Sunday is the day for food rituals. Trips to Trader Joe's and the farmers market. The pull-out-all-the-stops multi-course dinners. And the most sacred, Sunday mornings spent thumbing through cookbooks, food magazines and newspaper food sections in the search for new recipes to try. Although nowadays, when it comes to the hunt — as the folks upstairs like to say — we are platform agnostic. Which is why, increasingly, we're also plugging into our e-readers.
Cookbook connoisseurs will argue that it is very hard to replicate the thrill of taking a deep dive into a thick covered, glossy paged, beautifully photographed and regionally exhaustive cookbook. Even e-reader devotees admit that e-ink doesn't always translate well when it comes to the increasingly lush visual medium of cookbooks. However there are many advantages that e-readers have that actually makes them an excellent platform for cookbook lovers of all stripes. Skeptical? Turn the page for the top 5 reasons.
5. Space: There comes a time when the stack of cookbooks next to the couch has reached the height of an OSHA violation. But most e-readers can hold over 1,000 books — and the extra room means more than just adding new books to an existing collection or making up for the lack of space. Now there's no reason to risk getting splatters all over Grandma's handed-down first edition after getting an updated e-version. And the potential for dinner party bookshelf perusal embarrassment has decreased when it comes to picking up certain lifestyle cookbooks.
4. Bookmarks and Notes: There are ways to tell which is a favorite cookbook. It is full of dog-eared pages, has water stained scribbles in the margins and old grocery lists perpetually falling out it. All forms of e-readers have the ability to create bookmarks, which can be easily referenced to find must-try and favorite recipes fast. Also, the notes features can be used to add legible and permanent commentary to recipes that can include additions to warnings. Also, most of the e-readers have smartphone apps to reference these bookmarks and notes for double-checking ingredient list at the market or finding just the right recipe in a pinch when a favorite seasonal ingredient finally makes its return.
3. Samples: We all know the adage and yet, we're all guilty of it. Bookstore shelves are full of beautiful cookbooks with nauseating instructions or stale tables of contents. Recipes written as if the chef author expected us also to have a staff on hand to wash all bowls, pans and utensils left in its wake. And highly promoted cookbooks that crib their contents from last year's batch of best sellers. Most e-bookstores now allow readers to sample e-books before committing to buy. For cookbook lovers, this means an opportunity to cross-examine the table of contents and to taste test a few recipes at home, so now more cookbook purchases can be smart cookbook purchases as well.
2. Karma: And speaking of purchases. Cookbook collecting can be a pricey habit. However, e-versions of cookbooks often cost less than their hardcover counterparts, so it's a little less painful way to support those who research, test write, edit, manufacture and market cookbooks. And while cookbook sales continue to be strong, their magazine and newspaper brethren are still seeing circulation declines. For that reason, food magazines like Saveur and most of the newspapers with the best food sections are available through e-readers. These e-subscriptions are not only a case of good karma and value, but are also good for the environment because they don't have be physically delivered or thrown away.
1. Evolution: Just as tastes and dishes continue to evolve, so have e-cookbooks. There are now inexpensive single subject e-reader exclusive books like Bittman's Kitchen. Then there are a growing number of enhanced editions of e-books like Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home that contains videos to compliment the recipes from technique to plating. Finally, despite all the talk about buying books, there's a strong contingent of cookbook lovers and e-reader users that are about sharing, namely with other library patrons. With more e-readers adding library lending in the near future and an already strong catalog of e-cookbooks available at local libraries — space, cost, environmental concerns — nothing will stop us from the recipe hunt on Sundays and the days following.