In this age of mobile technology, it feels like there is a new development to marvel at every day. Recently, the food app craze seems to have made its way to the bookshelves. Mark Bittman posed a question to readers of his site late last week asking whether they prefer to use cookbooks or cooking apps. This morning, Publishers Weekly posted an interview with Grant Achatz wherein he announced that an app for the Alinea Cookbook is currently in the works too. And adding fuel to the fire, the app for the widely popular pairing guide, What to Drink with What You Eat was released this weekend.
One thing to keep in mind is that these apps are being created in addition to physical and digital versions of the books. Purchasing a cookbook app allows readers to search for recipes, and often they include access to “extras” otherwise unavailable, such as a collection of menus based on recipes in the book.
According to NPR, one primary reason for cookbook app popularity is the physical heft of the books. This makes sense, especially considering how many gadgets the average home cook purchases to keep their cookbooks upright and open. Plus, no more worrying about sticky pages (remember the infamous Friends episode where Rachel ends up making a half savory, half sweet trifle when the pages in her cookbook stuck together?).
But where do you draw the line? How soon before cookbooks are available only in digital form? There is still something to be said for the nostalgic nature of pulling out your favorite cookbook and flipping to your most-loved dog-eared recipes (you may even have notes in the margins from your trials and errors). On the other hand, maybe the convenience of having your entire cookbook library in the palm of your hand is the practical wave of the future.