Foodlovers Foodtalk Forum

Cookbooks

Posted by helen 
Cookbooks
May 11, 2016 08:51PM
I am playing with the idea of dong another book.
Still mulling it over and crunching numbers and not really sure if I will or not.

For those of you that buy books what is it that most appeals to you and guides you in your purchase?
Author or subject matter?
And are you more likely to buy general cookbooks or specific books?
Chelsea Winter is doing very well in general cookbook selling but not sure if there is room in that market or not.
Re: Cookbooks
May 11, 2016 09:03PM
Cook books are the only actual books that I buy now - everything else is on Kindle.

I rarely buy general cookbooks, I am interested in food from different cultures and I look for specific expertise and authenticity, ideally written by a person with roots in whatever culture's food is the subject of the book. The other kind of cook books I buy are those devoted to a single topic such as cheese making, preserving, fermentation etc. Again, I'm looking for expertise.

My ideal local cookery writer is Alexa Johnson as she includes the cultural context of the food. She tests the recipes personally and they are always reliable.
Bev
Re: Cookbooks
May 11, 2016 09:34PM
Like TPANDAV I tend to buy cuisine or method specific cookbooks. I hardly ever buy a general cookbook.
Re: Cookbooks
May 11, 2016 10:21PM
Sometimes I buy a specific food book but my last cookbook purchases were general. Not much help, I know but it is an indication that one size does not fit all.
For specific types of cooking I generally use the internet.
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 12:32AM
I tend also to buy specific cookbooks, and particularly like the style where recipes are included in actual writing about food, and how that food fits into the culture, the history of the recipe/food, context driven I guess.
J1
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 12:52AM
I tend to never buy these days as I only ever get about two recipes I want to use from any cookbook. I ignore the baking/dessert sections (if they have them) and am looking for new,succulent ideas for cooking meat and seafood, and imaginative and tasty ways with vegetables - but am put off by excessive use of oils/fats/cheeses (e.g. I only got 3 recipes from the entire range of Ottolenghi cookbooks from the library!). Many general cookbooks seem to be just slight variations on recipes that have been around for a long time and as I get older it seems to get harder and harder to find anything that's truly new and also something I want to try...and eat... I do use the internet a lot more than cookbooks.....
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 04:55AM
would you self publish? or would you go through a publisher?

Is there a particular publisher that does Cookbooks? or many?

I wonder if they have a set criteria for what is selling at the moment?
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 05:43AM
Ingrid I would definitely self publish and then get a distributor but also self sell.
The more direct you can do it the more viable it is.
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 03:40PM
I hardly ever buy cookbooks, I use the library or online.
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 10:21PM
I buy both general and specific cookbooks and they are almost always my request to family for presents. I buy books for a single ingredient (like avocados), a single eating style (like vegetarian), a specific type (like bread) and from specific authors (I buy everything Nadia Lim puts out as her eating style and mine are very similar and I use lots of her recipes). I don't like having books I only use a couple of recipes from, and space restraints mean if I buy a cookbook an old one has to go, so I almost always check the book out from the library first to see how much I'm likely to use it.

Helen, since you ask what guides us in purchases - how a cookbook is laid out is very important to me. I don't find books which group recipes according to occasion (not lunch/dinner but very specific things like afternoon tea with the girls, summer picnics etc) very usable as I can never remember where anything is when I come to use the book. I got your book out of the library and loved the recipes, but the layout was I think by occasion in this way (I apologise if I have this wrong, it was a long time ago!). Several times I have nearly bought it anyway, but stopped myself as I know I just won't use it. So from my point of view, if you're thinking of another book I would definitely be interested if the layout were changed. I prefer paper copies, but if the book were only in e-format I would buy that.
Re: Cookbooks
May 12, 2016 11:50PM
CarolynC Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

I don't find books which group recipes
> according to occasion (not lunch/dinner but very
> specific things like afternoon tea with the girls,
> summer picnics etc) very usable as I can never
> remember where anything is when I come to use the
> book.

I agree, especially when the index is poor. I must say that this is quite common with NZ cook books (I'm not referring to your books Helen as I don't own them). I remember one Ray McVinnie book that had a recipe for ricotta (or some soft cheese, possibly mascarpone, can't exactly remember) and to find the recipe you had to remember which dish it was used in as there was no index entry for it. I like to use my cook books as a resource so that if I have an ingredient that I want to use I can look it up in various books to decide what to do with it.
Re: Cookbooks
May 13, 2016 12:53AM
I wonder if you need to be quite specific these days like a cookbook for smoking meat or just vegetables, or a cookbook filled with chocolate recipes

- I usually buy cookbooks for people on their birthday, christmas etc and I would buy purely based on the author - usually a celebrity on trend at the moment. I also buy cookbooks that are specific to peoples tastes, such as FISH or MEAT cookbooks for Men....lol so cliche!

I also buy cookbooks based purely on what is on the Cover - if the photo is delicious, its a huge pull for me.

We had loads of engagement on the forum when we did the Meals for under $15 - that would be a popular
OR what about "Recipes from abroad - dishes from all your wonderful travels over the last year?
Re: Cookbooks
May 13, 2016 01:09AM
I read an article on a US site recently that said that despite food writing currently being all about quinoa, cacao, chia and whatnot, the most popular recipe on Allrecipes.com was a broccoli-cheese casserole with various pre-prepared foods like cans of soup in it! Maybe that's just an American thing though (I hope so) and to be fair, Allrecipes is very US mainstream rather than foodie.

Ingrid said:

>I wonder if you need to be quite specific these days like a cookbook for smoking meat or just vegetables, or a cookbook filled with chocolate recipes

That certainly seems to be the trend, the other trend being more general books from celebrity chefs, and there have been a lot of local baking books too. I assume the baking books have been successful as some writers like Alice Arndell and Karla Godwin have had more than one. Helen, I know you said you got a lot more hits on sweet recipes, so maybe this is a potential direction for you too (although I'm sure this has already occurred to you!). Personally I prefer the savoury recipes but I can't argue with the numbers.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 01:23AM by CarolynC.
Re: Cookbooks
May 13, 2016 07:19AM
I think low carb cooking is becoming more and more popular. I think there is room for a good one written for a New Zealand audience but without preaching.

I don't buy cookbooks that focus on baking or sweet foods, but plenty of people do.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 07:22AM by AliciaWarrenNZ.
Re: Cookbooks
May 13, 2016 04:32PM
For me personally i like one with a strong non meat/fish content, but lots of vegetable recipes which use unique, but not too hard to find ingredients. I love having a picture with a recipe, and find I don`t buy a recipe book unless it has good images and a high content of them. Personally I like a mix of easy to make recipes, that become your go to recipes, and also love the more involved ones for the days I am pottering at home and want to create something special. Not too fussed on the dessert side of recipes.
Re: Cookbooks
May 13, 2016 06:15PM
I prefer specific books - the last one I bought recently was on fermented foods. Also, I'm a huge fan of Digby Law - no photos and a blurb before each section. He also quite often has comments on specific recipes.
I think too many pages are taken up with photographs, and if the author wants to include a photograph then have it on the same page as the recipe. I would be able to fit more books onto shelves if that was the case!
Jo
Re: Cookbooks
May 14, 2016 05:00AM
I am tempted by any cookbook written by a NZ chef/cook - maybe a little part of that is supporting Kiwi talent.

I like cookbooks that have contributions from a lot of different food personalities such as the great NZ cookbooks. I also like cafe cookbooks such as the Pipi cookbooks, the Revive cookbooks (a cookbook based around the foodlovers forum would be interesting).

There are heaps of books supporting clean eating, paleo, sugar-free etc but there are still a lot of people who eat the traditional everything in moderation type of diet.

I also appreciate recipes that give measurements in weights, particularly for baking, or at least somewhere in the book, it states whether 1 cup of flour is measured using the scoop or spoon in method. 1 cup of flour can be as little as 125 g or as much as 150 g. And when a big cake uses 3 cups of flour, it makes a different between an OK cake and a fantastic cake depending on how you measure the flour.
Re: Cookbooks
May 19, 2016 08:48PM
I have a lot of cookbooks and they include a lot of older ones from Alison Holst, Jo Seagar and a large collection of the Australian Women's Weekly paperback cookbooks.

Don't buy many these days at all and the main reason being that they are just so expensive. What I love to see in cookbooks is author's tips and hints, Annabel Langbein comes to mind here as she has lots of interesting tips etc. I find it interesting searching the web also, but usually stay clear of American recipes as sometimes the ingredients are different.
J1
Re: Cookbooks
July 04, 2016 05:08PM
A cookbook I got from the library that I'm enjoying at the moment is Eating Clean by Rachael Devcich (2015). It has good ideas and good vegetable recipes. The pumpkin puree with 1/4 cup of coconut milk added is way too nice.

Another one from the library which I got several recipes from recently is Arabian Nights by Habeeb Salloum (2010).
Re: Cookbooks
July 05, 2016 04:09AM
Im attracted to great styling and photography with an attractive style/fonts ect.
I do like it if a cookbook has a style to it such as country chic, boho, city style - that kind of thing.

I like to relate to the cookbook (as opposed to one from a high end restaurant) and feel like most of the recipes would suit me.

I look for fresh, healthy and nourishing food, real ingredients or comfort food such as soups, stews, pies and bakes.
I much keener on savoury than sweet BUT guessing sweet sells better?

Vanessa
Re: Cookbooks
July 06, 2016 04:15AM
TPANDAV Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cook books are the only actual books that I buy
> now - everything else is on Kindle.
>
> I rarely buy general cookbooks, I am interested in
> food from different cultures and I look for
> specific expertise and authenticity, ideally
> written by a person with roots in whatever
> culture's food is the subject of the book. The
> other kind of cook books I buy are those devoted
> to a single topic such as cheese making,
> preserving, fermentation etc. Again, I'm looking
> for expertise.
>
> My ideal local cookery writer is Alexa Johnson as
> she includes the cultural context of the food.
> She tests the recipes personally and they are
> always reliable.

100% agree with this. I recently bought the Jeruseluem book, and another book Eat like you give a F*** both of which were very different from the usual books. I tend to buy books with a specific angle and ones that talk about the history and why the food is cooked the way it is.
I would say though, that I have about 20 cook books and have read about 500 pages in total of any of them smiling smiley
I also love Stoked ! smiling smiley
Re: Cookbooks
July 06, 2016 12:53PM
I must admit I am a huge fan of Digby Law, love his books. They are quite simple easy to make recipes that appeal to most people.. He doesn't need any pictures, just gives a very clear recipe.
Re: Cookbooks
July 06, 2016 03:39PM
Yes Digby Law books- oldies but goodies.
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