How many?!?!

Books are a Thing, a Big Thing, in our house. We all enjoy selecting, owning and reading books. Occasionally, after we have selected, owned and read them, we will divest ourselves of a couple. And unlike staffing numbers in some of our critical public services at the moment – the NHS and prison service, or so I’m told – we have more coming in than going out. But enough with the politics and back to the books.

The pile of unread books in our little library (ok, so it’s a small room that links the front door to the kitchen, but it has bookshelves and loads of books in it, so allow my affectation) seems to grow and grow. Steve and I are now squarely in the territory of what the Japanese call tsundoku: having accumulated more unread books than we can possibly read in our lifetimes. I am hopeful the kids have more reading time available to them.

Adding to the number is my collection of 129 cookery books, soon to be 130 when the brilliant Gaz Oakley’s Vegan 100, which I have on pre-order, arrives next week (you can find Gaz on Instagram at @avantgardevegan and his blog and recipes are at I have at least skimmed through all 129 recipe books; many I have properly read, either in part or in full; about a quarter I have cooked from.

Another thing I accumulate is ingredients. I don’t know whether the Japanese have a word for this too, but I suspect that I have more dried five bean mix than I can use before I die. A perfect-storm combination of my impetuosity when buying online (I am undoubtedly lax in reading quantities) and Amazon Prime’s one-click purchasing option doesn’t help. Recent ingredient “mis-buys” include 24 large cans of young, green jackfruit, 10kgs of ready-to-use polenta and 15 bottles of liquid smoke.

Fear not, 2018 is turnaround year! I plan to make a dent in both the “uncooked-from” recipe books and the ingredients stockpiles. To achieve this, I am going to make a recipe from each of my cookery books and while doing so, I will look to incorporate as many stockpiled ingredients as possible. And just to make it a bit more fun, I will, of course, have to adapt many of the recipes as I am now vegan and I have decided to work through the books from oldest acquisition to most recent. Where I can’t remember the order of acquisition I’ll go by publication date. And as often as I can, I’ll blog and photograph as I go.

This should be fun, as well as delicious and occasionally nutritious.

Author: Emma

I’m Emma, a quite “with-it”, Surrey-dwelling, theatre-loving, vegan Welshie. I am determined to keep it pertinent and fresh, the big 50 notwithstanding. I am still full of dreams and ideas – many of them pipe dreams - of what I want to do when I grow up.

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