The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Books, unlimited

Two of my blogging friends, Shannon of Just as Delish asked around in FB, to share their stock of cook books, Sharon of Feats of Feasts did a post about it. And then I thought, ok, why not I share mine as well.

Slightly more than a year ago, before I moved to my new house, I DREAD that day I had to pack my books into boxes. I needed alot of boxes, as books are very heavy and you can’t put much into the boxes, so i had to spread them out and put half books, and half clothes so the movers won’t break their bone. So at that time, I thought that I already had quite alot of books.. Take a look.

Yeah that’s a year ago…

I started collecting books around 18-19 years of age. (Thats about 8-9 years ago) I think if I’m not wrong, my first book was Nigella Bites. Can’t deny that I really love Nigella! I have almost all her books except for 1, Nigella Kitchen, but DON’T WORRY I’M GETTING IT BEFORE YOU CAN REALIZE IT’S NOT THERE! Since then I started getting magazines like delicious, Gourmet Food & Traveller and they were all so beautiful! It’s expensive and maybe now u can get the recipes anywhere on the website, but 8-9 years ago? maybe not.

So over the years I’ve gotten alot of books. From the book stores and online, mainly. and alot of the books, are not full priced books. Some are so cheap you cannot believe. Some are 70% lesser from original price; usually online books are so. Then I go to places that sell books at a cheap price (and they are new books) So, really sometimes it’s looking for bargains..

This is what it looks like now, and it’s part of my room. Haters gonna hate, but don’t ya! One of my first criteria for my room’s interior was that I NEED a big shelving display for at least 5 more years of books .. Hahaha, it does seem like its 80% full eh. But don’t worry I actually have another empty cupboard somewhere behind where I’m standing when I took this photo. Crazy, I know.

So before I go around explaining which part of the shelf has what.. I have do have some books next to my bed.

Nigellissima and Jamie’s 15 minute meals were the 2 latest buys in November (2 more coming soon via mail) It’s no suprise I like to put awesome dessert books next to my bed side table. All 4 at the bottom are some of my favorite books.

Ok so let’s start with the shelves! We’ll go from top left downwards, and move towards the right.

Here, are most of Pierre Herme’s books and mostly desserts here, japanese / french inspired. Some books are more asian, and it’s the only section you can find chinese books (or japanese) Dessert Fourplay by Johnny Iuzzini is one of my fav books too. The latest addition to this would be Pierre Herme’s Pastries. U can’t see but next (left) to the “Gold” book, is Janice Wong’s Perfection in Imperfection. And the only Japanese book here is le gout authentique retrouve by Hidemi Sugino.

And then, here’s the ‘celebrity chef’ section. Actually only could fit Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. There are more on another side. Oh, there’s also Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection. That time when I bought this book (say 3-4 years ago) I didn’t know who Heston was. No Masterchef that time ma… But the content was really attractive. I had to buy it. I got it for only RM 20, ish ? Then years later when I saw the remake of the black forest cake, I then knew, who Heston was. :p

 

Moving on to the middle section, because the height are slightly shorter, I had to fit the shorter books in here. Surprisingly, it looks like a good fit! Mostly dessert books, a few cooking ones (Nigel Slater) and some about bread.

At the bottom, its even shorter! so I didn’t put any books but just some collectibles from travelling. Mini McD toy, snoopy, smurfs, presents, postcards, photos, and the white box in front of the lomo camera, is my Le Cordon Bleu ‘medal’ The dog in the picture, was taken in 2003 of my dog, Hugo. So cute can die.

Then down another section, more books. But here, are more fictions. On the left are fictions related to food, like Julie & Julia, Anthony Bourdain’s, Julia Child’s .. Then uhmmm, non related to food, my twilight series, photo albums, dog related books..

Then slightly below it, are some magazines on the left (some of the newer mags) and on the right, are some notebooks where I write my recipes. Ermmm, when I write my recipes, I don’t really write the method. So I don’t know, my grand daughter or son better know some basic techniques before trying to remake the recipes. Haha they are mostly scribbles and cake sketches, no… my handwriting is not very good to begin with and they are not categorized. So whoever reading it, good luck!

And below that, its the magazines section. I used to buy other types of magazines other than food ones but before moving, I packed those lifestyle magazines and donated them. Kept the food ones instead. Because, food magazines are so great when you are lazying in the jacuzzi. Hence also there are some magazines in the bathroom. Hahaha And no matter how old the magazines are, they still look great. The recipes don’t age.

Up next, on the right column, the most top row… Ahaha, this layer. Let’s see …. 1,2, (2nd from right Chinese cooking and The Bather’s Pavilion both from sydney) book were at original price, 1 (the red lantern vietnamese cooking) was at about 25% off. The rest; at least 50% off the original price. Some maybe as low as RM 17.90 .. and I think somewhere, there’s a book of only RM 5. I think I shall name this the bargain books section. But come on’ bargain books with titles from Donna Hay and Curtis Stone? Far out!

Then here, the most ridiculous priced book was RM 0 … HAHaha Which was The Modern Cafe (one of my fav). Most of the books here are bought online through Book Depository. Their prices are usually lower than what it is here. If BD is on sale, even cheaper! The only downside is that it takes a while to reach, but if it’s not in a hurry, then I’d rather save some money. Rose Levy’s Cake Bible was probably RM 15 from a book sale. win! And as you can see, it’s ALOt of baking books here. I’m crazy.. I know… Mostly american style bkes. Bourke Street Bakery (one of my fav), Art & Sould of Baking, Desserts by the Yard and The Secret of Baking both by Sherry Yard has more than just normal cakes. Actually I quite like all the books here …

Down below, this section is what I call the, can break someone’s head if I throw it. Heavy, thick books. But saying so, these books have the strongest “book smell”. The books here are more of technique and basic fundamentals (like how baking works with certain ingredients), more technical stuffs, except for the 365 book by Stephane Reynaud and Silver Spoon (Italian cooking) I like Bakewise. If anyone wants to know more about baking, I suggest getting it as it really teaches you the fundamental ingredients. Like what’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda. Why choux puffs rises with an airy empty core. Lots more.. I think by knowing more of the basics, one can explore more in the baking world. Butter cake, orange butter cake, butter cake with fruit chunks, chocolate chip butter cake… I’m not saying these are boring stuffs. But I call them variations, rather than a recipe. A basic butter cake, is a good mother recipe. Then you add different things into it, and make a variation. But then again, it’s just me, not you.

Bottom row, are some cake decorating books. Well I thought I had more, but looking at it.. So little only ah! Mainly because I think cake decorating don’t need a recipe. It’s not like u want to make a linzer tart and you can look at the picture and do it just like that. Cake decorating books explores creativity, and it uses alot of visualization. By seeing how one does it live, is better than seeing it on books. So maybe that’s why I don’t get so many books.. But when I do, it’s signed!!!

A couple of years ago, the company I was working for brought in Peggy Porschen for a class, so I helped out the class and Peggy. But she also had a book signing lah, so it’s not just exclusively me la ok! :P

Hrmmm ok.. I bought some books from Taipei, I can’t find where I kept it. Maybe it’s still in the luggage :P

Mega book sale coming up next …… let’s see, what new additions do I have to the family.

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments on Books, unlimited

  1. Kelly Siew
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM (2 years ago)

    Hang on a sec while I search for my jaw on the floor…… I think your collection is bigger than an actual bookstore just by the genre. Super impressive, especially those bargain ones.

    • Swee San
      Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:06 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi Kelly, hehe I just like to collect books, even if I don’t read them now, I know maybe in future, I’ll use it. So I never miss those bargain ones..

  2. Gregoire Michaud
    Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 4:56 PM (2 years ago)

    Oh la la! I spotted a few great book in your collection! ;)

    Very impressive by the way!

    • Swee San
      Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 12:30 AM (2 years ago)

      did you see yours ?? hehe thanks Chef!

      • Gregoire Michaud
        Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 5:29 PM (2 years ago)

        yay! Thank you so much Swee San! :)

  3. Sharon @ Feats of Feasts
    Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM (2 years ago)

    haha, i think hands down your collection wins the most variety and most coveted. Drooling over the nigel slater and julia child.

    • Swee San
      Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM (2 years ago)

      No la.. i’m pretty sure there are people out there with better collections than me ;)

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