I'm not a much of a collector. To me, if something hasn't been used in the last 12 months, I'm quite happy to pass it on or charity bin it.
The closest thing I have a collection is my recipe books. I've just had a declutter here too, so the books above are those that I actually use.
I love my recipe books. If I'm stuck for something to read, I'll read one of my books. They are a constant source of inspiration.
I've collected these books over the past 20 years. The first book I bought was Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, which is the spineless book on the top shelf. This book really taught me to cook, and though the recipes are a bit dated now, I still refer to it.
The latest addition to the collection was Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals. I haven't used this yet at all, but that will change. OK, but not a must have.
I think I have enough books now, so I try to be discriminating when I buy any new additions. I don't have much truck with books that aren't practical in my situation, so I don't have any "celebrity chef" books, as I think they are more about being a chef, not a cook. These days, I look for books that are both practical and cover new ground in my collection. It also helps if I think the recipes will appeal to the family.
I use all my books, but my Top 3 (at the moment, because this constantly changes) would be:
Complete Perfect Recipes, by David Herbert. I think this has been reprinted recently, and is certainly worth seeking out for its comprehensive collection of simple recipes. Anything you might want to cook is here. Great for beginner cooks too, with clear instructions.
Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery. A great book for enthusiastic bakers like me. Every recipe I've tried out of this has been a winner.
The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book, by Suzanne Gibbs. Started my love affair with my pressure cooker nearly two years ago, and still in constant use.
The least useful? How to Eat by Nigella Lawson. I haven't cooked one recipe out of this tome, but it earns its place simply for the fabulous writing about cooking and eating. Nigella's prose always puts a smile on my face. I love anyone who loves her food as much as I do!
Do you have a favourite cookbook? What is it, and why?