Cookbooks @mylifeonlafayette

If you walk down Second street in the East Village of New York City, you'll come across a shop sign that says, COOKBOOKS. It's curious, given our internet age, that a shop would devote itself to a single category. But that's just so quintessentially New York and one of the reasons I so love this city and my neighborhood in particular.

Inside, you'll find a trove of at least 5,000 cookbooks from the rare and out-of-print to the classics. In 1997, Bonnie Slotnick started selling cookbooks from a basement on Washington Place. After 2 years she moved to West 10th Street for the next 15 years. In 2014, her lease expired and wasn't renewed. Enter her current landlord in the EVill, siblings whose mother, Eden Ross Lipson, was a children's book editor of the New York Times Book Review. They wanted an independent bookstore as a retail tenant and offered her basement space. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks gets an even bigger space and a new chapter in life.

Vintage aprons, tablecloths and restaurant menus for sale

We (fellow Dems) had just lost the election so this book in particular caught my eye. I asked Bonnie if I could take a photo of this, to which she candidly replied,

"as long as you don't turn around and buy it on Amazon."

I'm still with her.
Delightful displays at every turn.

In my opinion, the Philippine cookbook section is lacking & limited. My only consolation is that at least I knew one of the authors, the late Reynaldo "Ronnie" Alejandro.

Filipino cookbook section

This is perhaps my favorite part of the store because its the most sentimental. This is the children's book area and the chair you see belonged to her landlord's editor/mother. This was one of her reading chairs. This children's reading table and chair belonged to the landlord's grandmother. Three generations represented in this store, you have to love that.

Children's cookbooks reading corner

I asked to see one of her rare cookbooks and Bonnie so generously showed me this well loved and annotated book from 1867, The Home Manual on the Economical Cook and House-Book: Hints on the Daily Life of a Housekeeper.

One of the rarest book/manuscripts in the store.

The previous owner writes on the subject of Venizon on Blazer - "It seems to me that Cook Books impart very little information on above subject and families which can boil a hasty pudding tolerably well are equally devoid of the information on the subject alluded to in the caption..." and then ends it with this, "The holocaust of animals upon pagan altars is quite as pardonable as the sacrifice & waste occasioned by incompetent housekeepers."

Excerpts from the Cook and House-Book Manual.

Nowadays, her best-sellers are cookbooks from the 50's-70's and popular American classics such as Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping, Fannie Farmer.

The next photo is from a shelf in my home. These are my go to cookbooks. The Silver Palate Cookbook was my first cookbook purchase when I moved to NYC in the 80's. It has served me well. Philippine Cookery and Household Hints by Mimi Villacorta was a gift from her daughters who remain my best friends. I mastered Beef Bourguignon thanks to Julia Child. Nowadays, Ottolenghi rocks my world.

My favorites, what's yours?
Support your local and independent stores. They define our neighborhood.
Created By
Tesa Totengco


All photos taken on my Iphone7

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