Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Kitchen Cupboard Cull

Friday was a bit of  a grey day here.  The sky was very dark by lunchtime and then it started raining heavily and I really didn't want to go anywhere.  In addition, we had builders in our loft so I was trying to keep well out of the way.  I decided therefore, to have a good sort through all my cookery books and recipes, as the cupboard was bulging and wouldn't close properly with things falling out, which was very irritating.
There were a few reasons why I decided on this course of action.
I am thinking of making up a recipe book or folder to keep everything neat and tidy and easy to access.   If like me, you cut out recipes that appeal from magazines, newspapers, etc. when you see them, you will know that they soon mount up.  Mine had become one big mass of dog eared bits of paper spilling out of the box file I keep them in.  It was time for a cull.
We're having visitors this Christmas and I wanted to start to get my kitchen in some sort of order and also do a bit of research with regard to festive food planning.
And probably most importantly, in an attempt at keeping control of my food budget, I've been cooking according to a menu plan for the past few months, and when devising this month's plan I suddenly felt a little bored by my usual repertoire of dishes and felt that I should perhaps try to seek out a few new tasty recipes.  To do that, however, I first wanted to get back in control of the cookery book cupboard.
At this juncture I will point out that I'm not really a foodie sort of person and don't have many of the numerous glossy cookbooks by celebrity cooks and chefs that seem to flood the market every Christmas.  I have a few staples such as Delia Smith, that come out on a regular basis and have been invaluable over the years as I've taught myself to cook, plus a few others on Slow Cooking or Stews and Casseroles, which is the sort of cooking I like really.  Fairly traditional and homely.  Anyway, I went through the cookery books first and managed to form a good pile of ones I was happy to let go of and send to the charity shop. 
Many were childrens' cookery books that are now a bit young for Little Bird and full of things she just would no longer be interested in making. 
I did hang on to a few that were no longer relevant, as I couldn't bear to part with them.  The Annabel Karmel Cookbook was a particular favourite that I used all the time when I was weaning Little Bird, so I couldn't part with that one. 
Some of the ones that are going to the charity shop are vintage magazines and books I've picked up here and there and didn't really want any longer, plus the odd current cookery book that had little in it that appealed.
It was a bit of a trip down memory lane to be honest.  I found a huge volume on the subject of cocktails, that I completely forgot that I owned.  It has every cocktail you could ever imagine in it. I might even get it out this Christmas. 
I also found this lovely Ritz London Book of Christmas, which I may read in the lead up to Christmas.  It's a little book which recounts the history of Christmas at the Ritz in London with all it's traditions and includes lots of recipes that may or may not be useful in planning the food this festive season. 
Once I'd sorted through the books, I decided to leaf through the box file.  I threw out a whole stack of recipes that I just knew I would never ever attempt including some that sounded particularly unappetising.  I don't know how some of them even got in there.  There were some absolute old favourites, such as one for fairy ,that I've had for nearly 10 years and still get out when I forget the recipe.  It was dog eared and food splattered, but it's still there, worth it's weight in gold.
By the time I'd finished I had a nice tidy box file and cookery book shelf which felt incredibly good. 
 Now I just have to sort out the rest of the kitchen and seek out some new recipes of course.


  1. I keep my cookery books in a deep basket drawer in a kitchen unit. I rarely use them but husband likes to follow a recipe if he cooks. I got a load at the charity shop last year but have donated most back !

    1. Same here. I keep things for a while and then often give them away again a couple of years later.

      Cheaper than buying them new and doing the same thing though.

  2. I used to borrow from the library, look through at home then make copies of selected recipes the day I took them back.
    That way I had the recipe the way it was presented, pictures as well - no writing things down and wondering afterwards whether I jotted it down correctly.

    1. That's a really good idea. Very space saving too.