"My current favourite is Diana Henry's From the Oven to the Table, which has so many interesting comfort cooking recipes in it that it has seen me through a winter of lockdown. Now that the sun's out I'll be moving onto Lola's Ice Creams and Sundaes" says Anna, who regrets getting rid of half her collection when she moved house.
When we asked our foodie pals to show us their bookcases, in time for World Book Day (March 4), we were impressed by their vast libraries.
Some people pile them up horizontally as well as vertically, others are book-marked at favourite recipes, and everyone talks about regret over recent culls.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
A message from the Editor:
"Just a few", says chef Billy Boyter. His collection includes Mugaritz: a Natural Science of Cooking by Andoni Aduriz and Noma by Rene Redzepi.
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
"My favourite is Fuchsia Dunlop’s Food of Sichuan, both for its sheer beauty as a book and what a supportive and informed guide it has been in teaching me to cook in areas far beyond my comfort zone. Dishes I would previously enjoy only in Sichuan restaurants (a little thin on the ground in Edinburgh), now happen in our kitchen, aided greatly by the proximity of Leith’s Asian supermarkets. After that, anything by Diana Henry. Her chicken cookbook, A Bird in the Hand, is my favourite but I don't currently have a copy as I keep giving them away.", says Freya.
I've got about 120 books now, despite a cull a couple of years ago. My favourite is Moro: the Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark. I've used it so often since it was published in 2001 that it's falling apart and the pages are taped in places, but I'd never trade it in for a new edition. Sam and Sam are so knowledgeable about the food of Spain, particularly by beloved Andalucia, and their recipes recreate the flavours that I yearn for when back home in Edinburgh", says Carrie.
Carol's shelves feature Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts) by Russell Norman and Ottolenghi Simple.
"It's like choosing a favourite child but if pushed then I'd go for Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries for many simple and brilliant recipes. The plum cake one has won me many customers, it’s divine. Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Warner is worth a close second for the sheer beauty on every page. I probably have about 85 cookbooks at the moment, as I had a covid clear out last year", says Heather.
Eva's books include Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Nigella Express and the Claire Macdonald Cookbook.
"My copy of The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit was a gift from chef Geoffrey Smeddle so it's particularly prized," says Jack.
"My favourite is probably Bruce Poole from Chez Bruce - brilliant honest cooking," says Graeme Pallister, Perth.
"As I’m a cookbook geek, I keep a note on my phone of books owned, so I don’t accidentally duplicate them. I have 302 in total (plus another 164 on Kindle). My current fave to cook from is probably Meera Sodha’s EAST and to drool over, Calum Franklin’s The Pie Room", Nicola, Glasgow.