Monday, December 13, 2010


Do you use cookbooks?

I'm wondering because I have a stack of beautiful, coveted cookbooks, some brand new, some food-bespeckled family heirlooms, collecting dust on a shelf in my kitchen. Not to mention the two or three dozen glossy and slick food magazines also slipping and sliding out of their neat and tidy stack everytime I even look in their direction.  Sure, I pull them out from time to time to browse their pages. I'll plop down on the kitchen floor and before I know it, I've wasted an hour flipping through recipes, long having forgotten what I was originally researching. 

But for the most part, I do not use cookbooks. I love them. I want them. I collect them. But I don't use them. Most of my recipes come from my mom or from the internet. I'll see something posted on a blog or forum, and I have to cook it. Or if I'm in search of a specific recipe, I am more likely to search or my favorite food blog before heading to my stack of cookbooks. Perhaps it's a generational thing. Whenever I have a query, I lunge for my laptop and google it. In seconds, I have 354,937 websites at my disposal to inform me that Judd Nelson is not dead, the Belmont bus picks up at 9:14 am, and pentatonic scale is the five notes commonly used in music. (What did we do before the internet?!)

I've only recently realized my cookbook-collecting-but-not-using tendencies because I am reading Julie and Julia and she constantly, of course, talks about Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It has made me envious. I want a copy of MTAOFC. Why? I'm not sure because it will certainly end up on the dusty shelf with my other neglected cookbooks. Nonetheless, I want it.

I think it's because cookbooks are like porn for me. I get all excited about looking at new recipes, seeing the way other foodies combine ingredients or complete recipes to create a delicious meal. And the pictures . . . well, those are just the bee's knees. I could look at food pictures all day.  Now, of course I could get all those recipes and pictures online, but it's just not the same. I like the idea of holding a book in my hands (and the smell--which is why I will never own a Kindle), especially a cookbook, especially the Joy of Cooking that I own that once belonged to my grandmother that was a gift from my mom to her. I like the history of that book. And though you can easily browse your internet history, it's just not the same as opening a book and seeing a hand-written Christmas greeting from your mom to your granny on the inside cover, dated years before you were born.

So anyway, those are my thoughts on cookbooks. I'm wondering if you use cookbooks or feel about them the same way as me or if you have a favorite cookbook?

Bon Appetit!
The Food Whore


Jenn said...

I collect cookbooks too! I do however use them but only on occasion. My hubby is in the army and we travel so I try to collect the "home-grown" or local cookbooks from each location we visit or are stationed. I'm not much of a cook but I can follow a recipe which is my only saving grace.

Jen said...

I love reading through cookbooks for inspiration, but even when I want to make something from a cookbook, I find it online to read the reviews and print it so I don't get my cookbook dirty. I do have a huge stack of cookbooks and just recently went through them and took a bunch to Goodwill.