Thursday, September 1, 2011

What makes a good cook book?

I stood in Barnes and Noble at 7:00 pm, Americano in hand (hot with one pump of classic syrup and enough half and half to make it caramel colored - if you must know), STARING at the large wall of cook books and baking guides tucked right into the corner where the music section used to be. I picked up a few books, namely due to my attraction to their cover image, font, or title. But then I began to think... If I personally didn't know what I looked for in a cook book, where exactly would I begin?

Do you start with the whole 'judge a book by its cover' thing? Do you block out the cover and just read the title on the binding? Or are you drawn to a certain font or shade of colors?

I know personally, I do tend to judge a book by it's cover. But! Only a book! And maybe a bottle of wine... but that's it. The next big thing is the title. It has to grab my attention and stand out from the rest. Finally, the book absolutely must have photos of each recipe. While I do admit I own books where not every recipe has a picture, the ones that do have the photos are even better. After all, how can we make it if we have no idea what it really should look like?

A blog post from 'A Slice of Cherry Pie' says that a good cook book has :
good photography
clear instructions
a theme &
recipes that work

I couldn't agree more with Julia from 'A Slice of Cherry Pie'. How about you? What do you look for?

No that you know my cook book preferences, I will share something funny with you... The book that I purchased from Barnes and Noble, even though it does have a nice picture on the front cover, has a mundane sounding title and no pictures with the recipes! You heard me.. no pictures. Weird right?

The book is called The River Cottage Bread Handbook (which can be found on the Barnes and Noble website) and is... can you guess? A bread hand book. - Now that was too easy...

What intrigued me most is that instead of facing with the binding out, the book was actually flushed against the wall, displaying the front cover. When flipping front to back (what a strange habit) I saw a 'how to' instruction guide on building your own oven. I had to have this book.

I will keep you posted on what I think of my new book as well as what I might have learned. Oh, and in case I decide to build my own oven this week, you'll be the first to know.

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