Cookbooks versus the Internet

Today Barbara-jo addressed the debate of cookbooks versus online recipes on "On the Coast" with Stephen Quinn. (Follow the link to listen online.)

While we can all agree that the Internet is a useful and accessible tool, we at Barbara-jo's Books to Cooks unanimously agreed that a cookbook is infinitely better than using the Internet to find recipes.

During the interview, Barbara-jo discussed the fact that here at the shop, we place value on relationships and interacting with people. We feel that cookbooks inspire conversation and build relationships, ones that nourish and comfort.

Here are some of the other points she discussed:

1. Cookbooks reflect personality. When you purchase a cookbook, especially from an independent bookshop, you are most likely to take home a book that is entirely suited to your style of cooking, your personality and your current palate.

2. Cookbooks offer a well-rounded education. A cookbook puts a recipe into context of the cuisine you desire. You may want a recipe for Green Papaya Salad, but unless you have a book featuring Thai recipes, a book that also includes information on the ingredients and the culture, the nuance for the experience can be lost.

3. Cookbooks=history. People do not throw out their cookbooks. If they find they aren't using a particular book, they give it away to someone who will. This not only counters the debate that using the Internet is more environmentally friendly than cookbooks-it ensures that the history of food isn't lost. Many of us have cookbooks given to us by family members that are flour-dusted and written on, but these are the most valuable because they offer a glimpse into their lives and often, influence ours as well.
A recipe printed from the Internet gets tossed out either today or a month down the road when you decide you want to de-clutter your life. Books are carefully shelved-no matter how tattered they have become.

4. Cookbooks encourage communication. When cooking recipes from a book, you are more likely to want to chat about the results with your family, friends and co-workers. You are also more likely to share the recipe with someone else.

5. Cookbooks are credible. Each cookbook that is published has a name on it and usually a photo of the person behind the recipes. The book has been proofread and every recipe extensively tested.

6. Cookbooks will never give you 2,540,000 results. Sometimes it can actually take longer to find a recipe online for something simply because there are so many recipes to wade through, which brings us back to credibility.

7. Lastly, cookbooks offer us a chance to look after ourselves by approaching cooking with a sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Barbara-jo had a few words of advice to offer as well:

"Allow yourself the luxury of curling up in your favourite chair with a cookbook. Appreciate the consideration that everyone involved in its publication has taken to bring it to you. Take time to design your perfect menu and chat with your butcher and baker about the ingredients. Your greatest pleasure should be nurturing yourself, family and friends with good food."