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The future of cookbooks...


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I had a pretty interesting discussion with someone on YouTube about cookbooks. Basically, he said there's a new model for purchasing e-books by using NFTs. Essentially, at present if you buy a digital cookbook, you can't resell it but if you purchase a book with an NFT you can. 

 

I personally don't think NFTs add any value to a cookbook, so NFT cookbooks will not catch on, which is where we started talking about how cookbooks will/should/can evolve. I wanted to know what you all think of how the humble cookbook can evolve. At present, you can find most any recipe online within a few clicks so they need a little extra to encourage a sale. What is that? What makes you want to spend money on a collection of recipes? 

 

 

Tangentially, I stopped buying paper cookbooks several years ago as the last couple I purchased fell apart. I mean, the publishing companies have cut corners on the paper and the binding, so after a couple of years the start to fall apart. Has this happened to you? 

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I do not buy cookbooks for a "collection of recipes". I buy them for the story they tell, the passion they fuel, the nuance I might not have realized. I do not buy many. My last 2 were Falastin and The Rise, I have sold many but I keep a core collection. They tell the story of my evolution as a cook and food lover, and I find inspiration. 

 

I am aware of the  issues you present. Publishing has always been a hard game and the new avenues (that in ways mimic the music industry) make it tougher - but I personally still fnd that they have a place. They need to have content well above and beyond "a collection of recipes". When Sami Tamimi can tell me more honestly about the core of Palestinian issues than respected political journals I have to tip my hat. As to the physical "fall apart" I can only roll my eyes in disbelief.

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I have a LOT of cookbooks, probably in the upper hundreds in terms of count.  I read through them like novels, I write in the ones I use most often.  So for me, the book in my hands is part of the adventure (even if it is a culinary text or the compilation of essays from Laurie Colwin) and it's not the same for me scrolling through a blog on my phone or computer.  The next generation feels differently I am sure. 

 

I had to go look up what an NFT is ;)  and I agree that NFTs don't add much to cookbooks.  I've regretted loaning out all the cookbooks I never got back from the people who borrowed them (my original copies of Great Italian Desserts from Nick Malgieri, Jack Ubaldi's Meat Book, to name  just two) so perhaps I might be coerced into buying a digital copy just so I could have the recipes again (I bought another copy of the Meat Book and I can't get another copy of Great Italian Desserts :( as it's out of print). 

 

The only books that have ever fallen apart on me are the ones I've used constantly - The Cake Bible, the Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose's Christmas Cookie Book, Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts, Mastering the Art of French Pastry and Julia Child's Way to Cook.  The books fell apart because they were *well used* ;) so I bought second copies of them once I realized I was in danger of having to use elastic bands to hold them together!!

 

I expect that when/if we ever downsize, I will donate my cookbooks to the library.  I hope they will want them by then.

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14 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

I can't get another copy of Great Italian Desserts :( as it's out of print). 

 

 

Oh - sure you can...(eG-friendly Amazon.com link)..and it's under $10!

 

Nick was my pastry/baking teacher in culinary school!

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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On 4/15/2022 at 10:42 AM, JeanneCake said:

 

I have a LOT of cookbooks, probably in the upper hundreds in terms of count.  I read through them like novels, I write in the ones I use most often.  So for me, the book in my hands is part of the adventure

 

And here I thought I was the only person to do that. I have been known to take a cookbook with me, read each page, and visualize every step. And I love the science based books/cookbooks, like those from Herve This. ❤️

 

So your Cake Bible fell apart, too? That with my Bakewise were well used but I still have physical cookbooks from my mom and grandma where the binding is just fine, so I can't bring myself to forgive the publishers. 

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On 4/15/2022 at 2:08 AM, cteavin said:

I had a pretty interesting discussion with someone on YouTube about cookbooks. Basically, he said there's a new model for purchasing e-books by using NFTs. Essentially, at present if you buy a digital cookbook, you can't resell it but if you purchase a book with an NFT you can. 

 

I personally don't think NFTs add any value to a cookbook, so NFT cookbooks will not catch on, which is where we started talking about how cookbooks will/should/can evolve. I wanted to know what you all think of how the humble cookbook can evolve. At present, you can find most any recipe online within a few clicks so they need a little extra to encourage a sale. What is that? What makes you want to spend money on a collection of recipes? 

 

 

Tangentially, I stopped buying paper cookbooks several years ago as the last couple I purchased fell apart. I mean, the publishing companies have cut corners on the paper and the binding, so after a couple of years the start to fall apart. Has this happened to you? 

I used to buy cookbooks before because it was more convenient for me. Firstly I read the recipe and after that visited the shop to buy some products for cooking. Now I prefer to search for the recipes online - I have my little phone with me in the kitchen. But still I use my mom's cookbooks - they are so special for me. Repeating those recipes is a good way to remember good old times and to make my stomache happy :)

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On 4/14/2022 at 7:08 PM, cteavin said:

Tangentially, I stopped buying paper cookbooks several years ago as the last couple I purchased fell apart. I mean, the publishing companies have cut corners on the paper and the binding, so after a couple of years the start to fall apart. Has this happened to you? 

 

This is an issue for sure.  I have fairly new cookbooks which are in worse shape than some of my 50-year old plus ones.  It's like the bindings or glue dry out super quickly or something. And the book crunches when it's opened.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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4 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

This is an issue for sure.  I have fairly new cookbooks which are in worse shape than some of my 50-year old plus ones.  It's like the bindings or glue dry out super quickly or something. And the book crunches when it's opened.

Yes! With newer ones it is often uncomfortable to sit reading because the book tries to close itself. When I start to hear that crackle I stop but it is annoying to have to tilt your head to follow the page downhill towards the spine.

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In a good hardcover book the signatures are sewn, not glued. The cook book I've had the longest is my mother's Joy of Cooking. It is indestructible. Cookbooks really need to be made with sewn bindings. Most paperbacks are glued and are useless if they take the kind of beating a cookbook does. 

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  • 2 months later...

I own a lot of physical cookbooks and I own kindle cookbooks. 
Some of my favorite recipes has consistently come from good cookbooks. They’re generally more carefully cultivated and tested.

I’ve been cooking through Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook and even with the Spartan features of an old book the recipes are insanely good. It’s just hit after hit. 
That's not to say you can't get good recipes online, I just find the signal to noise ratio much worse than books.

Edited by streem26 (log)
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