1. Total number of books I've owned.
Currently we have about 120, 90% of them are either mine or we've acquired as a couple. I know, that's a lot...too many, really. And there are more kicking around my parents' place. But I'm a bit obsessed with cookbooks. That's what I collect. And I've read most of them cover to cover. Pictures are a bonus but I'd much rather have a cookbook that is well written and typeset and whose recipes actually make sense and work. Other than baking or canning, I don't often follow recipes. I just get inspiration from them. We also have a pile of food related books..history, travel, culture, literature, biographies, memoires, technical...
2. Last book I bought.
I can't remember what I actually bought myself but Roland picked up a pile for me from Powell's the last time he was in Portland. Those included some older Donna Hay books and an interesting one on the history of tea.
3. The last book I read.
World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey. We're by no means vegetarian (have I mentioned that we have an 18 month old carnivore?) but I love the diversity of the recipes and like how the book has recipes for one particular ingredient cooked in several different ways. The side by side comparisons are interesting.
I'm also going through cookbooks with cookie recipes to plan for Christmas baking. I'm currently looking through Nick Malgieri's Cookies Unlimited.
4. Five books that mean a lot to me.
A Guide to Good Cooking with Five Roses Flour, 20th Edition (1962)
This was the first cookbook I used as a kid. We had this around the house and I begged my folks or other adults to help me read the recipes and cook something. I remember daydreaming about making the lovely fondant covered petit fours. I made them and they certainly didn't look like the photo but boy was I proud of them! I love the old fashioned recipes and the retro photos. It's completely dog-eared and the cover is almost ripped off but I still use a couple of recipes from it. It's a Canadian household icon.
Many Friends Cooking: An International Cookbook for Boys and Girls by Terry Touff Cooper and Marilyn Ratner
I got this cookbook in elementary school for being a member of the Library Club. I realize that it's one of the books that embodies what I love about cookbooks: thorough background information, helpful tips, glossary, handy tools, beautiful illustrations, good layout. And the book features a broad range of international recipes and explanations of eating customs around the world. I think it got me hooked on being curious and adventurous with foods from different cultures. This'll be a good one to pass on to Junior.
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
This book has baked many a cake including our (and a number of others) wedding cake. The explanations of the chemical reactions are geeky but I like that kind of stuff. There are lots of interesting facts and helpful tips.
From the Market to the Table: Recipes from the Centrale Market by Judy Witts Francini
We got this one on our honeymoon when we spent the day shopping and cooking with Judy Witts of Divina Cucina in Florence. It's a little spiral bound, photocopied, handwritten book chocked full of recipes that are typical of that area of Tuscany and really celebrates eating seasonally. It's a fun little book...hand drawn diagrams, scribbled add-ins by Judy, lists of trattorias and vinaio. This is a keepsake that reminds me of the glorious day we spent shopping, sampling, cooking, eating, drinking...
Books by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. We have all four of them and eagerly await their fifth, Mangoes and Curry Leaves. Their books are gorgeous--beautiful photography, beautiful layout and typography. They are wonderful raconteurs--their stories and their adventures are vividly told and I love the tone of the recipes and stories. Their travels make me long to just pick up and go, and eat around the world. I love the diversity of the recipes. And they actually work well.
5. Which five people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
Hmm...I don't have much time to check out a lot of blogs. The people I can think of have already been mentioned. There are lots of interesting local food people out there that I would love to see blog...John Bishop, Angela Murrills, Stephen Wong...