Who needs cookbooks when you have the Internet?
I’ll tell you who? We do!
A post that I saw the other day was talking about things that you don’t see in kitchens anymore. One of the things it mentioned was cookbooks. The author’s message was that cookbooks are old fashioned, because you can use Google to find what ever you want– any time you want it.
What if you don’t know what you want?
Do I use Google when I cook? Sure. I also use cookbooks. It isn’t an either/or proposition. Sometimes I don’t want every answer, just a smaller set of ideas. I want to cook, not search. Other times, I have an idea what I want to cook and I want to compare a few alternative approaches. Sure, I can find any number of options on the web, but as you may know yourself, all recipes are not created equal. Some just don’t work all that well. I have certain cookbooks that I trust will provide me a solid approach to a dish. I can take the recipe in that book and compare it to others – on the web or in other cookbooks. This gives me a predictable baseline to work with.
Sometimes I just don’t want to be at a computer.
Here are some of my favorite cookbooks – and why:
The Best Recipe (Series) by the editors of Cooks Illustrated Magazine
This series of books are a great resource for cooks of any level of experience. They tell you WHY something works – or doesn’t. They explain the science behind the recipes. This allows me to understand where I can get creative with my approach, and where I shouldn’t! I will often compare their approach to a dish to other recipes that I find.
[Get The Best Recipe]
Placer County Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny
This book is about seasonal farm-to-table cooking. The authors went to their local farmers market (in Auburn, CA) every weekend for one year. They then created a weekly Sunday night dinner from what they found. This cookbook is a catalog of those weekly dinner menus, arranged by date. It’s very inspirational to look up the current date and see what is in season. It motivates me to head to the local farmers market and get creative!
[Get Placer County Real Food]
Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m the ‘baker’ in the Foodology Geek duo. I find it much easier to get creative with flour, sugar, butter and eggs, than with savory flavors. This is the book I reach for when I need to get my diet ‘back on the rails’ with a guaranteed delicious dish. [Honorable mention goes to: The 30-Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Bill Staley and Haley Mason. I picked this one up at Costco one day on a whim. It contains some surprisingly good recipes!]
The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
I’m a very visual person. I LOVE cookbooks with great photography. This Baking Bible falls into that category, for sure. Sometimes I’ll simply flip it open to a page – any page – and use that idea as a starting point for some culinary creation. The photos in this cookbook are amazing! And, it’s not a huge coffee table book. It’s both beautiful AND practical.
[Get The Baking Bible]
Feed Zone Portables by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim
Lastly, sometimes cookbooks serve a special niche. Feed Zone Portables is a favorite in this category (honestly, partly because it is so unique). This book, tailored to endurance athletes, is full of recipes that you can literally put in your pocket and eat on the go. It even includes great nutritional information.
[Get Feed Zone Portables]
What are your thoughts on cookbooks? Do you use them? Do you have favorites? Let us know!
Tag us @foodologygeek and share some of your favorite cookbooks.
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