The Daily Feed: Cookbooks, a Love Story?

With many food magazines continuing to struggle, you might assume that all cooking enthusiasts have migrated online. Many have, to be sure, but there’s still an avid and stalwart demographic who refuse to give up the printed page: cookbook lovers.

Yesterday on NPR, The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik and food writer and cookbook author Monica Bhide discussed our continued national obsession with cookbooks.

Gopnik likened many modern cookbooks to grammar books, filled with rules and precise instructions that teach practical skills, like how to sauté, or how, even, to boil water.

But Bhide, author of Modern Spice (Simon & Schuster, 2009), added that many enthusiasts adore cookbooks not only for their recipes, but for their stories.  “[S]ome of my favorite, favorite books are books I've never cooked from.” 

My own swollen collection contains cookbooks I read because I enjoy the prose, those I cook from but don’t linger over, and a select happy few that occupy both categories.

And you?  Do you use cookbooks as a blueprint to follow with precision, or as a source of inspiration? Or have you given up on the printed page altogether?


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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