Exchanging cookbooks with friends can be fun and refreshing.

Did you know I have over 100 cookbooks on a bookshelf in my pantry? One of my past times includes thumbing through those books and searching for the one recipe that I have yet to add to my cooking routine. As much as I love cooking, I have to admit that there are only one or two recipes per book that have actually become constant in my kitchen.

I feel guilty keeping those books on my shelf knowing there are others that would enjoy a fresh start. So I've decided to plan a cookbook exchange. Several years ago a friend of mine attended a clothing exchange party. Invitees were encouraged to bring clothes no longer being worn in their households but still worthy of being used by someone else.

The event was a hit as it included clothing for all family members. Each person who brought clothing was encouraged to rummage through the items and choose "new" clothing to take home. The evening was complemented with basic snacks, beverages and even an impromtu fashion show!

Why wouldn't this concept work with cookbooks? Invitees would be asked to bring one or more cookbooks that are no longer used their kitchens. Conversation would evolve around favorite recipes with the ultimate focus being on the cookbooks brought for the exchange. Was it a gift? Was the book purchased on a trip? Are there pictures to help create mouth-watering dishes? The host could provide a cheese and cracker tray complemented with wine. Or even better the host could prepare a few appetizers from a cookbook that was being introduced in the exchange.

At the end of the evening each attendee would head home with a new-found culinary treasure. But don't forget to copy your favorite recipes from the cookbook you decide to donate to the cause!