Happy Labor Day everyone! Today, I figured I'd take a break from writing a recipe post and write a post about cookbook organization and storage.
I'm about to let all of you in on a little secret. Are you ready for it? Are you sure?
.................I'm a HUGE cookbook collector!
And since this is a blog about food and cooking and recipes and such.....I figured we could talk more about this addiction....
How huge is huge? Well....the below picture should speak for itself......
Yes....the above picture is of my wonderful collection. Mind you, it has been 9 years in the making (ever since I was first married). If it's one thing that runs on my side of the family, it's cooking. It also runs on Husband Man's side as well, because every time I see my mother-in-law, she is always giving me a cookbook or two. These books have been bought by myself, been given to me as gifts or I have collected from my mother.
If you are an avid collector of these precious books, the first piece of advice I have for you is to make sure you have the room to store them. I firmly believe that cookbooks belong in or near the kitchen, mostly because this is where you will use them the most. Our kitchen came with a spacious, built-in, 6 shelf pantry. I use the bottom part of the pantry to store my cookbooks. I have seen books being placed on top of counters, on the shelves in kitchen islands, and even in a kitchen cabinet.
Let's break down the shelves....shall we....
One half of this shelf is devoted to any books that are part of a series, so to speak (Cooking Light Annual Recipes, the Fix it and Forget It books, The Recipe Hall of Fame Books, etc...). The second half is devoted to slow cooker/crock pot books, four and five ingredient recipe books, low fat cookbooks, and books that are not part of a series.
The first half of this shelf is for all the regional cookbooks I have collected, with a few more stand alone books (not part of a series). I also have any Military related cookbooks there as well. The second half of the shelf belongs to any dessert and baking books.
The last shelf is for everything non-book related. If I purchase a cooking magazine and find myself not being able to part with it, I store it here. The little apple basket on the left stores all of those little mini magazine booklets that you purchase at the register while waiting in line. I also use it to store the cookbook manuals that come with appliances like my blender, waffle maker, or ice cream maker. This is the shelf that also holds any empty recipe binders (more on this later) and any lose recipes that I may have cut out of newspapers or magazines. The cute "Live, Laugh, Love" butterfly box holds my collection of recipe cards.
And there you have it, my little secret...........
.....if someone gives me a new cookbook as a gift or if I purchase one that I simply have to have, I follow the "one in, one out" rule. Simply meaning, for every new cookbook that I obtain, one of the books in my collection has to go either to a friend or to the library. It helps cut down on clutter :)
Oh...but wait!! It doesn't stop there!!
The above pictures were just for all the books, magazines, and lose recipes that I have collected.
For all of our family favorites....all the recipes that I have made and that everyone really enjoyed...I use these cute little recipe binders.....
They sit on the top of my kitchen hutch, where I can see them everyday. I have broken the binders down into categories......Cookies, Desserts, and Beverages....Our Favorite Holiday Recipes (containing recipes that I ONLY make during fall/autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas)....Recipes from Family and Friends....and Recipes for every other category not listed. I also have a white binder in the back that stores all of our favorite recipes that I have found on the Internet, but won't fit into the recipe binders.
Each binder has a few sheets of information on the favorite recipes that we have tried that have come from the books in my pantry....the name of the recipe, the name of the book, and the page number.
Whew! It has taken me 9 LONG years to come up with an organization system that works for us! I am always wanting to learn more about how others store their cookbooks and recipes, so I'm interested.....
How do most of you store your stash??