As readers by now know, this blog is a joint effort of a geographer and a librarian. It is a dialectic between exploration and organization in which the quest for the new is dominant. But without some semblance of order, the recipes we love so much would never be found. And though our collection of cookbooks is large and growing, it behooves us from time to time to reign it in. During this winter break, we (mostly Pam) did just that. The result is a rather less jumbly couple of shelves, south of the oven, north of the microwave, and under the bread machine.
We purged a few books, mostly those that rely heavily on branded products ("box" foods) that are increasingly scarce in our kitchen. In a few cases, we kept books from which we have never cooked, since redeeming such treasures is a major goal of this blog. Others we discarded even though we had used them a lot, since their use is far in our graduate-school past. The large green volumes on the bottom shelf are scrapbook-style binders containing many individual recipes from various sources, mainly newspapers and the sides of boxes. Pam has labeled them with some very broad categories; as we hunt for reliable favorites (such as my crepe recipe), we like encountering other unused or underused surprises.
The one knick-knack on these shelves warrants explanation. It is a ceramic porrón, which is a kind of wine pitcher common in Spain. This is one of two we were given as both a memento and essential piece of equipment during a night of following minstrels through the streets and tunnels of Guanajuato during our 1989 summer tour of Mexico.