As someone who is impartial towards cooking I rarely stop to thumb through the cookbook section of any given second hand store, but with the advent of this blog and my renewed enthusiasm for sustainable living, I realised that it’s not just the ethical consumption of goods I should be mindful of but food as well. Having ignored old cookbooks my whole op-shopping life, it’s time to reconsider the value of this seemingly everyday book. So today I present the case for second hand cook books!
Old Cookbooks are Collectable!
As it turns out, having a good rummage through the cookbooks at your local second hand store might have more rewards than you think. Did you know that some are quite rare and collectable? Even some vintage Women’s Weekly cookbooks that my mum had when I was a kid can attract a pretty penny! To service the avid cookbook collector there are also a number of book sellers who specialise in this area, such as Vintage Cookbooks in Kallista (VIC) and Old Cookbooks in the USA. It seems that old Australian bush tucker cookbooks are somewhat sought after, so you might want to grab one if you see it!
Cookbooks vs the Internet
It’s not the possible financial rewards of old cookbooks that has particularly grabbed my attention but rather their practical value. I have heard some say that cookbooks are DEAD because there are so many recipes available on the internet these days. The trouble with searching for recipes on the internet however is that you need to know what you’re searching for. You need some keywords to begin your search. But sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for because you’re looking for something new, and this is where an old cookbook could save you hours of searching on the interwebs.
I don’t know about you but I find the idea of endless internet bookmarks of possible recipes to try out much less appealing than a carefully curated cookbook with recipes that cover everything from starters to sweets, all in one convenient place. After seeing the great range of cookbooks on offer at my local op-shop I’ve vowed never to buy a new cookbook again! (admittedly this not such a heroic act when one considers that the total sum of brand new cookbooks I’ve purchased in my entire life amounts to two).
Old Cookbooks Make Great Gifts
In saying that old cookbooks would make a great gift I don’t mean to suggest that grabbing any old cookbook off a second hand shelf would do. Rather, the right book (or collection of books!) for the right person could make a very thoughtful gift indeed. Such as – vegetarian cookbooks for someone interested in giving up meat, kids/party cook books for new parents, low GI books for someone recently diagnosed with PCOS, or a vintage cookbook in a quirky niche that might tickle your foodie friend’s fancy. Many second hand cook books have hardly been used by their previous owners so it’s not too hard to find books in this genre in very good condition.
So there you have it, three among many good reasons to embrace the humble second hand cookbook. The next time you’re out second hand hunting don’t let the cookbook shelf pass you by!
Do you buy second hand cookbooks? Will printed cookbooks survive the internet age?