Culling of the cookery books

I've recently moved house and decided I need to rationalise the cookery book collection of several hundred. Why is it so very difficult! . I sat on the floor today and got totally lost in the memories of just about every book. My collection began in 1970. There are many many books that I have never cooked a recipe from, but they're fascinating to read. I'm not doing too well with the cull this evening!

Chef_cardiffgirl, Jun 9, 10:10 pm

I have the same affliction, although my collection is only about fifty. I have had to be very firm with myself and stop buying them. The thing is, I am not an adventurous cook - I don't even like cooking much. But like you, I love reading cookery books. I get inspired at the time but seldom follow through with trying new recipes. I should get rid of a few, but it's difficult.

Chef_letitia, Jun 10, 1:20 am

A couple of years ago I had a huge clear out! It WAS hard even though I hardly ever touched the 50 odd books I donated to the Salvation Army shop. I also had a massive clear out of all the exercise books full of recipes I had saved from magazines or printed off the internet. I still have way too many cookbooks. The ones I find hard to get rid of are the community type ones.

Chef_lynja, Jun 10, 6:43 am

I did this recently,kept all my newish ones Annabel Langbein,Jamie Oliver,Donna Hay etc threw out most of the old hardcovered ones that I had picked up from bookfairs and OpShops and never used and kept some small softcovered ones like Edmonds,Aunt Daisy and the fundraising ones as sometimes they have the best recipes.Also kept 2 large Alison Holst red and gold hardbacks as use recipes from those.I have a file of recipes from magazines etc.No longer buy new recipe magazines to keep as they soon add up and then I have to get rid of them.

Chef_priscilla2, Jun 10, 10:31 am

It's the magazines that I've a problem with. I have a few folders of recipes from here so I'm intending to go through the mags & any recipes I'd like to try will put them in the folders . one day ;o)

Chef_samanya, Jun 10, 11:58 am

Couldn't do it but anyone that can has my full admiration! (She says having just wasted rather a lot of time going through cookbooks that are falling apart from much pawing through over the years. I'm a hopeless case lol).

Chef_sampa, Jun 10, 12:18 pm

I cut recipes out of magazines but then seldom actually cook them. I have a small carton almost full of recipe cutting from 1975 when I was first married, plus many my mother saved before that. The intention has always been to try them and put the good ones into a folder. But I don't think - realistically - that's going to happen now. I too am a hopeless case, but it's good to know I'm not alone.

Chef_letitia, Jun 10, 2:34 pm

I saw someone on facebook saying on a popular NZ Cook's page how 'one day' they might be able to get their XX cookbook. I have it, and have never used it. So I sent her a PM and she responded with an addy - I am posting it to her this week. We have never met and never will, and she is not a friend or a friend of a friend. Just a random thing. I am happy the book (which is pretty much brand new) will be going to someone who will adore it, and use it.

Chef_awoftam, Jun 10, 2:39 pm

I threw some out years ago and have regretted it ever since. Some were a collection of Cordon bleu cookery course magazines, another had a recipe for an avocado cheesecake that was always a hit at parties, I have never found one as nice since. Along with a whole lot of doll making books. We burnt them. ouch!

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 10, 4:36 pm

You don't happen to have a rally cookbook mine is falling to bits. Thanks

Chef_pricilla, Jun 10, 4:49 pm

I have never heard of Rally cookbooks. if you google you might find one, I hope you do :-)

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 10, 4:59 pm

Here is the thing folks. Cookery books aren't just a source of recipes. They are a social history when it comes to the collectable older ones and those community compilations. If you're lucky enough to find one that was used well by a very good country cook for example with all the little notes written in, that's gold for collectors.

Chef_terraalba, Jun 10, 5:12 pm


My nieces have all got 'dibs' on some of mine (their name is written on the front). like they want them when I kark!
One of my Alison Holst books "Dollars & Sense" I think it is . just automatically opens at the Marg's flaky pastry recipe & a few of my old inherited cookbooks do the same . a mind of their own!
I have heaps & maybe I only use a few recipes from each, but can't bear to part with them. I'm lucky to have the space for storage,but if I didn't, I don't know what I'd do.

Chef_samanya, Jun 10, 5:35 pm

PS to above . I'd love elliehen's take on this . if you are reading ellie, I miss you, along with heaps of others who could learn from your experience & this thread would benefit from your input 100%. xoxox

Chef_samanya, Jun 10, 5:38 pm


I'm guessing this is a book put out by 'Every Girls Rally' which was like girl guides with quite a bit of Religious input. I went for several years in the early eighties. I never got a cook book though.

Chef_wendalls, Jun 10, 9:44 pm



I so agree with this.
I find that the books that I use the most are some of my oldest ones. Spines are a bit broken and they open on certain recipes, the pages have splatters on them and there are notes in the margins! . The books I have bought more recently are more read than used although I do use my Nigel Slater books quite a bit.
The first book that I bought and the one that taught me the basics is still on the kitchen shelf and still referred to, it has no cover and is a bit battered. I bought it in 1979 when I was living in London before I had any idea that I would one day be living in NZ. It's called " The Best of Bee Nilson" and is a penguin book ( no pictures). She was a New Zealander who did a Batchelor of Home Science at Otago before moving to the UK. I could never throw it away!

Chef_cardiffgirl, Jun 11, 12:42 am

I often write comments next to recipes, and hope that one day someone else will come upon these. I love it if I find an old cook book with little notes written beside recipes, and I wonder who the person was. The advertisements in some of the old fundraiser/community books are great to look at too. One observation is that most of these type of books do not have a date on them.

Chef_lynja, Jun 11, 6:38 am



I was thinking car rally's :)

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 7:56 am

RE the scraps of paper out of magazines, I have 3 folders that I have my fav's, sometimes use,and to try, I must although go through and re organize these. I should even start an new copy for my children more so my daughter who is now 19, that is always wanting to know how I did a recipe. Not that she cooks yet, but I feel once the studying comes to an end she may dabble in a few recipes. She has cooked a few recipes for the boyfriend. small steps.

My husband cannot work out why I will not throw out my collecting of good food magazines from the UK, but I do every now and then re read them, even though they are on line not all recipes are available.

Chef_ruby19, Jun 11, 9:07 am

pricilla - I have a Rally Cook Book, published by the New Zealand Every Boy's and Every Girl's Rallies. First printed 1979, eleventh printing 1982, over 83,000 copies in print. Has some good recipes in it, still used by me occasionally.

Chef_sooseque, Jun 11, 9:55 am

Chef_245sam, Jun 11, 11:04 am

In case anyone is interested, Harvey Norman have the kitchenaid hardcover recipe book on sale for $15. they didn't help my resolve. Usual price is $90 or something). (I went to buy a printer, which I did) ;)

I enjoy reading cookbooks (skim) just for ideas, and do try to find new recipes regularly, but admit to some favourites.

Chef_unknowndisorder, Jun 11, 12:47 pm

I have never seen them before. Books put out by a group, or organization are usually the best, I have just been given one put out by St Hilda's Dunedin. one of the nicest recipe books I've seen in a long while, I have already made the Farmhouse fruit cake, I'm rationing it out at lunch, so they don't go cutting off brick size chunks

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 12:47 pm



Where did you buy if from rain l guess it is not sold on here?
those books have great recipes in l love them

Chef_griffo4, Jun 11, 2:51 pm

It was given to me, but they have them at the school office

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 3:30 pm



I'd like to get one of those. My daughter is a St. Hilda's old girl

Chef_cardiffgirl, Jun 11, 4:51 pm

There's a lot of old girls recipes in the book cardiffgirl, and a few personalities as well. A great school fundraiser, I imagine it will sell fast, so be in!

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 4:55 pm

Will you post the Farmhouse Fruit Cake recipe please rainrain1. Thanks.

Chef_petmacorpltd, Jun 11, 5:34 pm

Could do tomorrow, you will have to hope I don't forget :-)

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 6:34 pm

I'm pleased to hear that I'm not the only one that has a liking for cookery books. I too have tried to cull my 40 odd year collection and like OP have spent hours doing it only to keep them all by packing some of the less used ones in a box and store them in the attic. I like to browse through the books I have for inspiration on can't be bothered cooking days. There are quite a few which are well used and as someone else said open at certain pages on their own, usually the dog eared stained ones. I also have notebooks with hand written recipes collected over the years, some of which have been handed down from my grandparents, parents and MIL. I have made notes against the recipes too for future reference. They will be given to my Granddaughter when she is older and hopefully interested in cooking.

Chef_nauru, Jun 11, 8:12 pm



Promise I won't forget though.

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 11, 8:18 pm

Farmhouse Sultana Cake

500gr sultanas
250gr butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup oat bran
2 cups flour
2 tsp BP
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla ess
1 tsp almond ess

Preheat oven to 175dC

Place sultanas in saucepan, cover with water and simmer 5 minutes. Drain. Add butter and sugar to the fruit and mix until butter has melted. In a bowl mix together the oat bran, flour, BP and salt. Add the beaten eggs and drained sultanas and essences. Mix well.

Spoon the batter into a greased lined 20cm square cake tin.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn down the oven to130dC and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Chef_rainrain1, Jun 12, 11:31 am

I have 2 of the Rally cookbooks and find them very useful.
I have a collection of 100's of the old fundraising type of collections put out by schools, churches etc.
Very hard to cull them, even though I don't use them regularly.
I sorted through my collection and put the best ones in my kitchen bookcase. The others are still in my general bookcase.
Do you think there would be any interest if I listed them on Trademe in lots of say 6 books?

Chef_sue62, Jul 5, 9:57 am


Yes, indeedy! many people collect these books, because they have the best baking recipes.
I'm on to my second Rally cookbook. I bought it at a local religious bookshop, Pleroma, in Otane, so you may find one in a similar store near you, OP

Chef_punkinthefirst, Apr 9, 2:03 pm

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