Saturday, June 6, 2009

My kitchen library

I've talked a bit in the past about my extensive cookbook collection.  Okay, mostly I've talked about the additions that I've been making to it. =)  When we moved into our house (going on eight years ago), we put a bookcase in the kitchen to hold my cooking and baking books.  I figured I had plenty of room for growth.  (The computer is in the kitchen as well--I've got a great set-up!)  But I've been acquiring new books faster than I expected, and for a while now space has been getting a bit tight.  In fact, even though I weeded out some books that I don't use much, the bookcase got to be completely full, with books stacked on top of books and more on the floor.  See:

Yes, this is just the cookbooks.

I've wanted to do something about the cramped conditions in my library for a while now.  I've been scouting out options, and found something at IKEA that I thought would work nicely.  And a couple weekends ago, we finally bought it!  We brought everything home (we got some other storage stuff while we were at it) and being of sound mind (mostly), waited until the girls were in bed to start putting things together.  I have to say, I've put together quite a few bookcases in my time, and this one was probably the easiest I've ever assembled.  

We only ran into one problem.  I measured the space where the old bookcase was, to make sure the new one would fit.  And it would have, as far as height and width were concerned.  But I didn't realize that the new one was much deeper than the old one, and it blocked the access to the bathroom off the kitchen.  After putting our heads together, Jamie and I decided that it would work better in the living room.  So we moved the new one over there (not far) and put the old empty bookcase back in its original spot.

We were too tired that night to actually transfer the books, so that had to wait for the next day.  My kitchen table looked pretty interesting for a bit:

Jamie was at work (morning of Memorial Day), so Brianna and Gillian helped me move the books over to their new location.  It took me a little while to decide how to arrange things and how to adjust the shelf heights, but when we were done we had this:

How cool is that?!  I was able to fit everything into the new bookcase and still have some room left for growth.  I actually put stuff in there that I'd weeded out of the old one due to lack of space.  For now at least, I figure I have the space, so why not just keep them out.  The left side is mainly baking and the right side is mainly cooking. 

Here's a closer look at the baking shelves.  On top are the smaller books which are mainly collections of food essays, rather than regular cookbooks:  

Then we have books from Dorie Greenspan, King Arthur Flour, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and my other bread books:

Next we have chocolate, cakes, and other pastry books from the likes of Alice Medrich, Sherry Yard, and the CIA:

And at the bottom are the more scientific books, from America's Test Kitchen, Alton Brown, Shirley Corriher, and Harold McGee:

So the only question left is, what did I do with the old bookcase?  Well, when we moved into this house, I also thought it would take a really long time to fill up my kitchen cabinets.  But with all the baking I've been doing for the last year and a half, I've managed to acquire a few new pieces of bakeware along with my cookbooks. =)  So I've decided to put some of them on display, along with some of the dishes I use for taking blog pictures: 

Hopefully this will hold me for a while! =)


  1. I bet it's not long before they are both overflowing!
    Congrats on the new shelf, we have many, many books in common.

  2. Me, too (books in common!) except mine aren't so beautifully organized!) I hope you enjoy your new library...and I love your baking pan display.

  3. Great job! I love looking at other peoples' cookbooks - it's like a little bonding moment every time I see a book I have, too! Your new bookcase is great. I need to do some reorganizing, too. I've got books we inherited from my late mother-in-law, and my late grandmother, plus books my mother has weeded out from HER overflowing stash over the years. I've got mine roughly divided up like yours, too, as far as baking vs. cooking goes. I'm feeling a little inspired as I look at your nice, neat library! Oh - and the other bookcase, with all your bakeware - that's lovely!! What a nice idea!

  4. Well, I love how you ended up utilizing that shelf in the kitchen. Some things should be on display and you did a great job. And all of those books!! I'm a little bit jealous. I'm running out of space myself!

  5. Oh my goodness! You have one mighty collection!! The new bookshelf looks great.

  6. I am so envious of your books...they look lovely. We don't get a very wide selection of baking books here. good for you!!

  7. Oh, this was fun...what a brave woman you are to show before, during, and after. I would have skipped to the after...LOL. I need to get mine organized in some other fashion than "Books I use every day, books I used every week, books I use every month, books I have but have never used"...LOL. Your system sounds much better. Great job getting that all together and ROOM FOR GROWTH! Yeah for that!

  8. Oh wow, I absolutely love this post!! I have way too many cookbooks and no where to store them. Maybe I can talk my hubs into a kitchen bookcase :) You have a great cookbook collection!

  9. What fun! First I got to read about the IKEA trip + shelves in real time via Twitter, and now I see the whole picture. My cookbooks are nowhere near as organized, but with the new shelves we're building, I'm hopeful! Love your bakeware + photo prop shelves - everything is so handy you can just grab and go.

  10. Yep. Added about 60 square feet to my kitchen and still don't have enuff room for it all. Love your baking goodie display.

  11. Your tarts look great! Everyone's scalloped edges look soooo pretty but that caramel-y goodness on yours is gorgeous!

  12. Congratulations! It always makes it feel like home when you dig in and organize. I love that about summer too. You are an inspiration!