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Monday, February 13, 2017

How the Internet Changed the Way I Cook

I thought about making that a click-bait headline, but I resisted.

I have a large collection of cookbooks, several dozen at least, some from before 1950, most from the 1980s. But they mostly just collect dust these days. If I need a recipe for something, I just turn to my trusty friend Google. The biggest drawback to cooking with Google, though, is that I'm real comfortable having my laptop on the kitchen counter next to things that could potential kill it, like eggs or milk or hot stoves. So I can either keep it on a table away from the food, which means running back and forth to check the recipe, or I can kill a tree and print it out. And then end up with a giant stack of papers for recipes that I may never make again because next time I have the urge to cook that thing, I go to Google, not the messy stack of printouts in my recipe bin.

Every once in a while, I will pull out the cookbooks and just browse through them. The pictures are gorgeous, except that one 70s cookbook where everything is just kind of creepy and weird, even the food. I'm not looking for a particular recipe, I'm looking for inspiration for something new, something different than my usual recipes.

That's the trouble with Google—most of the time you have to know what you are looking for. Recipes can be an exception. I'll decide I feel like making an Indian dish and end up in an ethnic recipe rabbit hole for several hours. It's a fun trip and I usually end up with a pile of new ideas to try. Usually, though, it's just too much. Too many different directions, too many choices.

So, this boils down to a question for you, my readers. Should I take my recipes I publish here every week and turn them into a cookbook? Should that cookbook be paper or ebook? Long or short? Should I do multiple cookbooks that each focus on one thing, like cookies or hamburger dishes? What would you be willing to pay for such a book? If there is enough interest, I'll do it.

Last question, mostly for fun—What's your favorite go-to recipe collection (website or book)? Mine is my old trust 1970s Betty Crocker Cookbook.