The Great 2013 Cookbook Challenge

My fridge hasn’t been working well lately, so I had to defrost it – what a boring job. While I was at it, I pulled it out of its cubby hole to clean the back. I then discovered the shelf above (with all my cookbooks) had bowed and I couldn’t get the fridge back in. All the books had to come down, grrr…

Cookbook Shelf

As I was pulling all the books off the shelf, I realised there were some I’ve never used and some that haven’t been used in a long time. I have no idea what wonderful recipes are hidden in them. And so became…

The Great 2013 Cookbook Challenge

The challenge: no cookbook can go back on the shelf until I’ve cooked as least 3 things from them (and liked what I’ve cooked!). From now – no claiming recipes I cooked 5 years ago!

To make it more interesting, I’ve set a deadline of the end of the year. If I haven’t cooked 3 recipes from a book by then, they are off to the charity bin (a bit like if I haven’t worn an outfit in a year…)

Stack of Cookbooks

I have 45 cookbooks (although only about half fit on that shelf), so I’ve got a lot of recipes to get through! I must also resist the urge to add to the collection (and make the challenge any bigger!)…

My books are now all piled in my craft room. If you don’t have the space, maybe you could put a divider in your shelf so that all the cookbooks you’ve used go on one side of the divider.


I’ll post monthly updates as I go! Some support would be great, so do you want join in?

I’ve created a Flickr group. Share your cookbook collection (how big is your challenge?), progress photos, food that you’ve cooked and the pile of books to donate at the end of the year!

If you’d like to, grab a button and share the challenge:

Cook Clean Craft Cookbook Challenge  
How many cookbooks do you have? How many do you regularly use? Do you want to join me in this challenge? Let me know in the comments.


  1. I love this idea. I do have some vintage cookbooks that I’m not sure I could part with that belonged to my grandmother. Otherwise, I’m going to try to join in on the challenge. I did make a dent already by donating about 15 cookbooks last fall as we cleaned out our basement. I bet I have another 15 that can go!

  2. This is perfect! I was literally *just* about to write on this subject on my blog, so now I will and I will mention you as well! I did this last year, so my cookbook collection is already pared down, but I will still love to jump in board! 🙂

  3. Saw this at the orgjunkie’s site. I definitely need to join in! Probably doesn’t help that I have 3 more cookbooks arriving any day now…

    I have a good-sized collection of historic cookbooks (Elizabethan, Revolutionary War, Civil War.) Cooking out of these is always interesting, and something I haven’t done in a while.

  4. I’m definitely joining this challenge!!! I have a several cookbooks that I definitely would like to put to use!!

  5. I’ll join you in this challenge….funny, I just decided today before I saw this that I was going to go through all my books and pick out my favorite recipes and then get rid of my books. I’ll only keep my special ones.

  6. I have done a lot of organizing, decluttering, and purging on my cookbooks, cooking magazines, and recipe notebooks this past year but there is still a lot I want to do. Therefore, I am continuing to condense my cookbooks and cooking notebooks to only have a limited amount of recipes that I can reasonably use and my family likes. I can always look online or borrow library cookbooks if I need new recipes. My recipes needs to be useable and not just a collection of recipes.

  7. I love this idea! I don’t have a lot of cookbooks but I have way too many cooking magazines. A friend and I have committed to working through it and keeping each other accountable this year.

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