Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Sep 9, 2009 09:20 AM

Death of a cookbook

The Internet is now my recipe go-to place. A YouTube video is worth a thousand pictures. The books I buy now are more readable tracts, like 'Wild Fermentation', 'Charcuterie' or 'On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen'. Joy of Cooking et al now rest in the basement bookcase alongside 100 Wheatgrass Recipes and The Cuisine of Saskatchewan. The scrapbook has survived.

Has the information age changed your use of cookery books?

Edit: Forgot to mention that a laptop resides permanently on one counter.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not really. The internet is so full of bad or wrong "information" and recipes that still I prefer recipes from reputable cookbooks and established authors. Out of any site, I trust epicurious the most, but still don't use it all that much.

    2 Replies
    1. re: babette feasts

      I agree. I occasionally google to get info or a recipe for something specific but I'm very wary of a lot of the 'experts' out there (although just because a recipe is in print doesn't mean it's going to work either). I'm passionate about cookbooks (and books in general) and I don't believe that the internet or even Kindle will ever replace the joy of curling up with a good book. At least I hope not!

      1. re: babette feasts

        I agree- for techniques there is nothing better than those tried and true- Joy of Cooking etc...but for inspiration I can definitely see using the internet etc...

      2. If I am looking for a specific recipe, I will occasionally go to Epicurious. Other than that, I really enjoy cookbooks, not only for the recipes, but just to read. I think you can learn a great deal about an area from a regional cookbook. How and what people eat tells alot about how they live IMHO. I love to curl up in a comfortable chair with a good cookbook. Not so much fun with my laptop. But maybe I am just old-fashioned that way.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Mothership

            I use Epicurious alot for recipes from Gourmet Magazine, but otherwise am pretty wary of recipes I find randomly on the internet, unless I have good reason to trust the source. I'm a cookbook person. I like having the book as a reference, and to read.

          2. Allrecipes is my favorite... lots of recipes and I enjoy reading the reviews and tips from other members.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shnda99

              I enjoy allrecipes too... especially reading the reviews.
              I find it funny how people will give a recipe one star, but admit that they didn't follow the recipe.

              "This recipe is horrible, but I made substitutions and added more xyz. I do not recommend this recipe at all."

              What that really means, "I'm a great cook so my changes to the recipe should have improved the recipe, not ruin the recipe."


            2. I like Google if I'm looking for something like a chocolate cake recipe that includes buttermilk--way faster than dragging ten books down and flipping through the pages. But I still loves my cookbooks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: coney with everything

                I do this a lot too - when I'm looking for a recipe to use up ingredients I have on hand I generally - but not always - turn to the internet.

                But I have close to 500 cookbooks and I love them all. I read them for pleasure, I cook out of them regularly and I use them for research etc. The internet will never ever replace books for me (of any kind.)

              2. Sometimes I wonder if I'm turning into an old fart. I don't have a Facebook account (in spite of my friends trying to change that), I don't twitter, I don't text, I don't have a PDA, I don't have Kindle and I still book appointments with pen and paper. In fact, I was on the hunt for mercury thermometers last weekend! I'm scared that in 20 more years I'll be one of those people bitching about the good ol' days when pizza was 75 cents versus $10 a slice. I do browse the Internet and print out recipes from time to time and stick it into a binder for future use. But there's nothing more precious to me than reading a cookbook. Perhaps it's a tactile thing. I love touching an actual book and flipping through pages. I also hate reading off a computer screen for various reasons. So even though I may use the net a lot, there will always be a special place in my heart for cookbooks.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Miss Needle

                  What she said.

                  That's me almost exactly. Although I use the internet quite a bit, it is no substitute for a book in my hands.

                  I also agree with “babette” above pointing out that the internet is hardly a reputable source for information.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Amen. I enjoy reading the actual books. There is no comparison...also, the design, the pictures etc all add to the experience. Not so much on the internet. However, I do use my iphone with wholefoods recipes and epicurious recipes when not cooking at home, But nothing even comes close to the enjoyment I get from my cookbook collection!

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      That's me as well, (apart from I am on Facebook). My boyfriend laughs at me because I regularly read cookbooks in bed!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Me too, also in the bath. Tub edge is very good for supporting the ones that are too large and unwieldy to hold up in bed!

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Some of mine are flagged!
                          (For all of you Seinfeld fans)

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        I agree completely. I do use the Internet to search for recipes--usually when I'm at work or away from home, but also when I know there are several versions of a recipe, too. I have used the library for some cookbooks, but usually I end up buying them in the end. I have cookbooks all over my place as well--by my bed, on the dining room table, in the living room--but I love just pulling up a comfy chair by my cookbook corner and flipping through them, either for a specific recipe or technique or just to investigate which one I want to cook from next.

                        Oh, and I'd never want my laptop on the counter -- too little available space, and too much room for error. :)