1. Total number of (cook) books I’ve owned:
I have about 20 right now.
2. Last cookbook(s) I bought:
I tried to buy the Gourmet cookbook online, but they never sent it and I had to get my money back from Amazon. So I guess it would have to be The Ultimate Candy Book, probably purchased for Christmas candymaking.
3. Last food book(s) I read:
I just finished a fun novel called The Epicure's Lament, which counts as a food book because the misanthropic main character idolizes MFK Fisher and describes a number of his late night kitchen creations.
Before that, I read Judith Moore's Never Eat Your Heart Out, which did a really nice job of interweaving food memories with stories from her life as a housewife in the Pacific Northwest.
Off and on, I've been reading Robb Walsh's Are You Really Going to Eat That, but so far it doesn't grab me the way Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything did.
4. Five (plus 2) cookbooks that mean a lot to me:
Here's where you can tell I don't buy cookbooks:
The Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook: I was given this as a kid and spent a lot of time making Peppermint Patty's meringues and their cool chocolate cake using oil and vinegar.
The Blue Book on Home CandyMaking: Secrets of the Professional Candy Maker by Martin A. Pease: This was written by my great-grandfather in 1923. My family's Pease's candy stores are still operating in Illinois. The endless recipes for fondant are outdated, but it shows what a popular pastime candymaking was in the 1920s.
The Joy of Cooking: I have both my mother's 1953 edition, covered in gaudy silver 1970s wallpaper, and the revised 1997 edition.
The Silver Palate Cookbook and The New Basics: When I need to make ratatouille or cous cous, I go for these.
The New York Times cookbook: I bought the 1980 or so edition of this when I was in college, and used it to cook sort of fancy stuff like chicken liver mousse. I hardly ever consult it any more, but you never know when you're going to need how to make sole florentine or something.
Obviously my cookbook collection needs updating, so if you're buying me a birthday present, how about Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, John Thorne's Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook because I need that amazing roast chicken with bread salad recipe, and maybe The Chez Panisse Cafe cookbook.
5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
Hmm...Nancy Rommelman, Professor Salt, Emmanuelle Welch because she might have cool French books, Liz Stromme's Underground Gardener (not really a blog, but whatever) and Jackie Danicki's Gastroblog.