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Still use a cookery book?

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Following my chat just yesterday on BBC Radio Kent I thought I would write my blog today about cookery books. The story came about as Delia Smith headlined in The Telegraph on 14th November 2017 with ‘the cookbook is dead, just get your recipes online’.

Delia Smith has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour and had an article in the daily paper declaring that ‘the cookbook is dead and she will not be writing another… Printed recipes are pointless now that we can browse the web…’

James Palmer Rosser from Kent Cookery School was in the studio at BBC Radio Kent preparing a simple family favourite Chilli Con Carni and also a more ‘fancy’ dish of scallops, he chatted about how he loved a cookery book and had actually spent well over £100 on a really beautiful book which he was looking at while we were all on air.  I certainly have never spent that type of money on a cookery book but I have a great selection from Jamie Oliver, Nigella, Delia to Raymond Blanc and my most recent purchase Rococo, Mastering the Art of Chocolate by Chantal Coady to help with my recent chocolate obsession! I would say you can tell a lot by walking into someones kitchen and looking at which cook books they have on their shelves.

The average Brit owns between six to eight cookbooks. For me its all about inspiration and I certainly enjoy physically browsing through beautiful colourful photographs of food and being tempted to read through the dish. If I have a special night I will take down one of my reliable sources and plan, sometimes adjusting ingredients accordingly but noting my scribbled tips sometimes, reminding me what made that particular recipe a real hit!

When I come to February and saville oranges, I have my Mum’s tried and tested marmalade recipe again its a ‘no brainer’ I would not use any other recipe, although there are thousands available.

Delia Smith’s Christmas and Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (my first ever book) is my ‘go to’ for cakes and traditional recipes.

Time is a factor with any cookery and food preparation. If it takes me hours to read the recipe and understand it I tend to loose interest, it has got to be relatively straight forward, inspiring, healthy, family friendly (normally) and appealing.  I know my husband and I have spent many a Saturday following a Jamie Oliver recipe, its the social side of cooking, keeping it fun, trying something new, and enjoying the results together!

Of course, we use the internet more and more. For example I am sitting on the train and thinking about – whats for dinner? I will pop my ingredients in to google, and have an immediate list of ideas and recipes. However, there are the more reliable sources, as I have paid the price with following a pretty picture to be disappointed and to have spent out on expensive ingredients which have been wasted! The problem with some entries online is that all is required is a list of ingredients, a bit of how to explanation and the ability to press ‘send’.  A pricey cookbook goes through a laborious process in which recipes are written, copy edited, tested, retested and fact checked. The most important thing with a cookbook is the quality of the recipes, that they work well, that they are well explained, and you can follow them easily. “The way in which books are put together, the selection of the recipes, the photographs, the ideas of going back and forth when you turn the page. It’s an experience that I think the digital format hasn’t managed to reach in the sam way.”2017, Los Angeles Times. Reading another US article cookery book sales were up in 2016 this questions some predictions.

On a practical note, there is the simple fact that splashing hot olive oil on your IPAD spoils your appetite, what do you think? I would love to hear from you… email me at

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