My baby turned one yesterday. This means that she can now smear bits of her own birthday cake everywhere, and that she crawls with the speed of lightning. So we´d either have to watch her like hawks, or else take away most of the stuff in danger of toppling off onto her head.
Everything not strictly useful has been boarded up and carted away, and that includes my embarrassingly large cookbook collection. At first I was puritanical and fierce, and tought I´d only keep Nigella´s How to... books and my own notebooks.
Then I decided The improvisational cook could stay, too. And I´d probably need an all-purpose reference, so out came The Ballymaloe Cookery school book. By then my will had snapped, and I started to make little piles of survivors.
My rule: only stuff I really cook from. No fascinating but intimidating ethnic foods, no pretty but vague stuff, nothing too new, nothing too big.
Lindsey Bareham´s paperbacks, Nigel Slater´s Real fast food, Nina Simmond´s Noodles. For times when I want an exotic change of pace, Flatbreads and flavours. And Claudia Roden, of course. Imagine putting her in a box! No American baking books because of the meassurements, but the Barefoot Contessa stays because she´s just so friendly. Likewise The breakfast book, and The Joy of Cooking, which I would have packed up, but it turned out to have been propping up a lame chair and I only found it after the move, so it´s been allowed to stay.
My kitchen is still more full of books than most, but I feel virtous and monastic, and I´m looking at this select few with a new, loving eye, that promises happy hours spent with them.
We leave today for the beach and will be back around the 20th, so posting will probably be slacker than usual.