Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[blog topics] Cookbook Reviews

You know what the blog-o-sphere needs more of? It needs more cookbook reviews written by REAL PEOPLE- like you all!

While researching whether I should buy a new cookbook online, I found myself amazed at the pile-up of recycled reviews straight from the publishers. Mmmm of course they're going to make everything sound like it should be bought!

I want to hear from my fellow foodies on their blogs about their recent cookbook purchases. And for those of you posting your reviews- keep it up! It'll take some punch to get up there on the google rankings, but I'll be digging through the returns for you.

btw, some great details to include when writing a cookbook review:

- roughly what percentage of recipes are accompanied by photos?
- how many recipes did you try out?
- and the most important, but most forgotten detail: what do you think of the cookbook? Nevermind for a moment the restaurant pedigree of the author... how does this book sit with you? Did it keep your interest for a day? A week? Two weeks?

This Post was written by McAuliflower of Brownie Points.


Ellen said...

See, now pictures mean nothing to me. Seriously. I can read a recipe and about 90% of the time figure out whether I'm going to like or not. The photos just add to the cost. So I would never think to mention whether it has pictures or not. I just want a nice description, clear directions (if necessary), and some little story to go along with it. I like the stories more than the pictures.

Anonymous said...

I have three cookbook reviews on the way. "Dave's Dinners" by Dave Lieberman, "Crepes, Waffles, and Pancakes" by someone, and "The Ultimate New York Diet" by David Hirsch. stay tuned.

Jocelyn:McAuliflower said...

To me, imagery in a cookbook adds to the involvement of tangling me up in the scene... I'm a visual creature.

While I do enjoy cookbooks that wrap their recipes in stories, I'm more inclined to drool over food porn than food erotica. To each her own ;)

nika said...

I use cookbooks on four different levels and usually during four seperable times. I tend to scan the food porn first. Then, when in a reading mood, I read the food erotica.. which, if good, I adore. Then when I feel in a mood to cook, I look at the recipes and will take hints from the more inspiring ones but I usually never ever follow a recipe rote. Then, dependin on the cookbook, I find a specific recipe with a specific technique (as in my Prof Chef or My Joy) to get a job done in the kitchen.

porn and erotica, if good, to me are just about 50/50 important.

Guy said...

Well, I've done a few over the years. Even did a review for the holidays on two books and didn't cook a darned thing from either of them. Maybe a little bit of a cheeky review. I don't bother anymore because of copyright issues. I know, as long as I don't copy their written procedure down I should be fine. But in the front of the book it usually says not to reproduce anything from the book for any medium, ever. Only recently did I see something different for Dona & Tomas' new cookbook. They mentioned something about reviewing being okay.
Maybe I should review my Reynolds Wrap cookbook ...

Rachael Narins said...

I have never done a cookbook review but I recall there is a blog devoted to it...on hiatus I see, but still a good resource

(Gosh I wish I knew how to make that a link...)

Jocelyn:McAuliflower said...

Well said Nika :)

Regarding the Cookbook Critic... that's an example of a blog that would be spectacular as a group blog- like food blog is set up.

Pepper said...

I plan to add book reviews to my site within the next month or so, some cookbooks and some general food writing, and the reviews will have a frugal angle due to my blog's theme.

Re pictures, I always have the sense that books with pictures are making up for lack of other practical content. I do appreciate beautiful art by the author that is really integral to the recipe, like Mollie Katzen's books.

My original plan was to have a pictureless blog, though that didn't last too long once I started participating in food blogging events that require them.

The Culinary Chase said...

Pictures in a cookbook are a must, in my humble opinion. Who would think of picking up a food magazine that didn't illustrate the food? The same goes for the cookbook. I recently bought "The Silver Spoon" which is a great cookbook but not so many food pictures which is ok if you know how to make the dish. A photo conveys how the food should look & be presented. A photo should evoke some sort of desire to look at the picture & then say, "hey, I like that" or "that looks interesting". I'm sorry, but words alone won't get me in the mood for cooking like a photo & words combined will. Perhaps that's the touchy-feely side of me! :)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I review cook books when I buy one. Ultimately it means I don't review every new cook book on the market, just the ones that interested me enough to purchase them.

Some nice tips on what to include in the reviews, though.

Unknown said...

The Well Fed Network ( has a strong commitment to cookbook reviews. I used to write for the network's Food Bound site (, but it’s since been folded into another Well Fed site, Paper Palate (, which was initially limited to articles about food magazines and newspaper sections. I was sad to see Food Bound go, since I'm fanatical about both food and literature. But Paper Palate does a good job of covering published recipes and food-related literature. By the way, many publishers are amenable to sending review copies of their upcoming or recently-released cookbooks to bloggers--just contact the publishers' publicity departments and ask.