Home Cooking


What I do NOT want in a Cookbook


Home Cooking 161

What I do NOT want in a Cookbook

Roland Parker | Dec 16, 2013 07:28 AM

Inspired by my visit to the bookstore the other day (and helpful hints for anyone who wants to get me a cookbook for Christmas!)

I do not want a cookbook that's so heavy I have to call over my son to carry it from the shelf to the countertop.

I do not want a cookbook so tall and wide that it can't fit onto the bookshelf.

I do not want a cookbook dedicated to your mind-blowing "discovery" trip through Italy. It was interesting and entertaining the first time it was done (Jamie Oliver?) but by now I really don't need to know about the ancient Nonna in the tiny village who taught you how to make pasta just right. I only want the recipe, thank you very much.

I do not want a cookbook where the photos are so colorful as to be distracting. I don't need to see you looking ever so the hipster on a scooter. And I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at, the dish or is that just a table centerpiece? I also really don't care about seeing you with your best friends and families and impossibly behaved toddlers sitting around a rustic farmhouse table.

I do not want a cookbook where the list of ingredients are spaced 1 inch apart on a sparse, minimalist page (and the list is always either too brief or too long). My inner toddler will only be tempted to smear tomato sauce all over that precious, beautiful page.

I do not want a cookbook devoted to the cuisine of a country but is divided by regions. So all the desserts are scattered throughout the book instead of bundled together at the end.

I do not want a cookbook that has several recipes crammed on one page, interspersed with anecdotes, while the opposing page is wasted on yet another beautiful photograph of a beautiful countryside or urban square. Again. And again.

And I hate to say this as I love to bake but I do not want yet another baking cookbook featuring identical brownie, cheesecake and macaroon recipes. I'm sure you're a wonderful baker but I'm looking at the shelf and there's a dozen of identikit baking cookbooks, beautifully illustrated with lovely photographs but offering nothing better than the heavyweights already on my shelf (Berenbaum, Carole Walter, Nick Malgieri etc). You may have fabulous hair but that's not enough to persuade me to swap my Berenbaum or Malgieri for you.

I do not want another cookbook on how to artfully stuff lemon up a chicken's bum. Marcella Hazan beat you to it thirty years ago.

You may have a world-famous restaurant. I'm sure it's brilliant. But I do not want your cookbook. Why? Because I know no matter how hard I try or how much time I take or how much money I spend, it'll never be as good as from your kitchen and there's a reason for it. I don't have my own sous-chef nor do I have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of high end kitchen technology to make the perfect green foam with the right amount of bubbles.

What about you all? What don't you want in your cookbooks?

Want to stay up to date with this post?