Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why Cookbooks Matter in a Pinterest World

Funny story - I received a bunch of gift cards for Christmas, for both Amazon and Powell's Books.

For a while I've been circling various craft books, whether it's paper craft, needle felting, what have you. But the thing is, new hobbies take time.

And - I've got books to write. Food books, not needle-felting books. So after hemming and hawing over using the gift cards to get started on something new, I decided to take what is, likely, the wiser path.

I bought cookbooks. Real, paper, hand-bound cookbooks.

This was not a sacrifice - I love cookbooks. I use them to plan meals, to research recipes, and as springboards for new recipes.

Don't get me wrong - I love online recipes. If you've poked around my Pinterest boards, you know this to be true. And while I've certainly found winners, I find that online recipes don't replace cookbooks.

For one thing, cookbooks are written and produced by people who know what they're doing. It's not some random home chef in Nova Scotia who happens to be handy enough with a camera to make a recipe look like it works, it's (ideally) someone who's logged some serious hours in the kitchen.

For another, cookbooks are edited. You know an editor has spent a good deal of time checking and double checking the wording as well as the measurements. While there may be mistakes from time to time, they're more checked-over than your average blog post.

And - I won't lie - I think they're beautiful. Obviously, some more than others. Yes, I am swayed by the aesthetically pleasing book. I love one with pretty pictures, and you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm good with adding beauty to my life. And while one of my favorite books is fairly utilitarian - America's Test Kitchen's The Best Simple Recipes, it still has well-styled food shots and a clean design.

And lastly? They're curated. Every recipe is hand-chosen for that book. It's a collection, an experience. Some cookbooks will feel like a trip to France - like Dorie Greenspan's books. Others will feel like you're in a friend's kitchen, like Ree Drummond's books. Some books will take you to your favorite bakery, or a back to a favorite vacation.

I love them. And bless my husband for moving them from home to home!

That's how I feel about cookbooks - what about you? Which ones do you use the most? Which are your favorite to look at?

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