Could Online Recipes Really Replace Mom’s Recipe Box?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

My boyfriend judges me because my computer always holds little crumbs and sometimes a swipe of sauce. No, it’s not because I eat while writing, it’s because the laptop is often in the line of fire by the stove. Like many of you, I find a great many recipes online.

Last week NPR ran a story exploring how many folks are now finding their recipes and food content online rather than in print sources, which we shared in our Food News on Monday. They reported that “half of consumers use sites like Twitter and Facebook to learn about food. Another 40 percent of consumers say they learn about food via websites, apps, or blogs.” That’s a whole lot of folks. And I’m guessing since you’re here with us on The Kitchn today, you may fall somewhere in line with those numbers.

The reasons for this are great. First off, many of us spend a lot more time in general online so it makes sense that we’d search for dinner recipes and engage with the food blogging community in that way. Also, online sources are portable and you can pull them up regardless of where you are. At the grocery store or your mother-in-law’s house in Ohio? No problem. With recipe cards or print sources you have at home, you must physcially be there to consult them, obviously. Last, searching for recipes has become more of a visual and sensory experience. This didn’t exist with mom’s recipe box. Today, especially with sites like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, and Pinterest people are searching for recipe using photos of the end product. This is new terrain.

All of this is true and undeniable and, in my experience, has enriched my time in the kitchen. But I can’t let print go. I love flipping through cookbooks and I cherish my mom’s recipes jotted down on old scratch papers. Call me an optimist, but I do feel that print recipes still hold a lot of weight. Mom’s recipe boxes are a snapshot of a very particular point in time — the internet is much more an amalgamation. And cookbooks are such a special curation of one writer or one cook’s point of view, skill set, and aesthetic. So lately I often find myself shutting down the computer and flipping through cookbooks to gain a bit of inspiration. How about you?

Do you still consult print recipes and find value in the notion of mom’s recipe cards?

(Image: Etsy Seller Invite Paper Studio)

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