Where do you keep your cookbooks?

andreak100April 6, 2013

So, I have a crazy collection of them (I suspect that many of us do...or at least I hope) and would love to see where everyone puts them. I wanted to have an open shelf area for the new kitchen, but DH nixed the idea...he thinks it looks messy. Granted, some of my cookbooks are rather "well loved" and some of them are magazines also, so he may have a point.

Where are yours and what do you like/dislike about where they are stored.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

AndreaK -

I tend to use on-line recipes these days so last year as a lead up to my kitchen renovation, I sifted through all of my recipe books and made a photocopy of my favorite recipes and have them stored in my "big black recipe binder" (I make a note on each recipe when I make it and how many stars it receives from the eaters so it was easy to sort through my books). I then gave away or donated most of my books!

The only books that remain in my kitchen are those that I have used extensively (in other words, I would have had to photocopy most of the book) or received as a gift and feel obligated (at least for now) to keep. I have these books - along with my "big black binder" - stashed away in an upper-cabinet (18 inch wide) so I no longer have to dust them!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ah, and there is the rub about getting rid of some of the cookbooks...many of my cookbooks were gifts from my mom...who often wrote something on the inside of the cover. They are something that I couldn't easily part with.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I planned for most of mine to be stored just outside the kitchen proper.

I have a small upper drawer next to the fridge for all my frequently used loose paper recipes. One day, I will organize them into a binder. I also planned to store a couple here on these shelves above the espresso machine:

but as you can see I decided for more decorative items there instead as the corner shelves aren't quickly and easily accessible. I still have overflow of a few dozen lesser used books with which I cannot part that I store in the office book shelves. Every once in a while I go though them intending to donate or give away some, but can't seem to get anywhere with that.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Holly- Kay

Andrea your books from your mom will be something you treasure always. We have a book room off of our kitchen. There is a wall of cabinetry and shelving. I keep my books on the shelf closest to the kitchen. I do many of my recipes on line as well. Never give up the books that you treasure.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Holly- Kay

Here is a picture of the part of our shelving that is closest to the kitchen. Excuse the mess. The two lower shelves on the right that are pictured have my cookbooks. Most of them passed down to me by my mom.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Holly- Kay

Whoops the picture must not have loaded.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

I have a couple of open upper shelves, similar to breezy's, with my most used cookbooks. The remainder are under the counter. In this picture you can see that the two that were in the worst condition were given new covers made of wallpaper scraps (the same checked wallpaper that was used to line my shelves.)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are on the top shelf our our pantry - I use them less than in the past, so didn't need in the kitchen proper.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I keep my most often used books right on the counter, and my less-often used ones on an upper shelf in the pantry.

The ones I hardly ever use are in my glass-fronted cabs. You can't see them, but they're being used to prop up dishes, etc. on display. This way the sentimental ones that I never cook from are still put so good use :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I keep mine in my pantry and less used books in the basement.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

The end of our island faces the desk area in our kitchen and the cookbooks are stored there...very convenient for use either at the desk or the island. I also put an outlet on the inside of the bookcase which I use for charging cell phones and such.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also have a "crazy collection" of books and love them as decoration. I didn't build cookbook storage into the kitchen because I have two walls of book storage in the dining room, and now I wish I had. So no pictures to post that would help. I did move in a short wicker bookcase that holds a few dozen, and others are in a sideboard hutch in my sitting room by the kitchen.

My book storage used to look a lot like Holly-Kay's charming wall (hutch still does), but I had to do something else as the amount of wall covered expanded. My big bookshelves always look tidy now (just in case it's part of what your DH doesn't like) because I fill the shelves entirely, or almost, with books, standing them vertically so they don't sag in all directions. Crisp, tidy, like some of the pictures shown. Since they're in the main, walk-through center of the house, now and then I nudge their front edges in line.

Your hard-loved ones could be hidden behind new covers, as shown or in a drawer, or or how about putting them behind glass doors, like those in my hutch? Somehow it's an entirely different look, and would provide some desirable protection to your books over the years.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you so much, everyone. Some lovely storage ideas from each of you.

Holly - it seems like you understand entirely about the "treasures" from your mom's cookbooks and why I'll be unlikely to give them up...some of them I've probably never made a recipe from...but it has her writing in it and I know that someday I won't be so lucky to have her. Somewhere my mom has a few handwritten recipes from my grandmother that I really need to get her to find so I can scan them/make copies of them...some are on paper over 50 years old.

I think it's a loosing battle with having the books out. DH just doesn't like...he'll admit he's a little on the OCD side and sometimes lack of symmetry seems to get to him - I think that's really the issue as I think about it more. The various covers, colors, and sizes are likely what he sees as "disorganized" even if they would be well lined up.

Personally, I have always loved going into a person's home and seeing a well stocked bookcase - cookbooks or otherwise. However, I suspect that same thing may give my DH nightmares!

As I'm thinking more, I think that I may have to resort to putting them in an enclosed upper cabinet. Which means that I need to revisit my proposed layout/areas for places to live.

And on a similar tangent....I wonder now with so many of us going to iPads and online for our recipes rather than physical cookbooks and handwritten cards...what is going to happen to the individual recipe cards that have been used and passed down...the ones with the stains and spills that remind you that these are recipes that have been in the family and handed down. I'm feeling rather nostalgic tonight, I suppose.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like to see my cookbooks so my plans are to have open shelves in the top of a tall sideways cab next to the fridge. Currently I have them in a shallow built in shelf in my butlers pantry.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a small galley kitchen so I'm planning toe kick drawers for mine.I'll have them close but out of sight as my DH did not want them on a shelf either.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good point about the iPads and such being used for recipes now. I thought about that myself after posting today. I definitely use my ipad often for recipes in the kitchen. It becomes harder for me when I'm making a meal using three recipes. In that case, I find it handy to have at least one printed out so I can glance at the individual recipes easily and stay organized. I like having the marinara recipe on the counter next to the stock pot on the rangetop with the necessary prepped mise en place bowls ready to go there while I look at the cookie recipe over in the baking zone. Etcetera. Also, to me, having to flip back and forth between open Internet windows with recipes is a bit cumbersome with the pages refreshing.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mine are all out, I love it. Very convenient too.....

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Always love seeing books out and displayed, pirula love your setup especially.

We have two matching bookshelves flanking a desk in the kitchen. The right side we use mainly for cookbook storage. We also keep our phone and answering machine, keys, and change jar here. I've allocated two narrow upper shelves for DH's miscellany.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a lot of them, although they do get culled occasionally. Cookbooks and kid books are the only ones we buy anymore, but I still love a good cookbook, especially for baking.

Contemporary Kitchen

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing I wanted with our remodel was convenient storage of my cookbooks, as they were previously scattered all over the place in the house. I don't have a ton of them, but some (like others have mentioned) are from my mother, grandmother, and even one handwritten one from my great-grandmother. And I also have two recipe boxes full of recipe cards, one that my Dad made for my mother where he carved her initials into the top. Anyway, the ones I use most frequently are at the end of the island:

And the others in the adjacent peninsula:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This house has always been filled with visible bookshelves, so it's natural that there'd be some in the kitchen. We had some low ones built onto the wall where my mother had the washer & dryer (which we moved out to the enclosed back porch).

My fifty most-used cookbooks are there (in the center sections); the rest of the books are nature/gardening. Another 75 or so cookbooks, many of them my parents', are in the sitting room next to the kitchen.

Dang. Need batteries; picture later.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Books = richness and possibilities. They all look so wonderful. Pirula's are what I should have built in. I love that kitchen from every angle.

Regarding all those recipe cards, we bought an old vacation place that came with a decades-long collection. Their elderly snowbirder apparently didn't realize her last visit would be the last and left them behind. I haven't rushed to explore them yet (heavily 50s-80s era), but I can't just throw them out either, so they've joined my MIL's, which I have mined extensively, tucked behind the cookbooks. For another generation to deal with, perhaps, but if someone knows of a graduate student who's researching them for a dissertation, or some such, let me know. :)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For all here who'd like to use their existing cookbooks more, and/or be able to integrate online, magazine, personal index card, and cookbook recipes:

Consider trying out the site Eat Your Books (dot com). It indexes ingredients (not the quantities or the directions; it's assumed you have access to the recipes) for close to 4000 cookbooks, 65 blogs, more than a thousand magazine issues (including all of the Cook's Illustrated/ATK output), and almost 100,000 online recipes (on top of those in the indexed blogs).

Indexing is ongoing, so the collection of resources just keeps growing: Members index their clipped online recipes, magazines, and cookbooks, which then become available to all members; they can also add personal recipes. Staff keep up with new cookbook releases, and review member indexing. You can join for free with no time limit with a maximum of five of your cookbooks to see how useful you find it.

I have no financial stake in the site, I'm just a grateful and evangelizing member. It's transformed my cooking and my relationship to my own cookbooks, those at the library and on friends' shelves, and those on bookstore shelves (my growing wishlist!).

Here is a link that might be useful: Eat Your Books - recipe indexing site

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

RIght now my cookbooks are stored in the adjacent office. This is just an okay choice.

When we build our new house, we will have two shelves above the workspace in our pantry for cookbook storage. This'll put them closer to our kitchen workspace.

I have so many cookbooks. I need to go through them, copy the recipes from the ones that're rarely used . . . and give some away to the Salvation Army.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Similar to others, ours are all out on open bookshelf (with mix of kids' books on the bottom two shelves), which is an overall theme in our book-loving home:

They used to be in an upper cupboard which I really disliked. I love how easy it is to access them on the open shelves. It was also a nice alternative to fridge being flanked by a wood panel. I wanted a more open feel. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's a little deeper than I wanted, so it's hard to see all of them, but I had the cabinet maker save me some space. He suggested turning it so that the opening is on the side, which I like a lot. I've got messy cookbooks.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Holly- Kay

I love to see other members who treasure books as much as we do. Along with our room that is one wall of cabinets and shelving my home office has a bookshelf brimming with books including children's books that I keep here for our grandsons. I have books stacked beside my chair, Hubby's are on the coffee table. I have books on my nightstand, I have a Kindle in my purse and one on my nightstand! I so wish I had room in my kitchen for a bookcase also!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get many recipes online and I am no longer buying so many new cookbooks. But I intend to keep most of the ones I have. With online recipes, it is sort of hit-and-miss as they are not as carefully chosen and tested as the ones in good cookbooks, IMHO.

For cookbooks I use often, I designated one pantry shelf which has its own doors so I don't get food all over the books. The others will stay in a built-in bookcase in the LR right next to the kitchen. The kitchen is not finished yet, I'll see how well it works.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those wonderful stained well-used recipe cards that we love can be preserved by taking a photo of them with the iPad, then just enlarging to read.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

smiling - that's a good point, and of course they can...it's just not the same as holding it in my hands and knowing that the card belonged to the grandmother that died before I got to meet her. I am a sentimentalist, no doubt. And, I don't deny that in terms of having a backup, what you suggested is a fantastic thing to do. I encourage that.

Perhaps some of this stems from being a professional photographer and seeing how many of my clients who "only want the files" do nothing with their images. And then for some, technology has changed since they got the images...and now, they are scrambling. It stems from me talking to some of my couples who are now having children of their own and are recognizing that their parent's wedding album is a treasure they don't have for themselves or for future generations.

Which also leads me to - for those of you who choose an electronic medium to store images...make a back up copy or that electronic medium. And KEEP A COPY SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN YOUR HOME in case of robbery or natural disaster. As a photographer, I have two automatic backups, one is an onsite raid system and another feeds through the internet. My third backup is only for images (not files, etc.) and is triggered manually, so it's not as foolproof.

Never-the-less, after that sideways jaunt I took us on, returning back to the issue at hand...there's something good, solid, and grounding about holding something that a relative once used and creating something they once did. And you just don't quite get that with an iPad.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I second Ellabee's suggestion to look into Eat Your Books (dot com). I am a charter member and a "cookbookaholic". I have collected cookbooks for over 50 years and read them like novels. Especially ones written by chefs that I have met through business. Now when I am trying to remember which book a certain recipe is "hiding" in...I just check out Eat and voila there it is!

I confess that I have even picked up cookbooks at our island's "Take it or Leave it" section at the dump. Those cookbooks are often compilations from Junior Leagues, church groups, fund raisers - like the Fine Arts Museum in Boston, etc.- where the person who donated the recipe also included his or her name- In my view- one does not put a name in with a recipe unless it is a keeper! So now... these books have also made it into my ever growing collection of cookbooks.

To answer your question- where do I keep them: Most used ones: in the Kitchen on 3 or 4 metro shelves; next best used: office bookcases near my desk; showcase cookbooks: in the built-in bookshelves in the living room and least used/holiday ones: in a bookshelf in the guest room....do you think I am running out of room??? ...There is always room for one more!

We are all on recipe overload with the bounty available on the internet and in all the shelter & cooking magazines...but there is nothing better than reading an old, stained recipe in a well loved cookbook and remembering .......... and then making it all over again!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 5-6 frequently used cookbooks displayed on my counter in a deep corner with bookends. The covers coordinate with my kitchen :).

I store others in a couple of stacked vintage picnic baskets in the dining room next to my kitchen (the woven type with flat wooden slat tops).

My favorite cookbooks are those that were compiled by local civic groups and churches for fund-raisers. I live in a small rural town where everyone knows everyone and I love the recipes that are shared by the older generation. I make a jam cake that was in one of the older cookbooks submitted by my DIL's grandmother. She loves that I still make that cake. My butterscotch pie recipe was submitted by an older lady that lived down the road from me most of her life. It calls for butter "the size of a walnut". Love that recipe. Both these ladies have passed away.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a book rack on the side of my fridge. Not enough room for actual shelves, so this is great. The only negative is that it is already full. My mother recently died, and I know that any of her probably close to 100 cookbooks are mine if I want them . . . and how could I not want them?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Controlfreak--so clever, and looks great! Sorry for the recent loss of your mom :(

I'm sure you'll treasure her cookbooks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ControlFreaks - I am sorry about your loss - the cookbooks will be a wonderful memory of your mom.
God Bless.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My condolences and empathy controlfraks. I lost my mother in 97, and have several of her books. There are many more my father won't part with yet, but one day they'll be mine too. Hopefully not for a thousand years.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I brutally edit the cookbook collection, and like to keep them near the kitchen table for browsing. The rest are on-line.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

should also say that one of the baskets under the counter holds recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers that look interesting: I cut it out and toss it in the basket, then if I make the recipe and like it that clipping "graduates" to another file on another shelf in the kitchen, sorted according to courses. If I keep clippings for a couple of years and never getting around to making them, then I throw them out.

My theory is that too much choice creates agita. Epicurious has a very nice app that I use in the market when I notice some luscious-looking produce and need inspiration for what to do with it. There must be a million of these sorts of apps by now.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our house came with built-in bookcases in the den, which is around the corner from the kitchen. Three shelves are mine( for cookbooks, gardening books, books by Miss Manners, and assorted biographies of Jane Austen. My fiction, like that of my DH, is on the bookshelves in the basement). Since our house is small, it is no problem to walk a few feet to get a cookbook from the den. I also keep some old Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines, with special recipes marked, in the cupboard under the bookcases. I still use a lot of my cookbooks, even though I look online, too.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have an old lectern with shelves underneath it. I keep it in the dining room, just next to the kitchen. It is very handy, as it holds 20-30 cookbooks, and also gives a nice surface to set it out and read.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mine will be kept in the cabinet on the side of the refrigerator. About 2' wide by 8' high. Doors will added.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:55PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
KitchenAid Mixer - Sea glass or azure blue
I'm having a tough time deciding between the Sea glass...
Has anyone heard of/used Hominter?
Our new house build is proceeding and while we haven't...
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
Week 41: As we head into spring, what would you do to make space?
Tomorrow is March 1st. We can really, no longer say...
Barker cabinets?
So who has Barker cabinets and would be willing to...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™