I didn’t grow up in a family of readers. We didn’t have a lot of bookshelves. Most of the books in my house were mine. Which meant from an early age there was no one there to shape my tastes, to monitor my reading habits or insist on something more age appropriate.
The one exception to my very un-bookish house was my mom’s cookbook collection. Her one bookshelf (built lovingly by my father) lived in her bedroom and groaned under the weight of cookbook after cookbook.
For as long as I can remember I have given my mom cookbooks as gifts for every holiday. She reads them like I read, well, everything. She remembers where recipes came from. She uses them. They are loved.
She passed her love of cookbooks down to me. Now I have my own small collection. I devour many a year. I dogear the pages to keep track of recipes I would like to try. Some are covered in sauce, in flour, in some indistinguishable food.
It’s okay though…The only other people I let look at them are family. They understand. I have a tiny kitchen and a love of cooking. Trying new recipes is too fun, too essential to my personal happiness to be slowed by a little mess.
For me, food has always equaled love.
So I come to an impasse every year. I love cookbooks. From my earliest days they have been a part of my life. I want to devour them almost as much as I want to devour the actual recipes inside. They bring a spice to my life that doesn’t just come in other types of books. But they don’t feel like real books to me. Not like ones I count for my yearly book goal. Not like the books I rate and review on goodreads.
While I read all personal anecdotes, instructions, and introductions counting them toward my yearly TBR goal seems wrong. I don’t want to rate them until I’ve cooked from them. Isn’t that the point of a cookbook? That I can recreate the content inside and have it come out warm and mouthwatering? That my kitchen smells like freshly baked bread or sauteed garlic? I just can’t determine these things from a picture!
So i choose not to count them. I still buy a handful of cookbooks a year. I spend hours pouring over them, becoming mental friends with the author and planning out meals for date night or a dinner party. I tell my soon to be sister-in-law and my mom about them. I have a small community to share my love.
So cookbooks will remain mine. Not goodreads, not this blogs, not my librarian friends.
Do you have a cookbook obsession or another type of book you don’t always count toward your reading goals? Let me know in the comments!