood. Nothing the likes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (although suddenly my memory recalls a well worn Joy of Cooking?) The books in our home were exceedingly practical. We cooked for nourishment and cooked for fun. I guess this is where it all started for me.

My junior year of college was the first time since leaving home that I didn't have a cafeteria or cook to rely upon, and I was excited for the challenge of providing my own meals. Before moving in to my shared apartment I bought The Betty Crocker Basics cookbook, spiral bound tome. This is the first cookbook I can remember buying for myself. 

Fast forward a few years, my first few years of real adulthood, living in Santa Cruz. I was initiated into the American ritual of paying an obscenely priced cable bill, but made the most of it by devouring every bit of food tv I could find (it was really in its heyday then, the era of 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, Take Home Chef a la Curtis Stone). I started growing my cookbook collection during that time and used it them to help me work through the magnificent CSA boxes we'd get from Two Small Farms (RIP).

Then came the food blogs. 101 Cookbooks was a first and spoke directly to my cookbook obsession. Super Natural Cooking was just being written and I just could not believe I had a kindred spirit in the world—someone who devoured cookbooks, and wanted to write and share their obsession online. 101cookbooks was just the start. More than a decade later and I still voraciously read and follow dozens of food blogs. 

So many interests have come and go over the years but my cookbook obsession has never waned. When it seemed my bookshelves (and relationship) couldn't support many more books I turned to digital, discovering many great books for a fraction of their hardcover price (although I still prefer hardcover and have vowed to buy those from independent sellers.)

Today,  my collection spans over 300 books, covering a wide variety of cuisines.  Join me as I cook through my books.