In her interview, Penny explains why she prefers the internet to cookbooks:
I don’t believe in cookbooks because I want recipes for the foods I have, as opposed to buying ingredients for recipes. Unlike cookbooks, the internet allows me the flexibility to find recipes based on a list of ingredients.
Penny makes a good point. When you start with a recipe, you’re stuck with a list of ingredients. But you can search for new recipes on the internet by plugging your ingredients into a search engine.
Still, I wouldn’t give up my cookbooks. A good cookbook includes techniques and cooking philosophy, not just recipes. I often refer to Joy of Cooking for its comprehensive lists of ingredients, basic cooking methods, and substitutions. Beginning cooks in particular can benefit by reading cookbooks and experimenting with recipes. There’s no need to buy them at first: borrow from friends or the library.
There are a few drawbacks to searching the internet for recipes:
- While some sites let you exclude ingredients that you don’t have or want, it’s usually hard to find a recipe with only the ingredients you happen to have. Chances are you will need to improvise, just like you would with the cookbook.
- The internet recipe might include the ingredients you want. But you might not (yet) have the equipment or skills. I mention other issues in my post on evaluating recipes.
- I don’t always trust the reliability of recipes contributed by users. Even if a lot of readers like something, it doesn’t mean my family will. I put more confidence in my tried-and-true cookbooks.
- Searching via the internet requires skill. Sometimes it’s easy to find what you want, but sometimes you have to sift through lots of unsuitable results.
I do search the internet often for recipes. Today I found, at my son’s request, a recipe for for No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream. I often use the internet as a guide, like when I want to check whether a particular combination has been tried before.
How do you prefer to find recipes, via the internet or your tried-and-true cookbooks?
If you’re looking for a particular recipe, you can always ask readers in the comment section or on Cooking Manager’s Facebook Fan Page.
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