This post was inspired recently by Shannon of Just As Delish who went around asking fellow friends in FB to share their stock of recipe books. Although I am not a recipe book junkie but I do have quite a stash collected at home. And I feel I have to break them down because they’re kinda everywhere in the house. Currently, my collection of recipe books occupies two shelves in the bookcase upstairs (below) but I got like recipe books here and there in the kitchen, in the living room and guest room sometimes. Sometimes even the washroom if I ever need some light reading (we all do that sometimes….reading in the loo)
I don’t really spend a lot on recipe books, nor do I really buy those celebrity chefs’ cookbooks….don’t get me wrong, I would love to own a whole collection of Nigella Lawson or Rick Stein or Jamie Oliver but most of the time it’s way off my budget so I usually go to those bargain bookstores or warehouse sales and get really cheap ones. To me recipes are forever whether or not the book is old or new. I used to work in Damansara Jaya where they have this huge warehouse bookstore selling books for much cheaper than commercial prices. So every month or every other month I would treat myself to a few copies from there. I also used to work for a publishing house so when they had to get rid of old copies or stocks of books, I gladly took home the cooking ones. Of course they’re like vintage 1970’s to 1990’s but like I said, recipes never die…they just evolve.
First column, up-down; Recipe cards that came with magazines, I have those dating back to 2006;Some recipe books that were on the dining table….
First row, left and right; My collection of those cheap Family Circle ‘pocket’ size recipe books…bought during uni days
Second row, left and right; Some vintage books…..
Third row, left and right; These are not recipe books, they’re a comic collection of
Chinese cooking, the series is called Cooking Master Boy, I put this as
part of my recipe book collection because the comic explains how certain
Chinese dishes originates albeit all the drama and story plot thingy….
I think there’s a thing or two to be learnt….
Now these collection of recipe books (above) are more precious to me than anything I’ve ever bought. It’s just empty A4 log books that I cut and paste all the bits and pieces of recipes I found in magazines or newspapers or any other print sources. So far I have accumulated about 6 books over the course of 10 years. What first inspired me to cooking was two books when I was very young. One was my mother’s recipe book which was really old. The pictures were black and white and there’s not much pretty text going on, just pictures and recipes in both English and Mandarin. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to salvage that book. It probably became dinner a long time ago to those silverfishes. The second one was my mother’s recipe notebook….she jotted down some notes here and there and even did some illustrations which I thought were very nice. If these two books were enough to inspire a kid of 6, I just picture how it would be for my kids next time. I guess you can call these collection somewhat of an heirloom itself because this is something I would definitely pass down to my children. As you can see from the photos above, the first book (red and white cheques) was so old, the cover literally came off. I recently just started a book on just baking and desserts…prior to that it was all mixed up in the previous books. If some magazines give you like a free booklet recipes, I also just paste them into the book.
I love it when friends give me old magazines on cooking (below). I do not mind to take it off their hands. This one below is one of my favorites. It’s dated 2008.
This is also a good magazine to refer to on food styling, photography and writing.
Besides all these, I also have notebooks or recipe journals that I keep at hand at all times when I get ideas for a dish or had to copy something fast, I still go old school with pen and paper. These notebooks are quite precious too and I don’t think I’ll ever throw them away.
So what recipe books do you have at home, I would love to hear some feedback from you!!