Food Blogs: Are Cookbooks Obsolete?

Cookbooks / AThing of the Past?

The New Virtual Food Phenomena

Have you noticed the proliferation of Food Blogs on the internet? Could this be the demise of "the cookbook"? As an avowed foodie and internet junkie, I have spent hours browsing these blogs for information, inspiration, and entertainment. I do have my favorites which you can find at another of my Hubs. These online journals cover everything from the culinary world. Cooking, recipes, cuisines from around the world, food culture, technique, amazing photography, and travel are just some of the subjects these blogs cover. And, with all the technological advancements of the blogosphere, these sites are, for the most part, very professionally done. And on top of all this, they're free! As we've seen with other print media, are cookbooks headed for extinction?

The majority of people today get they're information online. From news, sports, entertainment, health, fitness, technology, and business, the superiority of the internet is insurmountable. Television, magazines and other print media just can't compete. In the food world, all the information imaginable is at our fingertips. Just a click away. These food blogs have extensive amounts of information that any cook can research and use whenever the need arises. The better sites have fantastic food photography and some give step by step pictorials. The recipes are well written and easy to follow, even for beginners. Food blogs have a huge advantage that cookbooks aren't able to provide. Interaction! You're able, through comments or email, give immediate feedback to the author about your experiences whether good or bad. Having a problem? Drop a comment. Almost all well known cookbook authors have food blogs to supplement and promote their books.

My cherished Cookbook Collection
My cherished Cookbook Collection

OK, I'm Old School (Sometimes)

I have a confession to make. For years, I've collected cookbooks. My bookshelves contained up to 100 books about food and cooking. Now, my collection has been reduced to twenty-five of my most cherished editions. In the near future, cookbooks will survive the onslaught of the Internet information explosion. I believe that "baby boomers" will continue to buy and use cookbooks. We're still more comfortable with a physical rather than a virtual entity. The cookbook authors will have to have a strong presence in the media to be successful. Classic cookbooks, like Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Larousse Gastronomique, and The Joy of Cooking will always have a place in our food world. As time goes by, the younger generations will rely on the internet for their knowledge and technique on all things cooking. For me, there's a certain sensual pleasure when perusing through a cookbook, reading about the culture and history of a certain cuisine, seeing pictures of the food and discovering the recipes and flavors from around the world.

Believe it or not, there are blog directories devoted to nothing but food-related blogs. Obsessed? Maybe. It just proves the popularity of food and cooking with the convenience of online access. As with other forms of print media that are suffering from dwindling sales and subscriptions, the cookbook, as we known it, will be less of an influence in the future. Sad but true....

Here's some of my favorite food-related blogs

FOOD GAL Carolyn Jung is an award winning food journalist in Northern California. With a mixture of recipes, restaurant reviews, chef interviews, event announcements and recaps, you'll enjoy Carolyn's personable style.

FOOD NEWS JOURNAL FNJ is a daily rundown of what's hot online in the food world. Categories include: Food for thought, Best of the blogs, and Wine and Spirits. A must for foodies!

EPICURIOUS This giant all-in-one food website has the most extensive library of recipes on the web. There are also cooking tutorial videos, a blog and a forum.

101COOKBOOKS This cooking blog is devoted to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes. Heidi Swanson has over 100 cookbooks in her collection. She draws from these and creates her own inspirations.

Where do you get your food and recipe info?

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Comments 35 comments

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Even though I know there are recipes "out there" I still find myself preparing my time-tested favorites found within the dog-eared, food stained old cookbooks on the self! Nice hub Jai

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 7 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Thanks Green Lotus.

I still do have an affection for my cookbooks but, there are some really great blogs out there. I'm an adventurous cook, kinda fly by the seat of my pants. So, any information I can get gives me inspiration.

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

Interesting Hub. That's a lot of Cookbooks you collected.

I think they are nice to have particularly if you are into Foreign dishes. E.g Chinese Cooking, Indian Cooking, Med. etc.

Its nice to use them to experiment. There must be Millions of Cooking books on sale out there...

DK 7 years ago

I absolutely love cookbooks. I do like to look up recipes on line but I much more prefer to hold a book. I love looking at all the pictures and reading the recipes. I will fight for cookbooks to stay alive.

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

jai-there is still something special about the written word bound up in a book . . though i do like to rip a recipe from a magazine at times. . and the internet is always a great fast fix . . I still love to read with my hands around a good book!

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

I do agree that books will survive the onslaught of the internet, for a while. Now with Apple ipad and other similar devices that will be rolled out to make the internet more personalized, books, magazines and newspapers will go away.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

this is absolutely great hub. I enjoy reading all the content inside this hub. Good work, my friend.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Food blogging is a huge trend online and the food world is taking notice.

Carolyn Jung 6 years ago

I hope cookbooks never become obsolete, just like I hope newspapers (my former industry) never die, either. Finding stuff online is definitely easy and fast. But there's just something so wonderful about curling up on the couch with a great cookbook or the Sunday New York Times. Feeling it in your hands, and turning each page with hopefulness and wonder just can't be replicated with a Kindle or iPad.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

My cookbook collection is one of my prized possessions. But, with the quality of the food blogging community (yours in particular), I'm afraid print journalism will become a relic.

Thanks for the visit and comment, Carolyn! Ciao.

MotherHubber profile image

MotherHubber 6 years ago from Southern California

Great topic for a hub! I, too, love cooking. I love everything about it. Family recipes, food blogs, magazine articles, Food Network, you name it. Your hub got me thinking about my own cookbook collection, which has been pared down over the years. My favorites are dog-eared and well marked up with my comments (i.e. "This sucked - it didn't turn out well at ALL" or "Delish - Grandpa ate like 3 helpings") I always date my comments. I hope that down the line one of my kids takes up cooking and inherits my cookbooks. They're good for a laugh, and a meal shared with family and friends.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Good to see you, MotherHubber. I think there is a place for all the mediums. My cookbooks are still a great resource for recipes and cultural insights of the cuisines I enjoy. But, I find myself drifting to the internet more often nowadays because there's so much info. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Ciao!

liswilliams profile image

liswilliams 6 years ago from South Africa

This was great, Jai! I will never stop collecting cookbooks. Still must get the Larousse, though. I always refer back, adapt, get inspired Thanks again

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

I don't have Larousse myself, but my collection is probably one of my most treasured possessions. When I look at it realistically, cookbooks will eventually be an online thing in the future. Glad you enjoyed the read Lis, Ciao!

Shaun 6 years ago

I think cookbook publishers need to catch up and offer some sort of digital companion to their cookbooks, so you get both when you buy the book. I have 130+ cookbooks, love them all and I want to use them. But when I'm at work and thinking of what to cook my dinner (so I can stop at a store for ingredients on the way home) my cookbooks aren't in my office. So I end up using the Internet. Now, what if your cookbook came with a free iPhone/iPad app or something that you can unlock with a code that comes in the cookbook... and it at least lets you search the recipes and get the list of ingredients you need?

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Shaun, I truly believe that's where things are headed with print journalism. It's nice to meander through a beautiful cookbook when we have the time. But, after a busy day, answering emails, returning texts and twittering, the virtual world of cuisine is at your fingertips. Thanks, Ciao!

2uesday 6 years ago

I really like owning my cook books although I rarely use them to follow step by step in the kitchen. I like to look at them for ideas and to learn new techniques. As you can probably guess the majority of them are for Italian meals and one is of Greek recipes. I do n't know why my Italian mother-in-law never cooked Italian food for me so I could not learn the family recipes from her. Sorry I could not vote as in the poll as I wanted to tick more than one answer. :) Thank you.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

I, absolutely, would never trade my cookbooks for anything! But, as food journalists know, the future of cookbooks is digital. And, food blogs/websites are a great source of information for both recipes and technique. Thanks 2uesday for stopping by. All the best, Ciao!

hubpageswriter 6 years ago

There are lots of cookbooks in my mom's attic. I think she would love it if I can pass on to the future generation someday. Great hub. If you ask me, I'd say cookbooks are not obsolete. Not just yet.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

You're right hubpageswriter, cookbooks are still relevant today. But, in the near future, I think print journalism (books, magazines, newspapers etc.) will all go digital. Is that good or bad? I'm not sure. Thanks, Ciao!

Meathead 6 years ago

The problem is that many food bloggers do not have true expertise. I constantly hear about people trying recipes by amateurs that fail miserably ruining a meal and wasting money. There is some great stuff out there, but you want to pick your sources carefully.

When Gourmet mag went down some wags blamed blogs. I wrote about it on Huffington Post and discussed the problem of bad food blogs with Lynn Rosetto Kasper on NPR. Here's my Huff column:

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Meat, I'm a Gourmet Mag lover myself... Your right, there are a ton of food bloggers just out for the $$$ of IM. But really, how can print survive? It's impossible!!! Thanks for visiting and your passionate comment. Ciao...

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

We love GOOD food, I myself am very picky and so are my daughters in that they've enjoyed good food all their lives and much of what you meet up with doesn't compare. So to wit they are both very amazing cooks, they are 14 and 12 and have been cooking since they were two. They adore the food network and we are so fortunate to have such an amazing resource. Their favorite is Alton Brown, he teaches from the ground up in such an interesting way you don't forget it. It's amazing when learned with pleasure the things that stick in your mind. Cooking is a passion and I've found many who love it passionately don't rely on cook books much. We have an extensive collection of cookbooks as we adore reading as well. So we go with both, cookbooks for reading pleasure and contemplation as to what and how we may cook next, and the food network to watch and enjoy learning new magical elements about food and creating amazing experiences with food. Oh I did go on... Love FOOD! Love and Peace :)

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

I'm with you Katie... I use cookbooks for inspiration and enjoyment, not necessarily for the recipes. But our online resources are growing by leaps and bounds daily. Unfortunately, print media will disappear one day... probably not in our lifetime... but in the future. I'm impressed that your daughters love cooking (obviously Moms' passion, influence and enthusiasm for good living). And, I'm an Alton Brown fan also. He has that quirky sense of humor I enjoy. Always a pleasure to see you! Thanks my dear, Ciao...

gingerandy 6 years ago

My opinion only - it's not the there is info online its that you can search for recipes quickly. I have seen a new Iphone app called Cookbookie that allows you populate a virtual bookshelf with cookbooks you already own and then search their indexes. Then you just pick up the book and turn to the page. There are only 80 titles at the moment but new titles are being updated. It makes sense, why not use your own resources from authors and chefs that you love, trust and collect instead of turning to the net.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

First of all, welcome to HubPages gingerandy! Personally, I don't use cookbooks for recipes... they're my inspiration for tradition, flavor combinations, spicing and cooking technique. The net is increasingly providing all this info. I love and cherish my cookbooks but digital is the future.

Thanks, Ciao!!!

wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Hi Jai! Haven't stopped in for a while... apologies. Anyway, I'm old school like you, I still love my "nonvirtual" cookbooks. I have some favorites I go back to day after day. Some I pull out just for special occasions, particularly around the holidays. I have ventured into the land of virtual recipes here and there, but I'm telling you, I end up with a very messy laptop! LOL! I'm evidently too lazy to print out the recipes. Great hub, as usual. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Thanks Wordsy, I have to admit, my cookbook collection doesn't get much action these days. Personally, I don't use recipes when I cook... even if I find something online. Once I get the feel for a dish, my creativity kicks in, and I make it my own. Your comment about a messy laptop, cracked me up. I know two well known food writers who have totally destroyed expensive LT's because, they do all their writing in the kitchen.

I appreciate the Holiday wishes... the same to you and yours!

Buon Natale!!!

gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

I see we have a lot in common. I go to the web and hub pages A lot for recipes, but I do use my cook books still

Have a great day. Keep on cooking!


Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Hi Tina! I really cherish my cookbook collection, even though I don't use them as much anymore. Online cooking resources are expanding daily with food blogs and recipe websites. Almost all cookbook authors now have websites to promote and expand their readership. Sad to say, it won't be long until everything is virtual. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Ciao!!!

Lamme profile image

Lamme 6 years ago

I still have several of my favorite cookbooks, some passed down from my mother and grandmother, but I probably use the internet more than anything else these days. In much less time, I can get online and find more ways to cook chicken than any book could ever dream of publishing. I can also read reviews and what others have done to adapt the recipe. It's always good to read feedback others have left. Even in the best of cookbooks, there are recipe duds. With all that being said, I'm still a book person and when reading prefer to have the actual book in my hand. Sign of age I guess :)

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas Author

Thanks Lamme. Believe it or not, my cookbook collection, at one point, totaled 100+. Now, it's around 25 of my most cherished cookery books from around the world. As much as I hate to say it, print journalism will be history in the near future... a sign of the times. Is it a good thing? I'm not sure. I appreciate your comment, Ciao!

Elizabeth Bertani 5 years ago

Hi Jai, I related greatly to your piece on the availability of food and cooking info and recipes on the web. Like you, I source recipes, historical data, and more from blogs and internet sites, but also love my cookbooks (which I've pared down considerably over the years). My favorite is a Fanny Farmer Cookbook my mother purchased in the 1940's. Her favorite recipe pages open easily because they're dog-eared or heavy with whatever she spilled while cooking. Priceless.

Pierre Cortez 5 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing this informative content..

I can apply it to my daily lives.. :) Keep on posting!! GodBless

If you have time you can visit this site that i managed to surf in:

Cook Books and Cookbook Recipes

venkatdial 4 years ago

Thanks for including us on the list! 

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