I was thinking about this question as I contemplated my Sunday baking and cooking needs, which this week was a bit of an experiment because there were vegetables to use up.
Now, my cookbook collection is reasonably large (even after a clearout ready for the Great Vale Charity Cookbook Swap), and I think every book that’s now on the shelf I’ve cooked from at least once. And I’ve had a good read through all of them, so I’ve got a reasonable idea of what’s in them.
Some I turn to time and time again, but if I’m honest, it’s probably the baking ones that are most well used. Short & Sweet and Domestic Goddess are well used, with quite a few pages sticking together. Ottolenghi is well used, and my love of Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible is well documented.
Maybe it’s a bit how the mood taks me, but when I have an ingredient that I want to use then I find myself often just putting that term into Pinterest and seeing what it throws out. I’ve got quite a few boards, so I could look for something that I’ve seen in the past or something new. Today it was all about butternut squash. It’s not as though I haven’t cooked with it before, but I fancied something different.
Searching just on butternut squash brought up everything from them stuffed in pasta shells with browned sage butter through to a butternut squash bread, and even a guide entitled “stop, you’ve been cutting butternut squash all wrong!”. Who knew? But I could know now, if I wanted to.
I’d already pinned a squash and tahini spread, which I must make another day, croquettes, an Indian spiced slow cooked recipe, so definitely variety. In the end I made a slow cooker thai-inspired butternut squash and peanut soup. Now, maybe I do have something similar in one of my books, but I don’t think so. And when you want to cook from a particular ingredient then it’s quick and easy to suddenly have a massive resource at your fingertips.
I know the web has given us that possibility anyway for years, but Pinterest just seems to make it more manageable, perhaps because it’s so visual, but also because it’s so varied. Every cuisine is there, without me having to search by cuisine. Maybe that’s what I like, the element of surprise, things I’ve not come across before, and things I might not buy a book devoted to.
Who knows? I think it’s a bit early to call time on my book collection, but I love it as a supplement to them. What about you? Love or hate? Use it or ignore it?