Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: Cold and rainy
Our feeling about cookbooks may be an indicator of our feeling about the people and events associated with food as much as the food itself. I used to wonder about my grandmother sitting for an hour or so just reading cookbooks when I knew she had no intention of cooking the recipes she was reading.
I was more inclined to take the utilitarian approach to reading cookbooks–you read to find the recipe you wanted– while she took the entertainment approach or perhaps the purely nostalgic approach to reading cookbooks. I understand her motives better now, as I see the recipe my mother used for jam cake or read one for roast leg of lamb from my husband’s family cookbook.
Not counting those cookbooks published as a collection from church members or local organizations as fundraisers, cookbooks are sold for two basic reasons–either for the buyer to give or for the buyer to use. The former category sold as gifts tend to be cookbooks around a theme or a particular food such as The Gourmet Cookie Book or the Williams-Sonoma Stir-Fry Cookbook. These gift books also include regional books such as the “Cornbread Nation” series, which is now up to #5 in the series.
The group of cookbooks for personal use is dominated by standards such the New York Time Cookbook, James Beard’s American Cookery, and The All-New Joy of Cooking (although I still love the earlier edition). These standards may become gifts within families or among very close friends.
I have some questions about how recipes on the web will affect the sale and collection of cookbooks. Has anyone explored that? I’m just starting to look at [email protected], and I know there are many others. Has anyone used their Kindle to read a cookbook? Will electronic publishing overtake print in the kitchen? Interested to hear your replies.