I love dropping into ABC Radio Melbourne to chat about food with Clare Bowditch and her lovely audience of talkback callers. This time it was to discuss cookbooks and, particularly, which book people would grab if their house was burning down. I decided I’d scoop up my Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People – it’s a curious and winning little book from Victorian times and has recipes for everything from calf’s foot to red herring.
We also touched on the very idea of cookbooks in the internet age. Can’t you just Google everything? Well, yes, sort of, but how do you decide what’s trustworthy? A lot of people still turn to cookbooks and sales are strong, increasing 6 per cent in the US last year. Even BuzzFeed – originator of the ubiquitous shot-from-above food video – released a cookbook called Tasty which sold 100,000 copies in its first two months. It seems cookbooks aren’t going anywhere which, as an author myself, I’m very happy about.
One thing I will say about cookbooks: it’s hard to remember what’s in them. I heartily recommend Eat Your Books, an online library for 150,000 cookbooks plus magazines and even online recipes. It lets you index all those books on your shelves and unlock the recipes inside them. So, you can search for ‘broccoli’ and find all your broccoli recipes, for example.
Do you have a favourite cookbook?
Listen in below.