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Are your cookery books...

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by nick909, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    - pristine, looked-after and spotless?
    - sauce-splattered, well-thumbed and grease-stained?

    Do you have cookery books next to you when you cook?
    Or do they live in another part of the kitchen or house completely, so they stay well away from the business end of things when you cook?
    Has there become a tendency for new cookery books to become works of art, rather than practical aids? Do wel feel more guilty about getting them dirty, then? Should we? Or should we value the stains as part of their beauty?

  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    This was the plan.
    This is the reality.
    I have tried to wean myself off having the books next to me as I cook. I have a cookbook stand on the window sill. Things still get flicked up that though, plus when I am cooking more than one thing the other book has to go somewhere.
    A number of my favourite recipes are cut from magazines or printed out or copied from the internet. These live in folders in plastic sleeves - much more practical!
  3. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    I have the recipes I actually use, cut out, scribbled down or printed out and stuck into a presentation folder- you know the ones like a whole pile of polypockets bound together? That way, they're in one place (actually, I'm onto folder no 3 now) and wipeable!
    My books are mainly clean and in good condition, though there are so many that they are in precarious stacks all over my house! The books I've inherited from my grandma and the ones my mum uses, however, are pretty grotty looking! The one my mum uses to make her Christmas puddings, for example, is encrusted with 40 years worth of batter...you can tell the recipes she has used time and time again.
  4. New ones still look good, until I start having them next to me, then...

    The most splattered one is the first coeliac cookbook I got when my daughter was first diagnosed fifteen years ago, you can tell our favourite recipes from the sticky pages. Magazine recipes are cut out and glued in a Paperchase recipe binder, currently on no. 2, the first one being lost when my marriage broke up. Quite why he wanted to keep it is beyond me as he never knew one end of the cooker from the other!

    Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries looks like I've handled it with greasy fingers many many times as does his Real Food and Real Cooking.
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    No. They live in bookcases in the snug. I read them for inspiration but cook without them.
    The one exception is the 'Dairy Book of Home Cookery' which is in a drawer in my kitchen in a very shabby state. That particular cook's bible has been used to death! I still refer to it from time to time.

  6. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Space is limited in my little flat. But I do have bookshelves - lots of them!
    My cookery books are on the living room bookshelves.
    Some of them are for 'browsing' - and they are in good condition. (Floyd on France et.c)
    Others are more well-thumbed.
    My 'Readers' Digest Cookery Year' is my second copy - the first fell to pieces through constant use!
    I also have the 'family' book - started by Omi, continued by Mum and now mine...at least this volume is..Mum still jealousy guards the other...one day it will be mine! This is decidely worn - the pages are yellowing, the handwritten pages have faded ink (with pencil notes that you can no longer make out) and the recipes cut from old magazines and stuck in are falling out.
  7. Some of each. I have basic recipes that I can never remember the ratios for (crumble etc) They tend to get sauced splattered.
    Quite often. I do have cookery book stand but it a) doesn't fit my books and b) breaks the back of them - which I consider to be book murder! It usually sits on a different work surface to the one I am using, but as our kitchen is teeny tiny that doesn't save the books!
    I have a cookery book shelf between the kitchen door and back door - so they are all in easy reach. But we also have a stack of them in the front room and on the dining room table because of a
    and some of them are just great to read, sort of encyclopedias. We both like to read them and then ponder the recipes and ideas and then do our own thing. But we usually cook one from the book just to see how accurate the recipes are.
    In short most of our cookery books get stained, scribbled in and poorly used.
    The ones that don't tend to get recycled as a lack of abuse equals a lack of use. Those ones get photocopied where apporpriate and given away.
    Eventually the best recipes get copied into our cookery folder - recipes from all over the place that also get stained, sauced and scribbled on!

  8. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Some great responses, keep them coming!
    I'm a bit like most of you. Some have been kept clean; others are quite greasy and stained. We have a couple of shelves in the kitchen dedicated to books, but there are others throughout the house as well.
    Some do seem just too beautiful to get dirty - these are the ones that get read again and again in bed or on the sofa (I must also confess to reading cookery books on the toilet, even though there's something slightly perverse in that - perhaps it's a man thing!). With the beautiful books, I try to memorise as much as I can of the recipe and then keep it a safe distance away from the stove/chopping board, weighed down slightly at the page with a couple of handy tins of beans so I don't need to touch the pages too much.
    Although some are wonderfully stained, scorched, torn, dog-eared and otherwise falling apart! The paper jackets of some of the hardbacks eventually end up losing the will to live as well.
    This came to mind because I'd bought a couple of second hand cookery books on the internet. I've done this before and it's been fine, but in one of these ones, a few of the pages are stained and splashed. Part of me likes this, wondering if the previous owner succeeded and made a great dish for family and friends, but also part of me thinks - if I book is going to be food-stained, then I'd like it to be my food, ideally!
  9. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    Both, I have a core of cookery books on two shelves in the kitchen, more beautiful ones like Saha are in a bookcase in the hall, those I use less frequently in a bookcase just outside the kitchen.
    Yes and no, I try to keep newer and more exciting books clean but eventually they all get used.
    Although I have been known to scan a recipe to use so as to keep the book clean.
  10. In this household, cooking and gardening books tend to be in the 'middle-class ****' category. Dozens and dozens of them.
    We have beautiful books, and classics and collectibles like Larousse and 'The Seducer's Cookbook' (I bought it secondhand because it looked like fun - turns out to be in the never throw out category). And heaps of books with one or two really grimy pages because something has become a favourite.
  11. Some cookery books have had a lot of use over the years and are covered in gunk with pages stuck together particularly Delia, Nigel, Larousse Gastronomique and my preserving books, others are really more for looking at and drooling over so tend to be cleaner (obviously drool doesn't stain!)
  12. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    At the moment, they are all lovingly arranged into alphabetical order on my specially made bookshelves in the kitchen - however, I don't expect that to last long!
    They are an eclectic mix of lovingly preserved and joyously splattered.
  13. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    I try and keep mine clean and they aren't too bad but I definitely use them while I'm cooking! My kitchen is quite narrow and I only have worktop on one side so I have a butchers trolley on the non-work top side. When cooking from a book the book lives on here (usually kept open with a tin or something) and its close enough that I only have to turn round to see it but is far enough away from the food to keep it clean(ish). The difficulty is my fave books are all big thick hardback books and so they don't stay open by themselves and I'm yet to see a cookery book stand I think would be any good for such a thing...
  14. Absolutely. I've got a couple of those clear perspex ones. The clear front protects the pages perfectly well except ...... the support is too low so individual sheets of paper (or very soft books) flop over backwards and .... the gap is too narrow for any except the daintiest hardback, decent sized books just won't fit at all.
  15. Should I ever find one I'll be back here to shout about it... actually I might start a thread and ask!
  16. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Good plan!!
  17. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I have a heavy metal one (copper coloured) which really looks like a lectern - it even has weighted strings to keep the pages down!
  18. That's the thing! The weights!!!
    Thank you for stating the dam.nably perfectly obvious!
    And now let's find an Amazon Prime one so I don't have to pay the postage [​IMG]
    Or I suppose I could - gasp - go to a shop!
  19. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

  20. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    That is very similar to mine - just a different colour and different pattern, but teh construction is teh same!

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