How to Edit Your Cookbook Collection

Is your cookbook collection starting to take over valuable real estate in your kitchen? If so, donate or re-gift some of your lesser-loved volumes. Here are 5 rules for deciding what should stay and what should go.

Photo: Thomas Bethge -

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If your ever-growing cookbook collection is starting to take over valuable real estate in your kitchen, perhaps it’s time you spend an hour or so weeding through it. Take some time to donate or re-gift some of your lesser-loved volumes—as long as the pages aren’t stuck together. Since parting can be such sweet sorrow, here are 5 tough-love rules for how to edit your cookbook collection:

1. Many of the recipes include a key ingredient that’s no longer in your diet, such as meat, fish, dairy, gluten, or other “taboo” ingredient that you are currently avoiding.

2. If it’s available as an e-cookbook for a few easy clicks and less than the price of a cocktail, say sayonara to sticky pages and hello to the digital age.

3. You fell in love with the restaurant and left with the cookbook, but the one recipe you tried cost you more in ingredients than your restaurant bill.

4. The recipes send you on a scavenger hunt for hard-to-source ingredients. If you have to go to more than two locations to find all the ingredients, it’s probably not worth the carbon emissions, or the hassle.

5. The recipes require cooking gear that you have no intention of ever owning, such as an ice-cream maker, pasta press, or a dehydrator. If the tool isn’t currently on your holiday wish list, toss it.

How do you decide which cookbooks should stay and which should go? Share in the comments below.