Show Me Your Cookbooksssss

Ever-enthusiastic Nags of the tasty blog For The Cook In Me is hosting this fun event: Show Me Your Cookbook!

Cookbooks are a real weakness of mine. I collect them shamelessly, read them often, and use them for recipes occasionally — usually when I want to make a complicated dish I have never tried before. Otherwise, I like cookbooks that provide a window into a country, a culture or a certain era.

It’s almost impossible for me to choose a favorite cookbook. I truly love them all. If pressed, I would have to name these two simply because they started me on my long love-affair with cooking:

James Beard books
James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking is the first book I bought when I moved away from home. I learned to cook with this book — all the basics are in here from separating eggs to choosing fresh vegetables to making pie crust and soups… on and on. I couldn’t part with the original, even when my dad replaced it for me a few years back, so the old pieces live in that brown bag. The companion book, The New James Beard, continues in the same vein with less ‘theory’ and more recipes with which to ‘practice’. Highly recommended for anyone new to the kitchen!

Of course I couldn’t really narrow this down to one favorite cookbook, or even two. So here my ‘entry’ ends, and the ‘everything you wanted to know about my cookbooks but were afraid to ask’ section begins. If you’re not into cookbooks, you may want to quit now before I bore you to bits! 😉


Julia Child, NY Times
Julia Child’s timeless The French Chef Cookbook is almost a log of the PBS television show of yesteryear — great fun to read! The New York Times Heritage Coobook separates the US into regions and provides old-fashioned, homestyle recipes from each. It’s an excellent resource.

chinese cookbook
HP Books’ Chinese Cookery is a wonderful introduction to this fascinating cuisine. Rose Cheng’s recipes are authentic and easy enough for a real kitchen novice, which I was when I bought it. I have fancier Chinese cookbooks, but I refer to this one time and again.

boat food
This is a fun book with recipes from the galleys aboard Great Lakes cargo boats. Stewards aboard the “lakers” are locally famous for serving their crews delicious home-cooked dishes in generous portions; here they share their favorite recipes in quantities to feed a crowd. I like it for the anecdotes — a glimpse of life on the lakes.

india shelf
The small but growing “India Section” of my collection — I do most of my recipe-reading right here online! 😉

And just in case that wasn’t more-than-enough information, here’s the pantry — click for larger views:





Now that I have admitted to being a cookbook glutton, I feel like revisiting them all one by one. Thank you Nags, for this fun and inspirational event!



  1. bhags said

    There are so many of them……thats an amazing collection, I must say

    It’s shameful, Bhags… I’m hanging my head… then again, I don’t spend money on the lottery 😉

  2. Vani said

    Wow! That IS a big collection of cookbooks! You’ve got books from various cuisines and cultures – awesome collection, Linda! You’re indeed a ‘cookbook glutton’ (loved that line, btw) 🙂

    That’s the fun part Vani, you can travel the world through a good cookbook and never leave your own kitchen! 🙂 Yep, glutton is about the best word I could think of 😉

  3. Rajitha said

    that is your collection…it is fun collecting cookbooks of different cultures, you get to learn so much more

    Thanks Rajitha — I agree — you get to learn a lot and that’s part of the fun! 🙂

  4. Roopa said

    oh my thats a large collection 🙂

    I’m hopeless in this regard, Roopa 🙂

  5. neroli said

    Don’t you just love it?
    Linda, I have *such* a serious thing for Julia Child—(and Mr. Rogers! I watched *a lot* of public TV as a child)
    not only did I love Julia’s dedication, but her total willingness to accept herself as she was.
    Sometimes she was a goof! and she just went with it.
    She was one of my best teachers that way 🙂

    Hi Neroli, somewhere in the wilds of my mother’s attic, there is a picture postcard sent to a very young me from a very young Mr. Rogers! Now I’m dating myself 😉 And agree on Julia Child — someday I must pick up her autobiography. She was a fascinating woman. Hooray for public tv 🙂

  6. Swapna said

    Wow. That’s an impressive collection:)

    Or obsession, Swapna! 😉

  7. sra said

    Do you know how many you have, have you counted?

    You realise, Sra, that now I am going to have to count them. I don’t believe I ever have. Have you counted yours?? You had plenty too I saw 🙂

  8. Srivalli said

    wow..thats just too many…fits like a big library…great collection linda…

    Thanks Srivalli — in 20+ years of collecting they did pile up a bit 🙂

  9. Nags said

    lovely pics.. looks like you had fun wiht the event.. yours is one of the best entries. so dont call it useless 🙂 see you at the round up!

    Thanks for accepting all the ‘extras’, Nags! Look forward to seeing everyone else’s favs at your roundup 🙂

  10. shammi said

    Wow… now I feel a lot less guilty about being cookbook-crazy! 😀 I couldnt begin to compete with your collection, Linda… but I’m going to try. NICE set of books!

    Thanks Shammi — that’s how I felt when I saw Sra’s post! We’ll just make it a friendly contest. Now when are you going shopping again?? I don’t want to miss an excuse to pick up another book 😉

  11. indosungod said

    Linda! you sure do love cook books don’t you, my local Borders Cook Book Section does not have that many. Julia Childs is a favorite for me too, thanks to PBS we get it to see those lovely shows even today.

    I wish they still ran Julia up around here, ISG. Then again, it’s been so long since I turned on the TV, maybe they are. I will have to check the listing. Thanks for the nudge! 🙂

  12. Nupur said

    Oh, my! I sure would love to spend a weekend huddled in your pantry reading these books! I see a couple here that I love: Mangoes and Curry leaves, and Dakshin. The rest I will try to find and read.

    You’re welcome anytime, Nupur… the pantry is just big enough to hold a small chair and reading lamp 😉 You have some lovely books in your collection too — I have Madhur Jaffrey’s Taste of India (not pictured) but would like to get World Vegetarian too. I used to have Taste of the East — think that was the name — gave that one to my sister. So many cookbooks, so little time… (or disposable income!). Thank goodness for flea markets 🙂

  13. Asha said

    HeHe!! I always knew you are my soul sistah! Hahaha!!
    Great collection. Except Mangoes and Curruy leaves,I have everything you have there in that Indian section!!
    I have one James Beard winner called “Sauces”. Don’t have Julia child’s though. Great collection Linda. I have two book cases full of cookbooks , one in my bedroom and one in my walk in closet!!;P

    I knew it too Asha! 😉 You would really enjoy Julia Child I think — she had incomparable style just like you. I have lots on my wish-list for Indian cooking and a few others too — there are worse things to spend money on right!!?? 🙂 Will wait to see your double-bookcases sometime 🙂 Have a great weekend sis!

  14. Hema said

    That’s a huge huge collection Linda! Is that a Parsi cookbook (the last little book in the ‘Indian section’ snap)? My cookbook collection attracts a lot of attention from people visiting us, but mine’s not even half of what you have on display! I’m clicking right after this comment:)

    Hi Hema, so nice to see you back 🙂 Yes, that’s a little treasure of a Parsi cookbook, one of the first Indian books I got. As nice as the big colorful new ones are, I have fun with older books too and sometimes I get lucky at a flea market or yard sale. There’s a big picture of it here. Do tell what you get at Amazon! 🙂

  15. sharmi said

    wow that is a hell lot of books in there. very huge collection. Thanks for showing it to us.

    Oh Sharmi, that made me laugh — my dad would say “helluvalotta” just like that. Thanks for the smile 🙂

  16. Richa said

    that is SOME collection, Linda!!!! And u r definitely putting it to good use by churning up all those delicacies day by day.
    I just hv a few cookbooks & i end up reading & re-reading them again n again 🙂 hv a good wknd!

    Thanks Richa 🙂 I read and re-read certain books too, not only cookbooks — but cookbooks are often my favorite bedtime read. I can then cook in my dreams 😉 You too have a great weekend dear!

  17. sandeepa said

    What a collection and all well thumbed

    That’s putting it kindly, Sandeepa. Some of those are so worn it’s almost embarassing 🙂

  18. Cynthia said

    You have some gems there!

    And the Friskies? (lol)

    Friskies for the feline gems, Cynthia :):)

  19. Sig said

    WOW! What a collection….. and looks like some of those are put to great use… My collection is much smaller, and only some are used often… I just collect them for fun 🙂

    Hi Sig, glad you liked it. I collect for fun too, but I’ve been doing it a wee bit too enthusiastically, perhaps! 😉

  20. Puspha said

    U have a huge collection of books. Way to go.

    I’m a little obsessed, Pushpa 😉 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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