Kathleen Maunder (Kathy to some) is an artist, in the painting sense. She once wrote speeches and such like for corporate folk and now is a tamer of flowers and wild dogs. She has an entire bookcase of well used recipe books, a standing invitation at a cool bistro in Paris and knows the difference between Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean and Serena Ryder.
Which bring me to that confession. Those cookbooks. I counted them. I now own (get ready for it) over 300 cookbooks. Oh my.
It is a collection that has grown over the years. The first cookbooks I owned when I moved away from home were the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking. Both are reliable and are now falling apart from use, although I don't dip into them very often these days. There are maybe a few books on our shelf that haven't been used, but most fall open on their own to stained pages containing favourite recipes.
I particularly love the cookbooks where you have a strong sense of the author. Jamie Oliver's books (we own all of them) fit into this category. Nigella Lawson too. A new acquisition, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, would fit here as would The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. I have some that are close to my heart. Novelist and food writer Laurie Colwin's books would be there. Whenever our organic basket contains beets, you can be certain that I will make Laurie's Beets with Pasta for dinner (from More Home Cooking). Some are fun to use such as The Flavor Bible. It's really just a booklong list of food with flavour affinities. My daughter Emma has Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours out on the kitchen counter most weeks. Friday night dinners? It's probably Joie Warner's No-Cook Pasta Sauces that has been used most often.
We've tried to slow down our collecting in past years, but I can't think of a birthday or Christmas when my husband and I didn't exchange cookbooks. Well, because they are interesting and fun. Maybe it's a little obsessive. But that's what a collection should be.
Cookbook links: Fannie Farmer, Fannie Farmer Cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Plenty, The Art of Simple Food, Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, More Home Cooking, The Flavor Bible, Baking: From My Home to Yours, No-Cook Pasta Sauces
P.S. I bought the tulips. I'm still waiting for mine to open in the garden. :)