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These are all the cookbooks I have ever owned in my life. And three of them came to me as gifts in the past month! Weird. That old beat up Joy of Cooking I’ve had since I was maybe 18 years old. Which was also when I started my own handwritten cookbook of favourite things I came across … and then more than fifteen years of personal selections were lost when that book went missing somewhere between Toronto and Europe. Damn! The Joy of Cooking made it though, for reasons that escape me – I would have much preferred to have the book I’d written. And then on my first birthday in Seville I was given Cooking in Spain by Janet Mendel, which became my bible for Spanish cooking.

Fast forward to March 2010 …

A couple of weeks ago my dear friend Lizzie sent me a copy of the first cookbook written for her fabulous  Folk House Cafe in Bristol. Then I was given a copy of  Tapas – A Bite of Spain after “waste of time” twitter put me in touch with photographer Michelle Chaplow, who asked if I could help her out with a bit of Sevilla tapas info. As thanks she sent me this gorgeous tapas cookbook by – Janet Mendel! – with photos by Michelle. Then the other day I got a notice that a package had arrived while I was out … hmmm. When I went to pick it up I was totally confused and so of course had to open it on the spot. As soon as I saw it was the Elizabeth David cookbook I knew who it was from … goddamn it but I have amazing friends!

So my cookbook library has suddenly more than doubled, and a while ago I started azahar’s kitchen – an online version of my old hand-written cookbook – including some of my favourite dishes along with things I have never tried before (risotto, pig’s cheeks…). For new things I often look up recipes on line and then adapt them, which made me wonder if cookbooks are becoming obsolete. What do you think?

How many cookbooks do you have?
Which are your favourites?

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