Recipe Inc., located in Davis, California, specialize in rare, vintage, and out-of-print cookbooks, recipe pamphlets, and culinary history and criticism. Learn a little more about the fascination with cookbooks, the art of manifold cooking, and the cookbooks every chef should own.

How did you get started in bookselling?

I am an avid cook and cookbook collector. My fascination with the cookbooks led me to establish a bookstore for our growing collection, so that I could re-gain access to the living areas of our homes.

Bookselling is not the easiest way to make a living. What keeps you doing it?

I love the cookbooks and the recipes! I especially love looking for the older vintage recipe pamphlets and cookbooks, which have so much valuable information. Cookbooks create happy feelings--even people who don't cook love cookbooks.

What is the most unusual book you ever bought?

Manifold Destiny

My personal favorite is The Chinese Festive Board, a lovely book of Northern Chinese dishes originally published in Shanghai in the 1930's. It has a laid-in red felt invitation to a banquet, and lovely illustrations, including a how-to on using chopsticks. Another favorite is Manifold Destiny, which teaches you how to cook under the hood of your car, and answers the question, "How many miles does it take to roast a chicken?"

How did you choose your specialty?

I think the cookbooks chose me.

Do you collect anything else?

Yes, bookshelves.

Do you have any legendary stories you tell about incidents in your store or as a bookseller?

The Joy of Cooking

No legends really. But I am constantly amazed by the emotional attachments our customers have to the vintage cookbooks, the ones their mothers and grandmothers used. I truly enjoy hearing about favorite recipes hidden inside our books.

Do you have a shop pet?

Yes: Trixie, a vintage Cocker spaniel, and Bo the mixed lab Wonder Dog.

What books do you recommend?

The Moosewood CookbookI always recommend basic Sunset cookbooks to the beginning chef. The recipes are well-written, beautifully illustrated and tested. I believe every chef needs a Fannie Farmer, a James Beard, a Julia, and a Silver Palate. We also love Joy of Cooking, Meta Givens, Moosewood Cookbook, and Huntley Dent's The Feast of Santa Fe.

Any last words?

Bon Appetit!

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