Cooking Apps or Cookbooks: Why Not Both?

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

It’s become a familiar question in the food world: is the cooking app going to kill the printed cookbook? (We joined in earlier this year, wondering if Martha Stewart’s cookie app marks the end of the cookbook era.) But over at Poor Man’s Feast, writer and editor Elissa Altman points out why there is room for both in the kitchen — and why it is wrong to assume we can only choose one.

Altman loves the new Dorie Greenspan baking app, and understands how invaluable it is to see instructions in action rather than written out in words. But that doesn’t mean she will be tossing aside her most beloved cookbooks now that she has a good app or two. Publishers, she says, wrongly assume that people acquire their information in one way only, and that the rise of cooking apps will mean the end of printed cookbooks.

The truth is that nothing can replace our favorites, those sauce-spattered cookbooks with the spines that crack open to the recipes we make again and again. No matter how convenient or flashy, apps just don’t carry the same emotional weight. Altman writes:

Cooking and reading actual cookbooks show me where I’ve been; they reek of history, and anchor me in the way that, however vague, the assembly directions for Thanksgiving turkey in the 1951 Joy of Cooking anchored my aunt when it was just her and the book, and the concept of the iPad app was about as Jetsons as power steering.

We highly recommend reading the full article — it’s a lovely read that will inspire you to thumb through your favorite cookbooks and remember why you still have them.

Read more: Reading, Apps, and the Myth of Cookbook Obsolesence at Poor Man’s Feast

What do you think? Can apps happily coexist with printed cookbooks?