I love cookbooks. I love that they teach you how to make something and how they often tell the story about the food that you’re preparing. I’ve started to build up a decent cookbook collection in the last year or so. Some have been gifts, some were freebies, and some I bought. Of course, one thing about cookbooks is they’re not small, and recently I had to rearrange my bookshelf to make room for my library, which continues to grow.

Cookbooks Field & Stream

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have an iPhone (which is small) and I’ve downloaded eight Apps that are somehow related to food. If I want to make a reservation… I have an App for that. If I want to see what’s in season at the farmer’s market… I have an App for that. If I want to find a quick recipe… I have, er, three Apps for that.

The phone and the Apps are cool tools, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve never followed a recipe in the kitchen using my iPhone, and I doubt I ever will. For one, it’s just not practical. The screen is too small, I’d have to refresh the phone constantly, and the device would get filthy, if not damaged. I don’t have to worry about any of that, however, when I cook from a cookbook.

If I happen to get a splotch of grease or a splash of sauce on the page of a cookbook, who cares? A stain like that gives character to the book, like blood on a turkey vest or a fishing hat that’s faded after countless afternoons on the water. Then, the next time you flip to that stained page, you might think back on the moment it happened and smile. And there, without knowing it at the time, you’ve created a memory. Also, with cookbooks, you can share the recipes, either by lending the book to a friend or eventually passing it down to someone close to you. I have no plans of giving my iPhone away to anyone anytime soon.

But that’s just one home cook’s opinion. What do you all think: Are you a cookbook cook, or have you embraced electronic recipe resources in the kitchen? Or, for that matter, do you avoid recipes altogether and just wing it in the kitchen? –Colin