The cookbook section of the bookstore seems too large. Its size is baffling when one considers how nearly all recipes are on websites or in magazines alongside ‘handy tips’ for color-coordinating the kitchen and dining room tablecloth.
Why would one purchase a cookbook with these other options? Is it tradition? Tangibility? The attractive photographs?
It might be education.
Cookbooks force wannabe chefs to use weird ingredients instead of skimming over to different articles or websites. A newbie may need a cookbook’s structure in order to progress beyond porridge and toast. (Not that porridge was easy, of course…)
Buying the best cookbook is like enrolling in a cooking class—that is, if one can select a reliable cookbook.
Here are five suggestions for choosing your next cookbook:
1. Avoid cookbooks with time increments in the title, such as “Dinner in 15 Minutes!” or “5-minute Salads!” Adeptly learning a new skill should take time. You could easily replace speedy cookbooks with allrecipes.com or Cooking Light.
2. Look for cookbooks that include detailed instructions and photographs on how one should choose and work with ingredients. It doesn’t matter whether you use this information; it simply indicates that the authors care about quality. [Their recipes will probably taste better.]
3. Choose an area of ignorance. If you already know the basics of making desserts, resist the pretty cupcake cookbook and try granola instead. You could become the Master of Granola, which (by the way) is cooler than a Cupcake King or Queen.
4. Look at the ingredients. There should be enough familiarity to encourage you while enough oddity to make the dishes interesting.
5. Be attracted to the cookbook. This way, if you don’t cook as much as you intended, at least you will be able to put it on your shelf and think, “Wow. What a great-looking cookbook.”