The signs are easy to spot: A pile of well-thumbed cookbooks occupying the kitchen benchtop; a calendar featuring cupcakes, teapots or obscure vegetables; a much-loved collection of recipes accidentally dusted with icing sugar or cocoa; shelves groaning under the weight of fully-illustrated foodie tomes.
The diagnosis is unambiguous: here lives a cookbook junkie.
If this describes you, or someone you know, then there's good news and bad news. The good news is that a newish concept store called Scrumptious Reads is certain to cater to your every craving; the bad news is that it will make your culinary book addiction even worse.
As soon as I stepped inside this beautifully-designed Fortitude Valley store and under the wooden apple tree branches near the entrance, I was hooked. For not only does Scrumptious Reads stock a cornucopia of food-related titles, it also sells all manner of kitchenware - heavy silver salad servers and dainty teacups, tear-off placemats, tumblers, wine charms.
A range of bite-sized foods and drinks, which vary according to the season, are also available to sample. We tasted Christmas cake filled with rum-soaked fruits and two different types of tea. (There's also the sister cafe outside if you're seeking something more substantial.)
A further delight involved twirling paddlepop sticks loaded with locally-cultivated honey courtesy of Bee One Third and sampling a slice of honeycomb. 'It's just like chewing gum,' says Scrumptious Reads' owner Julie Tjiandra. The hives from which this honey is cultivated are located on top of the James Street building as part of Bee One Third's admirable vision to 're-home wild colonies of bees into hives and onto the rooftops of the city'. Oh, and to educate people about where real food comes from.
Here's the buzz. Bee One Third image.
Scrumptious Reads is a natural outgrowth of Tjiandra's own love of culinary books and, in many ways, represents an extension of her personal library.
She delights in obtaining whatever foodie titles customers are seeking - from the common to the esoteric - but don't expect Scrumptious Reads to stock all the latest offerings from celebrity chefs. 'We don't stock the Jamies and the Nigellas because you can find those books anywhere,' Tjiandra says.
Pointing out that Scrumptious Reads is more than just a culinary bookstore, Tjiandra says her aim is to support local businesses and provide a hub 'for those who are gastronomically curious to meet and exchange ideas'. Accordingly, Tjiandra hosts events like talks, tastings and demonstrations, forging local links and collaborations with experts in food-related fields.
I find myself musing about this business model over breakfast the next day. It's kind of reassuring that despite digital doomsayers predicting the death of print books, that some old-fashioned things (supportive neighbours, face-to-face relationships, sharp customer service and beautiful print books filled with full-colour pages of food) still have the ability to triumph.
I take a spoonful of honey and swirl it over porridge, grateful that both the jars of honey and the takeaway containers glistening with honeycomb are available to purchase from Scrumptious Reads.
It's only then I notice that our honeycomb came complete with a bee who'd evidently pollinated his final flower, in a final nod to authenticity.