This is what it comes down to as I've attempted to tame the beast. It seems funny that 10+ years ago, when I first took over this little kitchen, I rarely cooked at all. I had five times as many cookbooks. Books I started collecting 25+ years ago, then paying the postage to ship them when I moved to New York, accumulating more and then U-hauling it all back across the country to end up here and onto a very tall Ikea bookshelf that I had shoved up next to my refrigerator, where they continued to grow.
Once I really started to cook, I realized the unwieldiness of it all, started a very traumatic purge and a somewhat successful moratorium on the acquisition of new or used cookbooks. Fortunately, I live two blocks from my library and manage to get my mitts on as many new and amazing cookbooks as I can carry.
Now I ask myself: why did I hold onto the ones I did and what provoked me to bargain my way out of the moratorium ( promise to self : new one in an old one goes) and purchase new cookbooks (there was the occasional Amazon browse after one too many margaritas)?
Only two cookbooks have survived all the purges. They came my way forever ago during my Cookbook Club phase some 20+ years ago when I wasn't even thinking about healthy cooking, much less vegetables. Both by Deborah Madison: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors.
What I find amazing, if not down-right ironic, is that the subject of both of these cookbooks are a huge part of my life now. A greater knowledge of vegetables and local produce are a central focus of my job.
So, I have only just decided that I will (when not just tossing together something from my own head)cook only from my shelf books starting with my Madisons. Stay tuned.