Do you still use cookbooks?


Legendary Member
30 Jul 2020
Local time
9:30 AM
I've been wanting to use my cookbooks more, since I have a couple of them and they're just sitting on the shelf gaining dust.

But, in the age of the internet and with thousands of recipes available online, I sometimes ask myself if cookbooks still have a place in our homes. Truth be told, I find it much easier to search and use recipes online. It's very practical that I can just google a recipe when I'm looking for something specific and it's a lot easier to read recipes from my cellphone or my laptop screen when I'm cooking.

I still love cookbooks just because I'm a bookworm and I love books as objects, but I ask myself why do I want to cook recipes from a book when cooking from recipes online is so much easier? I've read arguments that recipes online have been tried and tested and are backed by research while online anything goes, but is that really so and if yes does that make much of a difference?

So I'm wondering what's everyone's take on this? Do you still make recipes from cookbooks, and why yes/why not?
I do find it easier to search for recipes online, and I do that frequently, but when something like a challenge comes up, MrsT laughs because I get all my cookbooks out (maybe 20 or so), pile them all on the floor, and go through them one by one, looking for recipes.

I don’t, however find it easier to read recipes from a phone or laptop than a book, very much the contrary, and with my phone, I have to go in and change the settings to keep it from going dark (unless the website has a cooking mode - most don’t, in my experience), and that’s not an option on my laptop, because it’s a work laptop and that stuff is all locked down.

Also, I like seeing the recipe and directions all together, otherwise I’m constantly scrolling up and down, up and down, with goopy hands, no less.

I think the “tried and tested” argument might have some validity, but it’s just as easy to buy a crap cookbook as it is to find a crap website from someone who has no business being in the kitchen. Once you find your favorites, that’s no longer an issue.
We have quite a few favorite recipes that are in our cookbooks. I'll look through our cookbooks sometimes for new recipes, sometimes the internet, just depends on my mood.
I've never used cookbooks much. Now, I have about five that collect dust on a shelf. I have a couple on an iPad that I don't use, either.

I do look at recipes online for inspration, or to learn what a new (to me) dish is. I'm constantly encountering dishes on this forum that I have to look up. But, I rarely actually use the online recipes, and if I do, I print them out so I can take a pen to them -- change ingredients, or amounts to my tastes.

I do notice that a lot of recipe blogs post the exact same recipes, as if they are that blogger's own recipe. :headshake:

Interesting topic.

I've never thought about this, since it is completely natural for me to use my cookbooks.
Now I've realized, because of your post, that I do both: finding recipes online only when I need a specific recipe quickly or as a reminder, and using my cookbooks as I would when reading a great book. It's my 'me time' when I use my cookbooks. I take my favorites out, go through them, and find inspiration for our family weekly menu.

P.S. I probably have more than 50 cookbooks :D. I've never counted, lol, maybe I should
Do I use cookbooks?
You bet I do. I've just counted 150 and I use them all, at some stage.
The thought process when I'm cooking might go like,
  • right, what have I got in the fridge?
  • Do I want to do Italian, British, American, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian...etc.?
  • Pull out a few, let's say, Italian. Browse for 10-15 minutes
  • OK / now I've got a bit of inspiration: sundried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, courgettes, etc.
Then I go to the kitchen and prepare something.Not often exactly as the recipe says, but more or less following the idea. (and it usually has chiles in it).
If it's something new,( like recently I was looking for Indian Street Food) then I'll go on the web and investigate a dozen or so recipes before deciding how to prepare it.

Great topic LissaC

I prefer to read from paper. It's an eyesight "thing". So I do have recipe books and I do prefer them over the net. They are my first port of call and we do have favourites.

Moving over to Australia from the UK, and when we sold everything to go off and (try to) cycle around the world, meant we've had 2 massive clear outs in 12 years. Any cookbook we didn't use much was given away both times. If there was only 1 or 2 recipes we used from a book, then they were copied out by hand and kept before the book was given away. Magazines we just cut out the recipe and stuck it into the blue A4 book that's our version of our favourite recipes cookbook.

Since moving to Australia 7 years ago, we've been very careful about what we do buy because only 1 of us works (as you all know).

So this is our cookbook shelf in the kitchen (roughly 45 cookbooks currently). To qualify to stay on this shelf, the book either needs to be brand new (the yellow title lying down on the left is one such example) or needs to be frequently used or be a signed copy or a gift. There are a couple that I need to seriously reconsider such as The Candle Cafe Cookbook (a New York Cafe cookbook) which we haven't really gotten on with). Simply blending will probably go on the next clear out. It was a freebie with the Vitamix blender.


I've also got a pile of vegan food and living magazines as well.


At some point, I'll go through this pile and extract what I think we'll use and eat. There are recipes in each and every one of those magazines that interest us and we've made something from most of them. But as with a lot of British food, I find I need to modify the herbs and spices (usually by doubling everything) because the food can be a bit bland for our tastes.

I have recently started to use an online recipe catalogue site (copymethat). I've had to contact the designers a couple of times though because of little things such as searching on aubergines and missing many recipes out because they use eggplant instead! :o_o: That has now been corrected but it's little things like that that stop me staying and living online (ditto for a lot of the UK/USA variations). That and no actually having a decent internet connection. A lot of apps don't like the satellite bb delay and timeout before connecting which limits their functionality for me.

So I'm still "old school" in that respect simply because of my access to the internet is not always reliable. That and the fact that I don't have a mobile phone signal in the kitchen, so have to leave my phone in the sitting room when I'm cooking.
Yes..I have a cabinet full and thanks to my sister who volunteers at a charity book depository, she buys me a few between visits..I have dozens that lay around the house. Drives my wife crazy but she doesn't complain when I come up with a new creation from one of them..just got a new one from Amazon yesterday..I feel a new kick coming on for the winter...
Tip..I leave one or two in the bathroom..many good meals have been planned during my time in there..if you know what I mean..
My mom had a small collection of church lady cookbooks. The were full of recipes from women of the churches we went to, or friends went to. They were complied and sold for church fundraising They were mostly family recipes for comfort foods. Printing and binding are pretty low rent.

My sister has a few, and I sent a few to TastyReuben. Perhaps he can post a picture of a few of them.

My mom had a small collection of church lady cookbooks. The were full of recipes from women of the churches we went to, or friends went to. They were complied and sold for church fundraising They were mostly family recipes for comfort foods. Printing and binding are pretty low rent.

My sister has a few, and I sent a few to TastyReuben. Perhaps he can post a picture of a few of them.

My sister borrowed them and keeps “forgetting” to gone them back. I did get a chance to make a couple of good things out of them.

I think one of them had the King Ranch Chicken recipe I posted on the forum. That is a good comfort food.

King ranch chicken



Yes, these old church lady cookbooks from way back are fun to look through. The recipes are not professionally written, and not thoroughly tested, so you kinda' have to use your good cooking judgment if you decide to use one of them. But, there is some pretty good food scattered through these cookbooks.

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