Soft spots

When it comes to apples, I have a definite weakness.  It doesn't matter that apple season is only in the fall, or that of the 8 or so apple trees we've planted, only two have survived, and that those two successfully bear fruit only once every several years.  It doesn't matter that I rarely eat more than three or four varieties in a given year, or that I only make a handful of apple pies.  It's the idea of apples. I just think they're beautiful and fascinating.

So that's why my bookshelves are cluttered with apple books.  That's why, whenever a new apple book is published, like Rowan Jacobsen's Apples of Uncommon Character, I have to have it and I have to keep it...forever.

Even though there already several apple books on the market that cover much of the same territory.  (In fact, at one point years ago I wanted to write a book on apples, but rejected the idea because I couldn't think of an apple book that hadn't yet been written.  And yet, they just keep coming.)  I love Frank Browning's apple lore books. I love reading about apple genetics, and the mythical-sounding Alma-Ata, Almaty, or "Father of Apples"- the region in Kazakhstan where apples originate and where wild apples of astonishing variety can still be found.

I love Amy Traverso's The Apple Lover's Cookbook, although I rarely use it.  I just like knowing it's there on the shelf in case I find myself with several bushels of apples and more free time than I know what to do with (ha!).

I guess I just feel like my knowledge of apples, or my expertise in cooking them, will never be able to equal my love for apples, so I might as well surround myself with the fruit (ha again!) of better minds and hope that some of it rubs off.

Is there a kind of cookbook that you can't resist?  that weighs heavy on your shelf and bedside table? that says more about you and your interests in life than it does about what you actually feel like cooking tonight?  I bet there is!


  • Christine  on  8/5/2014 at 2:05 PM

    My soft spots are for chocolate books & DIY books -- the chocolate books I do tend to use, though not nearly as many recipes as I would like! The DIY ones are more aspirational -- I am fascinated by the idea of making things you would normally buy, but I only tend to try a *project* every once in a very long while. I'm trying to make better use of those books I already have and to curb my impulse to buy more of them, but I must say the former is much easier to do than the latter :)

  • KarinaFrancis  on  8/5/2014 at 5:42 PM

    My weakness is italian cookbooks. I have Marcella so one could argue I need no more, but I do, 25 more to be exact (thanks to EYB I know that for sure). I still have a few on my wish list....

  • JFM  on  8/6/2014 at 11:04 AM

    I also have many DIY and preserving books. Recently though, I've discovered Turkish cuisine and have just started on those. Eat Istanbul by Andy Harris is a great book.

  • Jane  on  8/6/2014 at 2:23 PM

    My weakness is definitely dessert books - according to my EYB filters I have 100 of them. Also 128 baking books. This is the cooking I enjoy the most so it makes sense those are the books I'm most drawn to. On ethnicities, Italian far outsizes the other cuisines.

  • hillsboroks  on  8/7/2014 at 2:11 PM

    I find that I go in streaks. For a while I was buying Pacific Northwest cookbooks, then Southern US cookbooks, after that Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cookbooks and tropical cookbooks. This summer I find myself drawn to pie books, Diana Henry books and pickle books. Who knows where I will go next? I still cook from all the various areas but it seems like I reach a point where I feel like I have enough on a subject and need to start filling in other holes in my cookbook library.

  • ellabee  on  8/7/2014 at 6:28 PM

    I'm a complete softy for any non-cooking apple book. They're just one of the most interesting food plants there is. The cookbooks here are fairly balanced, among the same categories my wishlists fall in: cuisines, seasonal veg-heavy meal cooking, and preserving (in the broad sense, including charcuterie, fermentation, and foodways & recipe preservation). My actually owned books are about a third of my nominal Bookshelf total, so there are still holes in my collection wrt cuisines I'm interested in. Authoritative cookbooks for those are what I'm most likely to spring for.

  • Rinshin  on  8/7/2014 at 11:52 PM

    All things noodle and pasta

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