Friday, June 12, 2015

The value of cookbooks

With the advent of the internet and the increasingly available food websites, cookbooks seem less and less necessary. I mean, who needs to buy a paper copy of something when you can easily do a search for recipes that use the ingredients you have in your fridge? Or watch how a recipe is created on YouTube? You'd need a dozen cookbooks to get the twelve different recipes you can find on one website for your annual Christmas party.

Well, I've got the dozen. And then some.

I guess you could call me a cookbook collector. I've met other cookbook collectors, and we all collect a little differently. Some collect for value, seeking out old and antique cookbooks. Others are looking for beautiful coffee-table books to read and display. Some simply want every cookbook they can get their hands on.

Me, I like the ones that offer something different. I want one of each. One from every country, one for every different kind of food (like pies, ice-cream, bread, pizza, get the idea). There's just one rule to stay on my cookbook shelf: I have to actually use the cookbook. If I keep skipping the cookbook because the food never looks appealing, or I've learned from sad experience that no one in my family enjoys the recipes, that cookbook gets donated. I consider my collection very selective and useful.

But why, you may wonder. Why have all those cookbooks taking up space when I could find everything online?

The internet is a wonderful thing, and I use to peruse it a lot before I began collecting cookbooks. I'd find a recipe and print it out, and then paste it into a book where I pasted all the recipes I cut out off of boxes and out of magazines. Because I like to have my recipes in hard copy. I like to change the amounts and the increments. I like to substitute ingredients. I like to write down on the recipe what I liked and what I did it and how many times I've made it.

I'm not patient enough to do that with the internet.

I'm always glad for the internet if I'm in a hurry or looking for something particular. But I'm not likely to give up cookbooks anytime soon.

What are your thoughts on cookbooks? Do you have any? Do you use them?



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In my pursuit to getting a cookbook published, I'm trying to develop my credibility as a food writer, and not just an author.