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The Cookbook Challenge


Happy New Year! January is all about pretending to be better than you are and changing your life in positive ways. So what better time to start a fun challenge? I’m a hoarder collector of cookbooks. I have many dozens of them, I read cookbooks the way regular people read novels. Part of it is my love for strange foods (it’s not easy to find recipes for fresh currants or pawpaws) and the rest is my burning desire to read everything while not making myself sad (I take it hard when characters I love die, I’m still not over The Green Mile and Mr. Jingles). I’ve always been this way, I was the kid that read the cereal box 3x during breakfast. Anyway, if you’re here it’s probably not because you’re interested in my childhood idiosyncrasies but because you too have too many cookbooks hanging around so let’s get into the challenge.

Declutter your bookshelves and diversify your meal plan while having fun in the kitchen with the 2017 Cookbook Challenge!

The goal of this challenge is mainly to get some use out of your cookbooks, but it’s a great was to mix up your weekly meals and it’ll make it easy to toss or donate the cookbooks that don’t mesh with your life. All you need to do is pick a book and cook out of it for one week. It doesn’t have to be every single meal, but aim for 5 or 6 recipes. If you can’t find 5 or 6 things that sound good to you, do you really need to keep that book around? Obviously there will be exceptions, I’m not telling you to toss grandma’s hand written recipe book but is 1,000 Jello Recipes worth the space it’s taking up on your shelf? It shouldn’t take much more work than usual if you’re used to cooking every night. This is a great opportunity to break out and try some new things like new flavors or cooking techniques. I know my husband is very excited for vegetarian weeks 😉

I’m always flipping though cookbooks marking recipes so for this challenge I picked up patterned sticky notes and I’ve been marking recipes that I’m interested in trying. Then going though our ridiculous schedule and trying to fit in as many as possible and making a grocery list. Have I mentioned we are the worst meal planners ever? I love the idea of meal planning but 9 times out of ten it lasts a week and we’re back to baked chicken and salad 3 days a week. 2017 will be my year!

Chances are really good you’ll find a book or two that you just don’t know what to do with or why you have it. Put them in a box and GET RID OF THEM. Ask friends, family, local organizations ect. For an example an art center in my hometown has a giant book sale every year where you can drop off books and they sell them to fund the art programs. I may or may not have purchased several cookbooks at those sales over the years haha. What ever you do, don’t put them back on the shelf.

I’ve already picked 5 books for the month of January, I’ll be posting updates at the end of the month. In an effort to really make myself regret this challenge I let my husband pick two books, so if you like to live on the edge you can add that option 😉

The books I’ll be working with this month are:

  1. Taste & Technique by Naomi Pomeroy
  2. The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook* I already love this book, I’ve made quite a bit out of it and it seriously has recipes for everything. This is my desert island cookbook
  3. Cook it in Cast Iron by Cook’s Country
  4. Slow Cooking by Catherine Atkinson
  5. Bless the Heart & Home* (GIGANTIC local church cookbook that I already hate… I spent half an hour looking for something that doesn’t rely on cream of mushroom coup before I gave up)

*Husband’s picks

If you’re interested in joining me I’ll put together a link party so we can all keep up with each other or maybe do something on my facebook page. If you have any ideas leave a comment or send me a message! I’ll also be posting on Instagram, if you decide to join in tag me @aleciacsny and use the #cookbookchallenge2017


  1. Oh this is perfect! I find that I haven’t actually been using the cookbooks I own.
    If I am looking for a recipe I normally google it. I keep a lot of cookbooks too, especially the ones where my nana has written her comments in. So nice to see her handwriting.

  2. Oh this is a pretty cool challenge! I like the idea of going through and trying new recipes out. Your cookbook picks sound perfect.

  3. Rebecca Bryant says:

    This is a fun challenge. I have a whole shelf of cook books that I never use.

  4. I think this is terrific. I really want to try cooking more from whole ingredients and start using the stack of books I’ve accumulated. And I have the same problem with meal planning, BTW.
    Here’s to a delicious new year!

    • We can do it! I really enjoy the process of cooking but it’s so easy to go with something simple. Two days in and we’re going strong 😉

  5. This sounds like a fun challenge! I should challenge myself to do something like this.

  6. I would love to take part in this challenge! Not only do I have a ton of cookbooks, but I need to declutter and mix it up a bit in the food department!

  7. I like this idea, I still do make use of my cookbooks, but not as often as I can or should. This is a great way to start the New Year!

  8. This is a great idea! I do not actually own a cookbook! I totally need to get one and try some new recipes.

  9. The ‘Cookbook Challange’ sounds so much fun. I’ just went through your choice of books for this challenge and i’m definitely interested in the ‘Cook it in Cast Iron’.
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