Books,  Reviews

Cookbook Addiction

It’s no secret that I’ve been car booting for years. When I was a little more flush and had different ideas of what direction my photography would take I collected vintage kitchen equipment.  There are now 2 large boxes of this stuff crammed in the bottom of my larder that I rarely use.  Since I pared back my food pictures, I started collecting cookbooks.

My name is Caítríona and I have a cookbook addiction.

Last Wednesday evening I joined a group of lifestyle bloggers at Avoca Malahide for a meet up, organised by the lovely Emily Holmes.  It’s not the first time we have chatted, but the first time we met in person, and our Irish Tea feature last Autumn was one of my favourite things of 2012, also one of my most popular Audioboo recordings.

It was great to meet with like minded people, drool over kitchen equipment with Edible Ireland and leaf through some amazing cookbooks with Creme de Citron.

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I picked up and inspected so many dinky items.

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They would live in my imaginary kitchen that had loads of shelves just for beads.

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Plenty of wall space for shelves.

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And a light filled conservatory where I could hang lovely rugs.

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By the time I got home I was dragged into reality by a 17 month old who wanted to be fed the minute I got in the door. Avoca were kind enough to include their second cookbook in a goodie bag for me along with a beautiful apron on which it is pictured, and it will certainly be used.

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The 17 month old’s bedroom also houses my cookbook collection.  I think that’s a strategic move by my hubby. I can’t sneak in there at night and nose through the books without planning in advance.  The only other suitable spot in the house would be in our bedroom and I’m not sure he’s ready to share the bedroom with my cookbook addiction quite yet.

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I use the cookbooks as reference points.

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There was a time when I wouldn’t cook a thing for the (now) 4 year old without checking an Annabel Karmel tome, now I rarely read them but they are good for a browse every now and again.

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I love books that have great photography and I use these as inspiration for some of my own food photographs.

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Then there are the novelty books, ones that I would never buy for myself at full list price but they are great to have in the house.

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Over the past 4 years I’ve amassed quite a collection of fun, quirky and interesting books.

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Today I’ve shared just a few of my favourites.

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I know that I’m not the only collector out there. What are your favourite, go-to cookbooks? Is there an old & battered book that you know will fall open at the page that you continuously refer to? Are they spattered with food? Which is by the way a sign of use and love, a great sign of a good book.

Do share!

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Sinead Crowe

    I hear you! I had to give away a lot of mine, just don’t have the space! My go-to are Avoca 1&2 and Nigella Christmas!

  • Mairéad Ni Rodaigh

    I too am an addict – mostly get them reduced in discount bookstores. All time favourites are Delia Smith and Theodora Fitzgibbon and I got a lovely present of A Year in Avoca.
    The photography is a big draw but I like books which give recipes using commonplace ingredients that are easy to get – no squid or partridges.

  • Edible Ireland

    The only problem with having such a good browse of the gorgeous kitchen equipment is that now I’ve got a fierce hankering to go back and buy some of it! And what’s wrong with being a cookbook addict? You can never have too many, I say. One of my favourites I was just talking about last weekend is Rustic Fruit Desserts, an absolutely fab little American book that has consistently outstanding recipes.

  • Oonagh Monahan

    I’m beginning to think my cookbook collection is more of an art installation than anythign else, as some of them have never been used, just bought becuase they look so appealing! On the other hand, my Avoca Cookbook (the first one) falls open at the recipe for Lakeshore Pork as I, and now my husband, have made it so often! I still find I go back to Darina, Delia and Avoca more than any of the rest.

  • kathryn

    Not much for photos – they take up space better used by recipes to my mind. I love cookbooks that changed the world – Eliza Acton, Joy of Cooking, Julia Child, Elizabeth David, Fergus Henderson, Adria and in an Irish context Darina. Eliza Acton was almost pristine when I found it in a jumble sale 50 years ago – now almost worthless with the pages glued together with al those years of cooking. Shelves and shelves and shelves of old regional recipes, charity fundraising collections, outrageous memoirs, food culture – do you know that in Oklahoma every woman has her own recipe for tabbouleh? love to know why things like that happen

  • The Rebel Kitchen

    Myrtle Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookbook is a great reference point! My parent’s copy is battered with notes penciled in everywhere and cut out recipes from newspapers and magazine slotted in at different chapters… A sign of a good cookbook!

    • Wholesome Ireland

      It really is the sign of a good cookbook isn’t it? The battered, the better for me! I’ve been known to do a happy dance when I get home and open a car-booted book to find notes written on them!

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