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Collector's Guilt?   Go to last post Go to last unread
ae.bell
#1 Posted : Saturday, December 18, 2010 3:06:11 PM(UTC)
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So, I'll admit that my cookbook collection is on the excessive side.  But whenever I try to cull, I can't stand to part with practically any of them.  Does anyone else feel guilty about this obessesion?  How do you justify it?  I used to say, well at least I use them.  But there is no way any one person needs as many cookbooks as I have.  And yet, not only can't I stop collecting them, I don't really want to.

robm
#2 Posted : Saturday, December 18, 2010 8:27:52 PM(UTC)
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I'm facing the same problem with a collection that has started to take over my small apartment. I'm donating a large number of books to the library at our local junior college, which has one of the largest culinary arts programs in the country. If there's a library or culinary arts program in your area, that might be an idea for you. Then other people can enjoy the books, too, and you can go visit them at the library when you decide you miss them!
vickster
#3 Posted : Sunday, December 19, 2010 6:25:30 AM(UTC)
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I have a large bookcase dedicated to cookbooks, and tell myself that I should limit my collection to what will fit on the shelf and eliminate a book if I get a new one. Currently my collection is overflowing and I need to cull my collection. I do feel guilty, and certainly don't need all those books, but I love cookbooks! At least Eat Your Books helps me to use them more.
schambers
#4 Posted : Monday, December 20, 2010 6:25:25 AM(UTC)
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I'd say what I feel more often is collector's glee, if there is such a thing. Of course, my modest number of cookbooks is dwarfed by the collections of some members of this site, so maybe collector's guilt is yet to come. In the meantime, I just bought a gigantic new bookcase to hold books that have been sitting in piles on the floor. Fortunately for me and my glee, it will have room left over for more.

jzanger
#5 Posted : Monday, December 20, 2010 10:06:33 AM(UTC)
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I say excessive is in the eye of the beholder.  A few years ago I thought I had too many books, but in reality it was only that I was 23 and none of my friends were as into cooking as I was.  Anyway, I probably had around 30 or 40 and was experiencing the "collector's guilt" as you put it, so I challenged myself not to buy ANY MORE cookbooks until I'd made at least three recipes in EVERY ONE of my books.  This was before EYB came out and it made a lot of sense to me to get to know my current books better before adding to my library.  I lasted an entire year+ (it seriously felt like I was in NA or something), until I found a copy of Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson for less than $2.  I mean, who walks away from that?!  It was a slippery slope from there, but fortunately EYB came around pretty soon after and helped to rationalize my collecting.  I say life is short and there are much worse things to get enjoyment from than collecting books of any kind.  Make more room for books, not less!

micheleK
#7 Posted : Monday, December 20, 2010 11:12:56 AM(UTC)
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If I felt any guilt, it was short-lived. 


Since joining this site last month, I've purchased 14 more cookbooks!  That's more than I bought in the last 18 months.

ae.bell
#6 Posted : Monday, December 20, 2010 3:33:55 PM(UTC)
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jzanger wrote:


 I say life is short and there are much worse things to get enjoyment from than collecting books of any kind.  Make more room for books, not less!



 


jzanger?  I love the way you think ;-)

chrisguzzi
#8 Posted : Tuesday, December 21, 2010 12:13:39 AM(UTC)
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I admire the intention to try 3 recipes out of every one of your cookbooks but don't let's stop the indulgence of buying the 'must have' cookbooks, we have to support the source of our collection - the writers and publsihers who feed our addiction, as well as the charity shops who are goldmines for the out of print books.  I am happy to say that I am a collector of cookbooks - no guilt at all.  Enjoy them all.

Elise
#9 Posted : Friday, December 31, 2010 1:47:25 PM(UTC)
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If you didn't collect cookbooks, what other vice might you have?  I have to smuggle them into the home to avoid my husband seeing them.  I think it meets some kind of fantasy need.  I can read and reread a cookbook imagining how a recipe would work out without even stepping into the kitchen.  When I go to buy a cookbook I know immediately if it is the right kind of book--no stories, travel information;  recipes set out just the way I like them.  There is such a choice of books and I could never own them all that I have to be selective.  So, from time to time old and unsatisfactory books get shuffled out to make room for others, and in doing so I find books that I try again.  It's very hard to throw out anything and as cooking skills improve, some books that seemed too difficult begin to look easy.  Forget buying shoes, cookery books are my addiction.

chrisguzzi
#10 Posted : Sunday, January 02, 2011 7:32:15 PM(UTC)
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I found that using EYB to find a particular recipe took extra time for me to find the particular book so I have just spent countless hours putting them in alpha order (also on a spreadsheet) - it works extremely well and was worth the time it took. Along the way I found a few old favourites too. I think that EYB will stop me spending money on food mags when I have seen a 'must have' recipe in them as I can now find a similar if not the same recipe in the book collection thru EYB, less mags means more money to buy more books :)
rhondarae
#11 Posted : Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:48:40 AM(UTC)
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I just joined this site as I'm one of the worst collectors.  It's going to take me a LONG time to catalog every one.  The rationale I use is that I collect cookbooks from my travels or as a rememberance of a special meal with good friends.  They're a lot better than another t-shirt!


 

ellabee
#12 Posted : Saturday, January 15, 2011 4:19:42 PM(UTC)
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jzanger: :: I probably had around 30 or 40 and ... challenged myself not to buy ANY MORE cookbooks until I'd made at least three recipes in EVERY ONE of my books. This was before EYB came out and it made a lot of sense to me to get to know my current books better before adding to my library. ::

Did you decide to get rid of any of the existing cookbooks after the three recipes' trial?
jzanger
#13 Posted : Saturday, January 15, 2011 6:33:38 PM(UTC)
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ellabee wrote:
jzanger: :: I probably had around 30 or 40 and ... challenged myself not to buy ANY MORE cookbooks until I'd made at least three recipes in EVERY ONE of my books. This was before EYB came out and it made a lot of sense to me to get to know my current books better before adding to my library. ::

Did you decide to get rid of any of the existing cookbooks after the three recipes' trial?


Yeah, I actually did.  Even though I didn't make it through every book before I gave up on my cookbook diet, I have become more picky about which books I want around for the long run.   This site has also done so much for my enjoyment and exploration of the books I already own, so nowadays I feel less inclined to keep books around that I'm not using.  If I were at a point in my life that I wasn't moving around any more and I had lots of space for books, I would happily add fabulous books without a second thought, but that's just not my reality right now.

warner
#14 Posted : Monday, January 17, 2011 3:50:51 AM(UTC)
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Cookbooks my wife finds herself not using, simply get moved to the basement with my books. I really have a hard time disposing of a book.

robinorig
#15 Posted : Sunday, January 30, 2011 8:45:58 AM(UTC)
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I got over feeling guilty! Books are an endangered species! I get so much pleasure out of my cookbooks. Even when I'm not cooking from them, I read through them for ideas, inspirations, research. I'll often use several cookbooks to make one recipe, changing the recipe along the way to take the best of all. I'm just wondering what to do when I run out of space! I don't buy everything. I am getting a little more selective. I know what I like. But over time, different books that were not that interesting to me before, become more pertinent.

mziech
#16 Posted : Tuesday, June 21, 2011 4:48:54 AM(UTC)
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sometimes I do feel a bit guilty when buying yet another cookbook. But since I use them often and reading them makes me very happy, this reduces the guilt! Also, it feels very good to know that other people have the same vice.

Lillibet
#17 Posted : Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:58:46 AM(UTC)
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In my early days I used to consider how many recipes were new to me, how much I would use a book and whether I get my money's worth from it.  Now I just enjoy them to read, to learn tricks and also to compare different versions of dishes and take the best aspects from each.  They give me pleasure and pleasure is always worth the money!

Lillibet
#18 Posted : Tuesday, June 21, 2011 6:01:18 AM(UTC)
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Should have said - I now have in excess of 300 cookbooks


 

Slocumj
#19 Posted : Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:01:55 AM(UTC)
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Sometimes I do feel guilty, but because I share my cooking with family members I think it is a good hobby.  I have over 500 cookbooks (319 on EYB website) but love them all!  I have been collecting for over 40 years and always get a cookbook from everywhere I travel as well.  I have a lot of chuch cookbooks that don't have an ISBN number but they have some of the best recipes.  I am trying not to add too many new ones, but it is hard!! 

Mrs. L
#20 Posted : Saturday, July 30, 2011 11:17:54 AM(UTC)
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Collecting cookbooks for me is a guilty pleasure :). I try to remind myself what a joy it was to go through my Grandmothers cookbooks when she passed to pick out some favorites to keep. Or how excited my girlfriend was to bring me a few cookbooks from her Moms collection when her mom moved to a smaller place. I can only hope that when I'm gone my family and friends will enjoy going through my cookbook collection, picking out cookbooks they may want to try, maybe remembering me cooking a meal from one of them, or reading about me cooking from the book on my blog. The remainder of my collection I'm hoping will be donated to a school, a library, a shelter...any where someone might find joy in receiving a cookbook. Knowing that my cookbooks will continue to live through other cooks, eases my guilt just a bit (at least that's what I keep telling myself LOL).
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