2015 Cookbook Challenge

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. I collect cookbooks. 


It all started with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook that I received from my parents for Christmas in 1993, and has just continued to grow over the years. I’ve bought some, received some as gifts, and since starting the blog, I’ve also been receiving cookbooks to review. Needless to say, the collection continues to grow, with no real end in site. One time, when I was moving from Victoria back home to Vancouver, I thought I should cull through them and get rid of any I no longer use or don’t enjoy. I maybe got rid of 10 or so, but those were quickly replaced with many more.


My cookbook collection spans the culinary gamut – from raw vegan to BBQ meats, juices to desserts, celebrity chefs to local restaurants. I have antique cookbooks with hilariously narratives, retro cookbooks with questionable jellied delights, and hipster cookbooks featuring trendy foods like kale and fermented foods. I’m fairly certain I could cook any cuisine at any time with the collection of recipes I currently have, other than maybe some African/Middle Eastern cuisines (perhaps those need to be my next acquisitions?)


Here’s the thing – I have cookbooks I’ve never used. I have some I’ve browsed and been inspired by, but never actually tried a recipe. And I have some I have definitely only scratched the surface on. Come the new year, I always think I should make a resolution to cook from my collection more. So far, it hasn’t come to fruition. But I was chatting with a fellow dietitian one day, and she was telling me that she was doing a cookbook challenge – turns out she has more cookbooks than I do (what?!), and had made a challenge to cook at least 1 thing from each book over the course of 12 months. I thought hey, I could do this. So I’m announcing it here to all of my blog readers – 2015 is the year I attempt the Cookbook Challenge!

What does this mean? Well, I did a count, and determined that I have 73 cookbook primary books (I have more food books with recipes, but that I won’t classify as cookbooks for the sake of this challenge). I am also excluding my non-pictured collection of food magazines from the challenge, so as not to be overwhelmed. I am challenging myself to cook at least 1 recipe from each cookbook over the course of 2015 – and since we are already 2.5 weeks in, I might allow myself a couple extra weeks in 2016 to complete it. Based on those calculations, I need to make approximately 6 recipes per month to reach my goal. That doesn’t sound too unmanageable, but still sounds challenging. I’m not going to force myself to try complicated or expensive recipes if I don’t want to, but I would like to try making a few things I’ve never done, such as:

  • sourdough bread from my own starter
  • traditional pho (Vietnamese beef soup)
  • soufflé
  • homemade marshmallows

And lucky you – I’m going to document my 2015 Cookbook Challenge here on the blog. I think I might do this in monthly instalments, unless I have a recipe or experience that I think deserves it’s own stand alone post. I’m hoping this doesn’t cut in to my own recipe creation to much, and instead enhances it. I think it will also make me take a critical look at my collection, and determine if every cookbook is even worth keeping. Anything I decide isn’t, I will donate to a local thrift shop.

I’m looking forward to having some fun culinary adventures in my kitchen this year, and I hope they are fun for you too. Now I must go and start organizing my books, otherwise this challenge isn’t going to get off the ground! Wish me luck!

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Categories: Announcement, Baking, Beverage, Books/Cookbooks, Breakfast, Brunch, Challenge, Cookbook, Dessert, Dinner, Drink, Lunch, Recipe, Snack


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3 Comments on “2015 Cookbook Challenge”

  1. January 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    Love this idea!!! I’m looking forward to seeing what you cook up!!! 🙂

    Also, I had no idea you had SO many cookbooks!!! It’s a good thing your last two places have had so much space!


  1. 2015 Cookbook Challenge – Part 1 | french fries to flax seeds - March 1, 2015

    […] to the first instalment of the 2015 Cookbook Challenge. You may remember that back on January 17th I announced that I was going to undertake a cookbook challenge this year, to get myself using my […]

  2. 2015 Cookbook Challenge – Part 2 | french fries to flax seeds - May 22, 2015

    […] back at the beginning of the year when I said I was going to challenge myself to cook from all of my cookbooks throughout 2015? And I was going to post monthly updates on how that was going? Yeah…seems that I’ve kind of […]

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