From the archives, in memory of Sheila Lukins who died of brain cancer a few days ago. Lukins, co-author of Silver Palate cookbooks was one of the earlier influences on my cooking as an adult. Fortunately, I had a chance to thank her personally (in email) a couple of years ago.
As an unapologetically enthusiastic cook, I own a lot of cookbooks. A quick survey from where I sit reveals four bookshelves-one with easily 125 books-and six piles of books in varying states of precariousness. Books with recipes make up the bulk of these, but McGee, Nestle, Pollan, Schlosser, Parsons and others contribute a couple dozen reference books to the clutter in my office. It should be noted that I can only see the dining room and my office.
Out of sight, the guest room has a bookcase of food essayists, designed to be read in small bits: Reichl, Steingarten, Bourdain, the annual Best Food Writing series. Two more boxes, utterly untouched, sit where they were shoved under the entryway bench a few months ago "until we build more bookshelves," an event I expect to happen real soon now. Like next year.