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She holds the Guinness World Record for the largest private cookbook collection. Now she’s having a garage sale to sell some of them.

A peek into Lisa Ekus's garage, where the cookbook sale will be happening Saturday.

For Lisa Ekus, cookbooks are armchair journeys, a way to embrace a culture or illuminate the past. “The stories of how a dish came about, who made it, and their influences have been my passion,” she says.

For more than 40 years, Ekus has run a culinary agency, the Ekus Group, working with cookbook authors and chefs. For many, she helps publicize a latest book; others want her as their agent. Chefs come to her for media training. “I have made a life from my cookbooks and the people, cultures and places they represent,” she says. “I have learned from them all.”


Her clients have been a who’s who in the culinary world, including Emeril Lagasse, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and Anne Willan, as well as Boston chefs, including Jasper White and Ana Sortun. Even if she never represented them, many notables were still her friends.

Lisa Ekus's official Guinness World Record certificate.HANDOUT

“The highlight of my career was cooking and hosting Julia Child at my dining room table,” says Ekus. And, she has amassed a lot of cookbooks. In 2019, with a mere 4,000 cookbooks and change, Ekus applied for a spot in the Guinness World Records. Her staff had read about a woman who held the record, but she had just over 2,000. “They said to me, ‘You could beat her, hands down, as you have more than double her number of cookbooks.’”

So began a 10-month process of organizing, counting, photographing, and videotaping the collection to meet the requirements. And while COVID delayed the process, news broke recently that Ekus had achieved the Guinness World Record for the largest private cookbook collection with 4,239 books. As she draws closer to retirement and gets ready to pass the reins to her partner and daughter, Sally, she is selling a portion of her collection, predominantly those penned by her clients. There will be cookbooks from the late 1800s, spiral-bound books from decades ago, and first editions covering almost every food topic and category. Many of them are brand new. The sale is in the garage of her Hatfield home on Sat., Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. Each book is $5, regardless of its size or condition. 57 North St., Hatfield. Cash or check. For questions, contact Lcecooks@Ekusgroup.com.



Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.