From The Tree: Recipe Books v Online

Posted at December 1, 2011 by 2 Comments

The age old (well 10 year) conundrum….good old fashioned recipe books versus the glass-fronted box of infinite knowledge for recipes that deliver perfection.

I decided to take this months theme ‘from the tree’ literally.

As a frequent purveyor of recipe books my partner often questions my persistent need to fill our flat with, as he (in my opinion unjustly) labels it, tat.

A few of you die hard foodies, I feel I may already have on my side. However, as my passion has now occupied not only the kitchen shelves but the office library & a purposely bought shelving unit in the living room, I feel I owe it to the man to investigate whether I can move this passion to the digital age.

There are several ‘modes of delivery’ online to which one could argue suits any style & level of cook. The apps one can download onto your smart phone/tablet PC I have to admit are handy should you wish to take a ‘paint by numbers’ approach in the kitchen. For instance a plague of laziness or freak blizzard has descended upon your house & you find yourself lumbered with four eggs, horseradish, a stale bit of Hovis & the water in your tap, a few keystrokes later & you have a dish Delia would have been proud of.

I can hear my little books now, quivering in their covers, whispering…where’s the creativity people?!? In this digital age of quick fire recipes are we quelling the fires of youthful innovation by encouraging the use of some Silicon chip scanning through a bunch of keywords?

As a counterbalance to this I have to admit that when it comes to perfecting the basics for example, French Macarons, the bastion that is YouTube provides a cacophony of videos showing you exactly how that bowl of ingredients should look before you pipe them out…it’s just a matter of sorting the wheat out from the chaff…you can’t get this from the glossy stills in a book.

To me there seems nothing finer than purchasing a fat new recipe book on a new cuisine I’m trying. Sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea & my tab stickers marking out the starters I’m going to try on unsuspecting friends & family. This is a Sunday morning well spent. No stress of meandering online through numerous websites with no ability to store everything all pretty in a central location.

A chefs nature is to ’tinker’…where and how do you do this online? A black book of your own collection of recipes and creations versus a black tablet that might not appreciate so much the gunk you will inevitably spill on it. I can see it now: messy kitchen equals fucked-up eReader.

Something like Eat Your Books is a clever idea but how often do you stumble across recipes where the author has paired ingredients or styles together in an interesting way you would have never have thought of? Next time whilst you’re narrowing down your search criteria, think about this.

Shy of setting the things alight, your recipe books are going to last longer than the battery on your kindle ever will. As much as we all think of todays technology as reliable everyone has heard of those horror stories of crashing computers and lost files.

I’ve rambled such to the point that I will not have left you in much doubt as to which side I’m swaying on this one…Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to technology but to me it’s a question of form over function. Aside from recipe books being developed with ‘on-page’ demonstration clips I’m afraid darling boyfriend you’ll have to suffer for some time my penchant for buying recipe books…


Category : Geekery,Reviews,Themed
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About Macaron Mistress

I love all things food. Food food food food food. My not so secret indulgence are fancy restaurants which cause you to have a Meg Ryan, When Harry met Sally moment, right there in front of the other diners. My Twitter name was borne out of an obsession with Macarons...spending hours at a time perfecting those little french fancies is my idea of fun and time well spent... I geek out over: Macarons, Michelin Stars, Baking Twitter: @macaronmistress

2 Responses to “From The Tree: Recipe Books v Online”

  1. BKR says:

    I agree with a lot of this. As I think of it, books are the source of inspiration, technology the source of verification. The internet is excellent for distilling your own version of classic dishes, reading across multiple sources from different eras. It’s a brilliant creative tension: seek “new” ideas from “old” books; check “old” ideas with “new” technological gadgets. Great article! :-)

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I do enjoy the ease of looking up a quick recipe online but there is nothing like spending hours pouring over a new cook book. My collection is ever expanding!!


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