Culling cookbooks

Page from a church cookbook

We are overrepresented in the category of cookbooks. There’s the original set of three Good Home Cooking cookbooks, a gift received in my preteen years, used many times and stuffed with clippings and recipes for things like brownies and wild rice soup copied in bubbly, preteen cursive. Plus several grocery store booklets designed to promote the use of ingredients like Pillsbury crescent rolls and Old El Paso refried beans. Plus several vegetarian cookbooks with styles ranging from earthy to light and refined. Plus ethnic cookbooks covering the cuisines of Korea and cultures found along the Silk Road. Plus a lone chili pepper cookbook. Plus a church cookbook consulted a handful of times for Christmas cookie recipes and once for ethnographic study private judgment (could these people make nothing without adding a can of cream soup or the equivalent 1/2 cup of salt?). Plus a book with panini recipes (gorgeous, but I never had a panini maker). Plus some cooking magazines. Plus the Joy of Cooking.

For someone with access to the Internet who hasn’t done much cooking in the last five years, I’ve got about 18 more cookbooks than I can ever hope to use.

And so I am going to set most of the books free now (love ya, Goodwill!), expecting that more will go when I see that my life is not impacted in any way by the absence of the first wave.

(If you have fewer cookbooks, you might be able to call your culling “Five-minute simplifying,” which is how I tagged this post. For me it was not a five-minute project. I had to think hard about whether I might suddenly start preparing meals requiring multiple fresh ingredients that only two of the three of us would even consider eating.)

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