A Cautionary Commentary Concerning Cookbook Collecting

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “The Collector” from The Collector by Maurice Jarre

Since I began my second cookbook collection, I have slowly and meticulously grown the collection over the period of several years. When the “official” count was conducted in July, 2013, there were 2,970 cookbooks, which garnered the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of cookbooks. Now, three years later, “we” are at 5,374 (unofficial).

Just before the BIG count in July, 2013. The subject has altered the photo to protect her identity for security reasons (!)(Original pre-altered photo credit: Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Just before the BIG count in July, 2013. The subject has altered the photo to protect her identity for reasons, which will become obvious (!)(Original pre-altered photo credit: Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

"Are you sure she said there were 500 boxes of cookbooks? Nobody has that many cookbooks" (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

“Are you sure she said there were 500 boxes of cookbooks to move? Nobody has that many cookbooks” (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.com)

Terence Stamp (Frederick) in the movie “The Collector” (released in 1965) played a lonely, unbalanced young man who stalks, kidnaps, and imprisons a pretty, young art student, Miranda, played by Samantha Eggar. One day, after following her in his van, Frederick kidnaps and chloroforms Miranda, locking her in the windowless stone cellar that he has prepared with a bed, some furnishings, and an electric heater. Frederick is a butterfly collector and treats Miranda as if she is one of his specimens.  

Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar in "The Collector". He is described as (Photo Credit: www.british60scinema.net)

Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar in “The Collector”. He is described as “…lonely & unbalanced”  (Photo Credit: http://www.british60s cinema.net)

After struggling to escape, to bargain with him, seduce him, etc. the young Miranda finally has the opportunity to bash Frederick in the head with a shovel. Unfortunately, it was in vain, as Frederick, just wounded, recaptures her and tosses her into the cold, wet cellar (the heater was broken during the fight). After being locked in the cold, wet cellar for 3 days, Miranda dies.

So, what does this say about the collector of cookbooks? Am I lonely? (I don’t think so) Unbalanced? (Certainly not!).  Indeed, my cookbooks are prisoners, and are at my whim, however, I do not mistreat or abuse them and they really are in a good place.

A year and a half ago, when the count was approximately 4,600 books, they overwhelmed my small home and forced me into larger quarters (so, who is in control here?) The old saying, “If you build it, they will come” is true. Since moving to my larger home, “they” kept on coming, to the tune of 774 additions since my move in January, 2015. Despite the joy they bring me, and my spouse, who is the recipient of all of those recipes in all of those cookbooks, there are drawbacks. Here is my cautionary tale about collecting cookbooks on a large-scale:

1) Depending on the size of your collection and your devotion (passion? fetish?), they will continue to accumulate in your abode, despite your promises to cut back or stop (When I had about 1,800 cookbooks I “promised” my spouse that I would stop when I reached 2,000. Well, we can see that my nose is very long, like Pinocchio).

Like Pinocchio, I told an "untruth", when I promised my spouse that I would stop collecting cookbooks, when I reached the 2,000 mark (the rest is history) (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

Like Pinocchio, I told an “untruth”, when I promised my spouse that I would stop collecting cookbooks, when I reached the 2,000 mark (the rest is history) (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams      time.com)

2) Eventually, if you are unable to control your addiction, you will have to move. (there is no “Cookbooks Anonymous” that I am aware of, but perhaps I should start a chapter).

3) Moving 4,600 cookbooks is very stressful: on the back, the legs, the hips, and everything in between, including your patience (more so for your spouse) and sanity. You will question why you are doing this and will be unable to come up with a logical answer.

"Yes, we really are going to move all of these books, but only once!" (Photo Credit: www.journaltimes.com)

“Yes, we really are going to move all of these books, but only once!” (Photo Credit: http://www.journaltimes.com)

In addition, if you plan to move around Christmas or New Years (which we did), you will be banned from local wine stores for filching hundreds (yes hundreds!) of empty boxes from their loading bays after making dozens of raids. They will blacklist you until after the holiday rush is over, when the need for boxes subsides.

If you plan to move over a holiday, count on being blacklisted from your local wine store for relieving them of too many boxes. (Photo Credit: www.123rf.com)

If you plan to move over a holiday, count on being blacklisted from your local wine store for relieving them of too many boxes. (Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com)

4) You are now faced with an even bigger dilemma. With the extra space in your new abode for more bookcases, you will feel compelled to fill them up, so your collection will grow exponentially, as empty shelves are so sad to look at.

 

Bookcases not filled with cookbooks are very sad to look at. You feel compelled to fill them up. (Photo Credit: www.bobvila.com)

Bookcases not filled with cookbooks are very sad to look at. You feel compelled to fill them up. (Photo Credit: http://www.bobvila.com)

5) People will call you or e-mail you out of the blue, after hearing about your collection and will try to sell you books that you already have, don’t want, or are by cookbook authors you can’t stand. Anyone who checks my “virtual” bookshelves at http://www.eatyourbooks.com (EYB), “manycookbooks” has no cookbooks from Paula Deen, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Alton Brown, and with the exception of one as a gift, no others from Emeril Lagasse. We all have our favourites and we all have our pet-peeves in chefs. On the other hand, occasionally, people will call and donate their old unwanted cookbooks to “a good home”, which is very generous.

6) People will think you are nuts. The truth hurts. Some people think you’re secretly a hoarder, but don’t listen to them. Hoarders just hoard to do it and don’t care about the items they hoard. My “hoard” is neat, organized, temperature controlled and not dangerous.

Many people will regard you as nuts for collecting so many cookbooks (ignore them) (Photo Credit: www.enwikipedia.org)

Many people will regard you as nuts for collecting so many cookbooks (ignore them) (Photo Credit: www. enwikipedia.org)

This is hoarding. I do not hoard. My cookbook collection is neat and not dangerous at all (unless a bookcase should tip over) (Photo Credit: www.c2cbigruel.com)

This is hoarding. I do not hoard. My cookbook collection is neat and not dangerous at all (unless a bookcase should tip over) (Photo Credit: http://www.c2cbigruel.com)

 

 

 

 

7) People will ask you if you actually cook. Now, while it is true that I read cookbooks as other people read fiction, I really do use those recipes.

Yes, I even cook using the cookbook recipes! (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

Yes, I even cook using the cookbook recipes! (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams   time. com)

8) People will make comments such as “well, I have 10,000 cookbooks” so what’s the big deal about her 2013 Guinness World Record of 2,790?  I respond by saying it’s like the lottery: you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. The good folks at Guinness don’t know you’re out there unless you tell them and follow their rules. So, go for it and stop whining already!

See. People in US collect things that are a lot more bizarre than cookbooks. I mean....... (Photo Credit: www.newscastic.com)

See?  Is “Largest Cookbook Collection” any more bizarre than “Most people hugging trees” or “Largest Hokey Pokey? Really? (Photo Credit: http://www.newscastic.com)

9) Despite your careful collecting, organizing and maintaining your collection and cookbook database, you will still be unable to find a book you are looking for to use that “just right” recipe. Eat Your Books is a big help here, but even then, if you can’t find the book on the shelves, you’ll be tearing your hair out.

10) Bookcases and the weight of the books on them will crush your carpets beyond recognition. If you ever plan to move again (!!), also plan on replacing your carpets in your old house and hook up with a good chiropractor (I did both).

If you think this is bad from a table, think about what 8,000 + cookbooks can do to it! (I speak from experience) (Photo Credit: www.ehow.com)

If you think this is bad from the weight of a table, think about what 8,000 + pounds of cookbooks can do to it! (I speak from experience) (Photo Credit: http://www.ehow.com)

Regular readers might have come across my post of September 22nd, 2014 “A Vintage Cookbookery Mystery: What do Pachyderms and Cookbooks have in Common ?” Well, the cookbook collection at that time weighed in at approximately 8,900 pounds, the average weight of an African elephant. Now, see what I mean about your carpets! (Photo Credit: www.gettyimages.com)

Regular readers might have come across my post of September 22nd, 2014 “A Vintage Cookbookery Mystery: What do Pachyderms and Cookbooks have in Common ?” Well, the cookbook collection at that time weighed in at approximately 8,900 pounds, the average weight of an African elephant. Now, see what I mean about your carpets! (Photo Credit: http://www.gettyimages.com)

So, there you have it. All the down and dirty on cookbook collecting. Now get out there and check out those thrift stores and don’t be bullied or intimidated by non-cookbook lovers!

 

 

 

When it's all over...(Photo Credit: www.canstockphoto.com)

When it’s all over…(Photo Credit: http://www.canstock photo.com)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Advertisements

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,037. What next? More shelves!
This entry was posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Cooking Technology, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, New Mexico, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Cautionary Commentary Concerning Cookbook Collecting

  1. Thanks so much, Cat….looking forward to giving it a good home (you can have visiting rights anytime!)

  2. Cat says:

    Another one is on its way to you now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s