Cookbooks or lookbooks?

Some cookbooks on my shelf have splashes and splotches in many places, worn dust jackets, and other signs of being well-used in the kitchen. Others are pristine, with stiff spines and immaculate covers. This does not mean I love these volumes any less, however. Some cookbooks lend themselves more to looking than cooking, and that’s okay. I’m not alone in this – Epicurious recently listed their 15 favorite cookbooks for looking, not cooking.

The article breaks up the books into three broad categories: Art cookbooks, Travel cookbooks, and Tweezer cookbooks. The last category is reserved for books that delve into the science of food or that require a lot of special ingredients and equipment. I have almost all of the books in this category, and I admit that I have yet to cook a single dish from any of them. Some day I might, but even if I don’t, these books provide ample inspiration and explanation to make their heft (and hefty price tags) worthwhile for me.

I have to admit that I have never looked at any of the Art cookbooks in the Epi article, although I am intrigued by Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dalí. The sole cookbook in my collection that I would consider falling into this category is Cookbook Book, but even that one has recipes that I have or likely will make. Plenty of Travel books sit on my bookshelves, although none of the volumes mentioned in this article. This year especially it is lovely to page through these books and make mental plans for future vacations to soak in the beauty and deliciousness of foreign lands.

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  • MarciK  on  October 25, 2020

    I have the Dali cookbook. It truly is a work of art.

  • manycookbooks  on  November 6, 2020

    I had a copy of the 1973 edition of Les Diners de Gala, which was part of a lot of books I bid for on eBay years ago. At the time, I was hard pressed for $$ and sold it for $200 and that was probably 1998. I wish I had kept it, as it was truly lavish and unusual, to say the least. I don’t buy cookbooks for how they look on a coffee table, however and the Dali cookbook was an exception (I don’t normally keep cookbooks on my coffee table anyhow!)

  • Therese  on  November 6, 2020

    My coffee tableS are strewn with cookbooks..

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