Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Checking in on my baking challenge

I started my baking challenge on October 21, 2010 with Marble Molasses Pound Cake from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  78 cookbooks and 5 1/2 months later, I'm not even at the halfway mark yet in terms of how many cookbooks I have left to bake from.  I've been going at a pretty steady clip lately though so I can't complain.  Rome wasn't baked in a day.

This challenge has been beneficial to me in several ways.  First, it's good to realize exactly what and how much I have.  Second, it's even better to use what I already have.  Third, it's best to leverage the knowledge from both to keep myself from buying more.  Let's face it - it's ridiculous that I have so many cookbooks I hadn't even realized that I have duplicate copies of several and that I never knew that until I started taking a good look at all my cookbooks.  It's also ridiculous that I've had some of them for years and never used them.  Two of the books are still shrink-wrapped, for crying out loud.  And it's the height of incredulity that I still get tempted to buy more.

I was in Sur La Table yesterday and discovered their baking book, The Art & Soul of Baking, on the clearance table for $19.99.  I had a $10 coupon for any purchase which is why I was in Sur La Table in the first place.  That would've made what was originally a $40 book a $9.99 + tax purchase.  It was exactly the type of baking book I like - big, hardbound, lots of recipes, and lots of mouth-watering pictures.  My inner Gollum shrieks, "We wants The Precious!" when I see it.  But haven't I already done this dance?  Many times?  On my bookshelves at home are dozens upon dozens of cookbooks that me-Gollum has already purchased over the years.  Some are used.  Some are not.  All are on my shelves.  78 of them have been part of this challenge so far.  More than 78 remain to be tried. (Insert inner conflict here.)  It was with an incredible amount of reluctance that I put the book back on the clearance table and walked away.  It wasn't about spending the money (and I love a bargain so this was almost physically painful to pass up).  It was about not giving into the want because it wasn't a need.  I know that same book is in my local library and I can check it out anytime, look through the pictures, (cough) I mean recipes, choose which ones I want to try and return it to the library when I'm done.  I don't have to own it.  I just want to.  But sometimes I can't give into Gollum because I know once the initial urge passes, I won't feel the need want to own the book anymore and later on, I'll be glad it's not one more thing gathering dust on the bookshelves and guilting me into using it so that I didn't buy it for nothing.

So the book remained on the clearance table and I spent my coupon on some overpriced Scharffenberger unsweetened chocolate instead.  Now that I do "need" for the next time high end chocolate is called for in a recipe.

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