My cookbook shelf in the kitchen had managed to overflow onto the sideboard in the dining room, a situation She Who Must Be Obeyed advised me wouldn’t be tolerated for long.
Unfortunately IKEA stopped manufacturing the twenty four inch wide Billy bookcase (why?), so I was forced to have something custom made. After two days of sanding and sealing with polyurethane I installed the replacement and promptly filled it, leaving a bit of room for expansion:
The extra height on the shelves allowed my to organize the books by topic, rather than by size. What’s on the shelves? From top to bottom:
A complete run of Cook’s Illustrated from 1996 – present, including index; The Dessert Bible; The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue; The Cook’s Bible, The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook; Good Eats: The Early Years; The Professional Chef (Seventh Edition); Larousse Gastronomique; and The Visual Food Encyclopedia.
Two binders, one labeled “Cook,” the other “Bake,” each holding printouts of recipes found online; Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs; Sunday Suppers at Luques; In the Heat of the Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay; Yes Chef!: 20 Great British Chefs, 100 Great British Recipes; The Flavor Bible; Culinary Artistry; Sous Vide for the Home Cook; The Splendid Table; Fundamentals of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan; and Molto Italiano, Molto Gusto, and Italian Grill by Mario Batali.
Smoke and Spice and Born to Grill by Jamison & Jamison; The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen; The Thrill of the Grill, License to Grill, and Let the Flames Begin by Chris Schlesinger; The Summer Shack Cookbook; The Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain; The River Cottage Meat Book; Variety Meats by Richard Olney (part of the old Time/Life The Good Cook Techniques & Recipes series, a rare find); Charcuterie; The Whole Beast and Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson; Ratio by Michael Ruhlman; On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee; and Cookwise by Shirley Corriher.
How to Cook Everything and The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman; The Joy of Cooking; Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, Mastering the Art of French Cooking volumes 1 and 2, and The French Chef Cookbook, all by you-know-who; Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques; I Know How to Cook (Je Sais Cuisinier) by Ginette Mathiot; The Perfect Scoop by David Liebovitz; Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone; The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich; Jam It, PIckle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon; and The Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
A Return to Cooking and On the Line by Eric Ripert; The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, Under Pressure, and Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller; Alinea; Au Pied de Cochon: The Album; Gourmet Today; Momofuku (not pictured); The Kitchen Sessions by Charlie Trotter; Blue Ginger, Ming’s Master Recipes, and Simply Ming by Ming Tsai; Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen; Sushi for Dummies; The Wagamama Cookbook; and The Complete Book of Sushi.
Those are the cookbooks in active use; there’s another bookcase in the Belm Utility Research Kitchen Reference Library with about as many books that have been retired from – or have never been brought into – active duty.
After examining the shelves, a friend noted “For an atheist you sure have a lot of bibles in your kitchen.” I do. And I swear by them.