Glorious cookbooks …
Glorious cookbooks …
Glorious cookbooks …
There’s nothing like curling up with a good cookbook! While it is convenient to use electronic searches to find recipes, cookbooks are special and are still very relevant. Cookbooks are more than a collection of recipes: they are artful compilations of recipes, photos and art, narratives and anecdotes assembled for those who love to cook. Cookbooks are tactile and physically present. Cookbooks are very popular. In fact, October is National Cookbook Month!
Once upon a time, a woman would receive a basic cookbook as a wedding gift and would use it for the rest of her life. In our mothers’ generation, The Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker, and Fannie Farmer cookbooks were favorites. These cookbooks were treasures of recipes for good, basic recipes and were often handed down. They are still valued in today’s kitchens.
As Americans’ palates expanded, cookbooks diversified to bring different cuisines into homes. Cookbook collections expanded as well. Cooks could learn to make Italian, Chinese, Mexican, French, and many different ethnic cuisines. Some cookbooks specialize in different courses, such as soups, salads, meats and desserts; others specialize in specific ingredients, such as chocolate, garlic, or SpamTM. Chefs often have their own cookbooks, as do cooking schools and cooking shows. It is not unusual for a restaurant to publish a cookbook of its favorite recipes and some restaurants publish series of books. TV shows, movies, radio shows, and literature have cookbooks. Some cookbooks are laced with narratives, stories and anecdotes about the region, the cuisine, the chef and life in general.
Cookbooks are a doorway to trying new foods, cuisines and cooking techniques. Depending on your comfort level, you can stretch your skills and palate by exploring recipes using esoteric ingredients or a completely different cuisine. You can sharpen your repertoire with new recipes or tweak old favorites. Another wonderful aspect of cookbooks is the pleasure of reading recipes, getting ideas for your own dishes, looking at gorgeous photos, and slipping into someone else’s kitchen for a spell. And, perhaps, the greatest gift is a cookbook that was thoughtfully purchased for a dear friend or cousin.
United In Food tries to find cookbooks associated with regions. The cookbooks featured on www.unitedinfood.com either focus on regional cooking, are written by local chefs, or showcase regional products. We do not critique books; we try to provide information about the book, the organization, a general idea of its focus, and the reasons it is tied to a region. We do not recommend where to purchase the books; we provide publisher information so you can order it from an online venue, your local bookstore, or the library. If you know of a regional cookbook we’d love to hear from you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to find a cookbook? Let United In Food help! Click on the “Select Region” drop-down menu and choose the area. Then, click on the “Select Category” drop-down menu and choose “Cookbooks.” Peruse the opportunities and get cooking!
Q: Cookbooks are so old-school. Can’t I just look up a recipe online?
A: Of course! Using online searches provides quick access to millions of recipes from many different sites. It is so convenient to set up your laptop, tablet or smart phone on the kitchen counter and find recipes on-the-fly.
Q: Why would I use cookbooks anymore?
A: Cookbooks are a tactile pleasure and a visual feast where one page leads to the next, opening all sorts of possibilities. Cookbooks are solid; they are present. Cookbooks are artful compilations of recipes, photos and stories. You can tell that a lot of work, thought, and self have been put into them.
Q: Where can I find cookbooks?
A: Bookstores (online and brick-and-mortar) are the best place to find them. You can peruse the shelves (or searches) and compare. Libraries have extensive collections. Cooking and kitchen stores and schools sell them.
Q: How much do they cost?
A: Cost varies widely, depending on the author, the topic and the size of the book. You can generally expect to pay $15-$30 for most cookbooks.
Q: Aren’t cookbooks for beginners or novices?
A: Some of them are, but most cookbooks are purchased by people who are comfortable in the kitchen. Many are purchased by people with large collections of cookbooks. We won’t name names, but some people have entire walls devoted to bookshelves filled with cookbooks.
Q: Are there regional cookbooks?
A: The breadth and variety of cookbooks is astounding. There are cookbooks based on movies and TV shows (Harry Potter has a cookbook as does Tony Soprano). There are many regional cookbooks whose recipes are based on regional cuisines and ingredients, that showcase local restaurants, or that are written/created by local chefs.
Q: How do I find cookbooks about my region?
A: Use this website. Under the “Select Region” drop-down menu, choose a region. Under the “Select Category” drop-down menu, choose “Cookbooks.” You will find a list of cookbooks in that region.