The Thrill of the Hunt Never Goes Away

After years and years of collecting cookbooks, I still love finding new cookbooks to add to my 1,500-cookbook collection.  Over the years, I have collected just about every type of cookbook you can imagine:  from the Time Life series that was popular in the 60’s to hilariously-titled books like Cooking in the Nude (I kid you not).

And although I have collected books from all over the place, Arc’s Value Village is one of my favorites, not just because of the fabulous prices but because of “the finds.”  “The finds” are the fun cookbooks that I’d normally have to hunt high and low for and yet time after time, store after store, there they are, just waiting for me to buy them. To date, approximately 130 of my 1,500 books are from Arc’s Value Village with more undoubtedly to follow.

My most recent foray into Value Village was this past weekend at the Richfield store.  My six cookbooks totaled a “whopping” $7.49 and honestly, if the money wasn’t going to a fabulous cause, I think I’d feel more than a little guilty at getting such great finds for such low, low prices.

So let’s look at what this shopping excursion yielded:  The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook ($.45 on a pink tag special) (I loved the Anne of Green Gables series); McCall’s Introduction to British Cooking; Ida Bailey Allen’s Cook Book for Two (for those in the know, Ida Bailey Allen was a big name in the 50’s); Elegant Meals; Good Housekeeping Appetizers and Andalusian Cooking featuring favorite food from Spain.

Why those books, you ask?  Well, why not?!  Some people only collect new editions or recent releases by famous chefs, and while I have found some of those books at bargain prices, I am always on the look-out for unique books that enhance my collection and/or serve a purpose:  the Good Housekeeping Appetizers book is useful for party planning.  Ida Bailey Allen’s book joins Ida Bailey Allen’s Step-by-Step Picture Cookbook and Andalusian Cooking and (McCall’s) book on British Cooking adds to my long list of foreign (foods) cookbooks.  In fact, a recent trip to Value Village yielded two Filipino Cookbooks containing recipes from a cooking contest – Maya Cookfest.  Each book (The Best of the Maya Cookfest I and II) sold for $.99.

Given all my cookbooks, you may be surprised to learn that my favorite cookbook is from our very own Lucia Watson, chef owner of the eponymous Lucia’s in the Uptown.  Lucia’s book, Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland, is one of my best-loved and most-used books (with stains to prove it—shame on me!) and is one of only four cookbooks to hold a place of honor in my kitchen: all other books are relegated to my very large hallway and to my front porch.  Lucia’s (and co-author Beth Dooley) recipes are all simple to make and yummy as well.  And although I did not purchase my copy (a first edition) at Value Village, I have seen them pop up from time to time so don’t delay, shop today!

With all this shopping, people often ask me if I cook from the books in my collection and the answer is yes!  But it wasn’t like that.  For years, I used to buy and read and store my finds but since 2006, I have been selecting one book about every week or so and one recipe from that book to make and then have been blogging about the book (and more) on my blog, Collectible  (For all Value Village books I’ve used so far, click on the Label: Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores)  Of course, recipe results are not guaranteed but that’s the chance one takes.  For me, it’s all about the hunt and the uniqueness of the book itself and less about the actual recipes.

And speaking of recipes, for most people, just reading about a recipe makes them hungry.  For me, it makes me want to shop ‘till I drop—at Arc’s Value Village, of course!


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