We got an email from a reader last week asking about where to find cookbooks, specifically older vintage ones, and I have to say, I didn’t really have a good reply. “Used bookstores” seemed like a really patronizing answer, but that’s about all I could come up with.
After a bit of research, my answer would be dependant on the disclaimer of “what do you want to do with it?” For some people, the hunt is the best part of the process, and if you’re not cursed with asthma, an afternoon spent digging through dusty stacks and boxes of cookbooks at the back of a used bookstore might be sheer heaven. If it’s the having of the book that is the goal, then online resources might be a better bet, and if the plan is simply to view, copy and try out the recipes, then I’d head to the library to dig through their treasures.
The Cookbook Store (850 Yonge Street) offers an extensive collection of older titles, as do most of the big chains. Amazon offers many titles at new or used prices, and it’s possible to find vintage or rare stuff in the used section here. Alibris specializes in used and rare books, but it helps to know the title of what you’re looking for in order to search effectively.
Newer titles – published in the past couple of years – can often be picked up at those remaindered bookshops that tend to pop up in malls or empty storefronts on main shopping stretches. I actually do most of my own cookbook shopping at these places, and my favourites include the one in Dufferin Mall; the one on Yonge Street, south of Bloor on the east side; and the one on the corner of Front Street East and Church. I don’t know the names of any of them, but everyone’s been to them, I’m sure.