A confession: I haven’t read books, other than on philosophy (more than a doctor orders!), since 1980’s. It was around that time I gave up watching television, too. Although I probably have missed many sensual experiences, a lot of mental space has become available for matters I consider important in life. And, don’t worry: I have been informed about the major events from the crumbling of Berlin Wall to the whispering of “I will” between William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Recently I’ve been doing a research on cookbooks. I’m surprised about the number of them. Food seems to become more important, less we have time to stay at home and, actually, to cook! Everyone has an opinion about eating. There are diets of all sorts.
The mood of presenting recipes has changed since the pre Julia Child era when I was young! The bestselling books, today, are often written by non-professional cooks. Without an encyclopaedic authority, they tell a story of family, friends and values. Along cooking instructions, they present a lifestyle.
I would like to discuss with you what is it that you are looking for in a cookbook? What would make you to buy it? Imagine yourself between the shelves in a book store or virtually online: what makes you pick one out of hundreds of books? What are you inspired by?
Do you read cookbooks like any other books, from cover to cover? Or, do you select the recipes that interest you and focus what is said about them? How many recipes do you try out? Are you more, less or equally intrigued by the personal narrative of the author than the collection of recipes? Does it matter to you how complex or simple the recipes are or how many of them there are? Do you read cookbooks on subjects outside your dietary preference?
If you were to compile the content and layout of a cookbook, what kind of book would you produce? Tell me, what is your dream book? What would make it different from the books that already exist? How would it catch your attention and make you grab it outside the kitchen, too, when relaxing in your favourite chair? Or, would you prefer reading it only while cooking? Are there qualifications you expect from an author?
A lot of questions, I know. I’m trying to organize my thoughts. Although I have a personal opinion about the subject, having lived in a barrel for the past 20 years, my experience in reading and buying books is so limited that I would like to understand how you observe the matter. Many of you are cookbook connoisseurs. I would appreciate letting your hair down in a brainstorming mode without worrying whether the idea is realizable or not. There are no right or wrong answers. I appreciate any input from you.
Thank you for your time and interest. And, sorry for the interrogation style!