Kitchen Contemplation: How Many Cookbooks Is Too Many Cookbooks?
I haven’t purchased them yet because every time I go to one-click, a little voice pipes up in my ear whispering, “Another cookbook? You really need another cookbook?”
The obvious answer is no, I do not. If (godforbid) my apartment were to catch fire, I could easily grab Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and The Joy, make a run for it and still live a long happy life at the stove, everyday a new tasty dish. The truth is, I have dozens of cookbooks on my shelves, not to mention a subscription to Gourmet and permission (from my own self) to purchase the occasional Food & Wine or Meatpaper. And when you add the Internet, well, it boggles.
So, if cookbooks are merely utilitarian objects ferrying cold hard data in the form of recipes, then no, I don’t need another one. But for me they’re also a source of pleasure and harmless distraction, objects of beauty and inspiration and identity. They allow me to connect to history and culture (both my own and others) in a very immediate, tangible way.
So how many cookbooks do you own? Do you read them in bed at night? In the bathtub? Or have you shifted over to Internet bookmarks and virtual recipe boxes?