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Jan 10, 2012 04:59 AM

Internet or Your Cookbooks - Which are You Using More ?

Will one ever take the place of the other?

If you are on the "net" a lot, what are you actually looking for that you can't find in your trusty cookbooks?

Do you feel you are spending more time than you care to on the "net" searching for this or that recipe, technique or opinion?

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  1. Since I became a member of, I am now much more likely to use my cookbooks since I can search them for a specific recipe, ingredient or type of food. I prefer working from a book, but that is not to say that I don't frequently use the internet for recipes as well.

    13 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Same for me. EYB is awesome. I have a crazy number of cookbooks - and growing! - but I used to rely on the internet almost exclusively because it was such a pain to look through the indexes of a dozen books to find what I want.

          I aso have an entire file box filled with recipes that I never get around to using at all, but am in the (very slow) process of adding them all to Pepperplate, my new favorite app. Wish the two could be combined to truly have all my recipes in one spot, but boy the 'add your own recipe' feature in EYB is tedious; it's 1000 times easier in Pepperplate! Also wish EYB had mobile apps.... But maybe I'm getting spoiled :)

          1. re: GardenFresh

            EYB is just wonderful, but thanks so much for the Pepperplate recommendation. So simple to have all online recipes in one spot

            1. re: GardenFresh

              Thank you -- thank you GardenFresh, for mentioning Pepperplate. I've been looking for something like that forever. Now, at last, I can get rid of looseleaf binders and folders stuffed with recipes I've clipped from newspapers and magazines or printed from websites. Yes, it'll be a tedious process to get them onto Pepperplate -- a bit easier to transfer recipes I've got in Word documents -- but then, it'll be like my own personal online cookbook. I'm SO excited! I have a weekend project ahead of me.

              1. re: GardenFresh

                Pepperplate....I just put a recipe on there from my "documents" file & now I popped back over here to thank you so much for posting the link. This is wish I had someone to hand type all my recipes from clippings, recipe cards & hand written from friends.

                Was looking at hand held scanners on Amazon...wonder if that would work using all the recipes we need to put on Pepperplate. Maybe someone will read this & give us an opinion as to whether they work or not. Sure would make our live easier.

                1. re: cstout

                  I can't say for sure since I only discovered Pepperplate yesterday, but I'm guessing scanned images will not upload. I say that because PDF files don't work, either. Or, at least I can't find a way to make them work.

                  I've been adding some of my hand-written recipes manually. Then, depending on the source and the sentimental value of the original, decide whether to toss it or save it.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    You can scan to a text file with OCR software. You will need to proofread it carefully, but when it's correct, it can be copied into a number of places.

              2. re: roxlet

                roxlet I completely agree with you. Since joining EYB, I rarely use anything except my cookbooks. Prior to becoming a member Epicurious and Food & Wine mag online were my two main sources of inspiration. I love EYB!

                1. re: roxlet

                  Agreed. EYB is wonderful for those of who have invested in cookbooks. I want to also mention that a good cookbook, as opposed to a book of recipes, usually has a wealth of good information, as well as recipes grouped by subject or food. You can find some good information on the web, but it might not be indexed in any useful way so that you can find it again.

                  But there are some good recipes on the web. I like to poke around an look at recipes online.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Thanks so much for the pointer to EYB! I immediately signed up and started entering my cookbooks. I have a modest collection, but I realized that there are many nice ones that I just tend not to use. This is going to be a lot of fun to use.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Wow, EYB is a cookbook hoarders dream. How have I never heard of this before? I signed up shortly after you posted, and it's brought life back into several underused cookbooks.

                      The labeling could be better. For example, although recipes from newer books are labeled with vegan/vegetarian, this doesn't seem to the a consistent convention for older books.

                      They just added an "Add to EYB" button to stick on your browser toolbar. At present, all it does is import the title and url of a recipe, and you have to manually add everything else in. Hopefully they'll allow imports ala, but I'm not holding my breath for either of these sites--- unless a site allows you to export your data, I'm wary that they'll go out of business one day and take along all my recipes with them.

                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        hyperbowler, yes, I have thought about them going out of business too one day, or maybe going up sky high on the subscription, but that is the chance you have to take, I guess.

                    2. Over recent months, we've used our cookbooks more than the web. That's because we've made a conscious effort to use them.

                      1. I definitely use the Internet more to look for recipes. I find that a lot of cookbooks are full of recipes that use exotic ingredients, when usually I just want to make everyday food. I also find the Net more useful when looking for recipes that will use up a particular ingredient. Cookbooks do have the benefit (usually) that the recipes in there are tried and true and I think cookbooks are better for inspiration.

                        Sometimes I search the Net or look at cookbooks for inspiration as to what to make for dinner and I spend so much time looking at lots of lovely things that I end up getting too hungry to wait for anything that takes too long to cook that I just end up having my fallback pasta with a tin of tomatoes, spices and cheese for dinner.

                        1. Definitely using the net more. I look at several recipies for the same food, then make it. If there are too many ingredients or exotic ones I don't have I keep going til I find one that is suitable. In this day and economy I don't need to have to purchase a bunch of spices I will never use again. I already have more than 2 cabinets full of spices, most of which I do use. Some of the cookbooks have long involved directions and methods, after 46 years of cooking, I want it easy, tasty, and get me out of the kitchen fast. My knees won't take standing for long periods of time anymore. I haven't ruined a meal from the net yet, so will keep using it. And we do not use prepared foods from the stores. I am a from scratch cook.

                          1. Recipes I am interested in get copied into Word format and stored on my hard drive and, of course, backed up on DVD and or flash drives. I suspect most of my recipes were obtained online. I do have several cookbooks and try to transcribe the recipes I am interested in. That is sort of a work in progress but I do a little every day. I plan to eventually do away with most of my cookbooks. I plan to keep the ones that are more instructive than just compendiums of recipes.

                            I print a recipe and use it for cooking. After the meal I throw it away. I may go back to the computer and add notes about future variations to the recipe.

                            Because of the proliferation of recipes on the web, cookbooks that are only collections of recipes have much less value. You can find almost any recipe or something very close on the web.

                            All that being said, I still have and buy cookbooks but not as many as I once did. I know a lot of people really enjoy cuddling up to a cookbook and reading them and looking at the photos but that isn't me.

                            I, especially, like that web site recipe sites provide feedback from other cooks about what they thought of the recipes. They often provide variation ideas, too. If a recipe on Epicurious has 200 or more reviews, it's probably a winner.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              Very much the same here: I search online first and print off those I know I will use. These become part of my recipe organizer. It holds the recipes I use over and over again.

                              I also have a long list in my favorites column. And user reviews are very helpful.

                              The one book I use repeatedly (and it is quite literally falling apart) is the Betty Crocker 40th Anniversary Cook Book. The baking powder biscuits and the pie crust recipes just work for me.