Will the Internet make cookbooks obsolete, except for nostalgia and sentimental attachment? I think it already has.
Late Sunday this email came in from Friends of the Solon Library: “There are four boxes of cookbooks leftover from the Friends Used Book Sale! Stop by this week and bring home some new recipes! They are located in the hallway on a small cart next to the regular used book cart.”
Comme d’habitude, I was an early bird for the sale, and had browsed through the much larger than usual cookbook selection. Not much of interest for me, as I have been collecting social group fundraising cookbooks for years, and have about all a person could wish for. Cookbooks from my home town, from my new home, from the hospital where I was born, and the one where our daughter was born, from the church where I was baptized, from area businesses, from the Stone Academy (a local one room school house), from the American Trucking Association, from where I worked, and a host of specialty and celebrity chef cookbooks. Adding more of the same seems so 20th century.
The truth is my focus when cooking has turned to what local food is fresh and available, and what techniques will be used to transform raw product into a meal. Occasionally I’ll search for a recipe, but it is usually on the Internet, making my point. The focus is on the food.
The attraction of browsing hundreds of cookbooks may serve some writing project, but it is not how we live now. It’s not how we cook. What matters more is producing local food, with fresh and local ingredients as an expression of character and personality, rather than that of the scion of a family kitchen disconnected from here and now.
Cookbooks will be around, and my collection seems unlikely to decrease in size. Clearly, from the email, if I add cook books to my downsizing, they won’t move at the used book sale. I can’t bear the thought of them languishing in the hallway with the other remainders.