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 Post subject: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Not NOT A Furry
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Out of curiousity -
Are pictures important? and how many do you like to see?
Do you like large books chock full with recipes for everything under the sun, or shorter ones that fit a "theme"?
What is the price you are willing to pay? will you pay more for more pictures?
That sort of thing.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:48 pm 
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I like at least some pictures because they give me a feel for what types of food are included.

I like medium-sized cookbooks that are full of recipes for every occasion. Huge tomes don't work well for actual cooking--they fall closed or the binding gets broken. My two most recently acquired cookbooks are Ripe from Around Here and Vegan Celebrations, both of which are focused around a theme, but have a wide variety of recipes that can be used at many different occasions and draw from a wide range of cultures (though VC is more deliberate about this than RfaH, in my opinion).

I generally expect to pay between $20 - $25 for a good vegan cookbook (softcover). Obviously, I expect to pay more for hardcovers.

I also appreciate layouts with the recipe all on one page (no flipping pages between ingredients and methods), nutritional information, and an extensive index. I do love a good index.

I hope this was helpful!

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:26 am 
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I really only buy books that have been recommended to me, whether that be on this forum or talking to friends. I'm pretty sure your book will come highly recommended!
My mum is absolutely crazy over pictures. She will flat out not buy something if there are not lots of pictures. I like pictures but I'm not really that fussed if they are quality recipes. I use Veganomicon a lot and for the size of the book there are not too many pictures but that doesn't take away from it's greatness.
I'd say under $30 is best but prices vary like crazy in Australia. I usually buy books from bookdepository.co.uk where they are quite cheap or occasionally from the few quality bookstores here, where I'll pay a bit more but they just have great selections and it is a good experience to go there to browse for a while.

I like theme books and I also like books you can pick up and find a bit of everything to choose from. Then again, books like Vegan Brunch are great because you tend to not just use them for Brunch but it's a nice theme.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:17 am 
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I'm slowly realizing that I like themed books a little more than general, but there are always exceptions to this (VWAV, VCon, but don't those go without saying?) I just have an easier time keeping up with what recipes are in what book when they are specialized, and this makes me reach for them more often. I have a few of the tome-style books and I rarely use them because there's so much in there that nothing really stands out in my mind.

I'll second what Kelvia says about not having to flip pages on recipes, it makes life far more difficult. I obviously don't mind this that much because I know that several of my favorite recipes make me flip.

I love pictures, and I'm happy with just an insert. Then again I'm happy with just a flickr pool if pictures aren't included.

As far as price, it really depends on the quality of the book and the number of recipes. For an average sized hardback with pictures I'm fine with $25-$30 and obviously less for a paperback. I don't dwell on book prices that much, they seem fairly standard to me, with small paperbacks starting around $13, and going up from there according to size/content. I think I prefer paperbacks just because they're lightweight and I tend to lag my cookbooks around to odd places.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:48 am 
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I like pictures, medium size book and I don't like tons of ingredients in the recipe.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:57 am 
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Pictures are really important to me. I am willing to pay a lot more for a cookbooks with lots of pictures, especially color photos. As many as possible, one per recipe would be ideal.

I like cookbooks that touch on a little of everything. For some reason I don't use theme cookbooks as much, I'm not sure why. Except for Vegan Brunch and VCTOTW. But I eat the food in VB whenever during the day, not just in the morning.

I am happy to pay between $20-30, rarely more.

I also like when they have one recipe per page, one page per recipe, with the facing page having a picture of the dish.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:46 am 
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Pictures are usually part of what sells the book for me-- they get me excited, make me notice particular recipes I might not otherwise want to try. But after I buy the book, I don't like refer to the pictures while I'm cooking or anything.

I like a big cookbook more than a smaller thematic one, but that's me. I like Invictus' point about one recipe per page-- I like that MUCH more than when people cram three recipes on one page. Unless they're variations on the main recipe, they should't be on the same page!

Also, I really, really, REALLY look for a book that at least estimates how much time a recipe will take. I do meal planning so that we can ideally have dinner an hour or less after we get home, and if a recipe doesn't tell me flat out that it's going to take 30 minutes or whatever, then I have to take more of a gamble and sometimes that has bad results.

For a paperback book, $20 is about my limit. I'll shell out $30-40 for a hardback cookbook with copious photographs, though.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:50 am 
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Pictures are really important, because if I can, I tend to pick out recipes to try based on how appetizing they look. I like cookbooks with as many pictures as possible. One per recipe is ideal.

With the exception of books specifically about vegan baking, I like cookbooks that are kinda medium in scope. Something like Planet Vegan is really intimidating to me... I own it, but I rarely use it, because reading through it to pick out a recipe could take an hour. Vcon is big but manageable, and VwaV is just about perfect.

Generally I wouldn't want to pay more than $25, but if it's a really awesome book, or a nice hardcover, or by an author I trust, I'd go up to about $40.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:19 am 
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A really good index is important to me. I want to be able to look through the back of the book to find all the recipes for beans or broccoli. This is much more important to me than photos or nutritional information (I'm used to looking up the nutritional information anyway).


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:31 am 
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Beautiful pictures are probably the biggest selling point for me. Once I use a cookbook that has very little photos, I usually start to love it but photos really draw me in and make me buy a book. I'd probably spend at most thirty dollars on a cookbook, maybe a little bit more. Nutritional information is a nice plus, but I usually play around with recipes anyways and calculate my own nutritional info so it's not crucial.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:42 am 
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mollyjade wrote:
A really good index is important to me. I want to be able to look through the back of the book to find all the recipes for beans or broccoli. This is much more important to me than photos or nutritional information (I'm used to looking up the nutritional information anyway).


Ooooh yeah. I also LOVE thoughtful, useful recipe lists, like the under 45 minutes list in the back of VCON.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:56 am 
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Invictus wrote:
Pictures are really important to me. I am willing to pay a lot more for a cookbooks with lots of pictures, especially color photos. As many as possible, one per recipe would be ideal.

I like cookbooks that touch on a little of everything. For some reason I don't use theme cookbooks as much, I'm not sure why. Except for Vegan Brunch and VCTOTW. But I eat the food in VB whenever during the day, not just in the morning.

I am happy to pay between $20-30, rarely more.

I also like when they have one recipe per page, one page per recipe, with the facing page having a picture of the dish.


Totally. I don't at all object to paying more for cookbooks, but I want bunches of pics. I need pics to motivate me to make things.

Good organization is also key.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:58 am 
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Right now, I'm very poor,so I look for recipes with just a few ingredients that don't cost a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:28 pm 
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Photos, definitely. One per recipe, preferably opposite the recipe. I really don't like when a book only has a few photos of recipes and they're all crammed in the middle of the book. I also like a cookbook that includes nutritional information. I prefer hardbacks over softcovers, and one that has a mixture of recipes. I'm not into themed cookbooks, minus VCTOTW and VCIYCJ, of course! $20-$30 is my ideal price range for a good cookbook.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Good indexes, including ingredients. Also, a good table of contents. For some reason, so many cookbooks seem to leave this out-- especially big ones.

Indexing is pretty major thing. Recently I was looking for burger recipes, and found that a lot of my books only list those under the major ingredient or recipe title. I wanted to go to Burger and see a list.

Photos are nice, but since I am used to many not having lots of photos, it isn't a deal breaker.

I've bought most of my cookbooks from Amazon, so I'm used to paying under $15 for most of them. Unless the book comes highly recommended or is extra special, I won't pay much more than that.

I also like theme books or books that offer a new spin on the usual ingredients. I prefer it if recipe components are not scattered all over the book. As much as I love Vcon, and understand the necessity, it is still annoying to have to paperclip 3 or so different pages to make lasagna.

Small pet peeve: I prefer measurements to things like "1 small red onion." I have no idea what a small red onion is. I only ever find baseball sized red onion, so I alway end up having to guess.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:27 pm 
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I like pictures, but they aren't necessary. I'll usually read reviews online before I buy a book, and read the index to see what kind of recipes are included, and check my favorite vegetables to see what kind of recipes they have for them. And if I find a favorite author I like, I tend to end up buying most of their books.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:42 pm 
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My biggest preference is a wide variety of food (different ethnic cuisines, meals that take a while, meals that are really quick, soups, sandwiches, pastas, casseroles, blah blah blah).

Pictures are great, and I'm more likely to try a dish that may not have caught my eye with text if it looks good, but I don't think it influences whether or not I'll actually purchase it. I do tend to go look at pictures people have uploaded to the book's Amazon page though.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Interesting. As I asked I'd better say what I like! and teh reason I asked is related to my MoFo theme which is going through my cookbook library. As I did I realised I have certain prefernces in the books I have and use.
What I like is medium sized books, as I have big ones I very rarely use as I find them a little intimidating, with photos, some not necessarily all recipes, but especially for dishes which are a little unusual (I can figure out what soup should look like for example). I like themes, loose themes but I like a focus. I like books which are interesting to read too, with helpful hints, intros that are like little stories, how to do stuff you may not know, etc. I like books with a recipe per page, not when they are crammed in all together (another thing that happens with bigger books).

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Pictures aren't important at all to me. I find it stressful enough to make a recipe, no less having it match what it should look like. I like a mid sized book with a variety of recipes that the author has really put thought into. I pass on books that have a lot of exotic ingredients. I hardly ever make soups, salads, sauces or desserts (except for a plain spring mix or romaine lettuce salad), so an all main dish cookbook would be my ideal book.
I'd pay $20.00-$25.00 for a cookbook ( shhh... PPKers could charge me much more and I'd still pay!) I also like the how to stock your pantry and kitchen tools sections in each one, because every author gives their unique view.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:00 pm 
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I'm all about pictures. They're the first thing I turn to when looking for new cookbooks and I usually gravitate towards the recipes with the nicest-looking pictures before I make the ones without a corresponding photo. They're also super helpful when I'm cooking something new for my partner- he never wants to read recipes, just look at pictures. So if I can just hand him a colourful, photo-packed book to flip through and choose something, it makes my life much easier.

I think loose themes like regional cuisines are good. I tend to pick up 'world food' sorts of books before any others, just because we eat a lot of southeast Asian food in my house. It's also helpful to be able to pick up a theme book when I feel like something different. I've been thinking about getting an American comfort food book just because it's something different and that I'm trying more often. But I'm not that fussed about themes, really. I'll generally buy something because it's been recommended to me or I've seen a lot of people cooking from it on the PPK.

Cookbooks in Australia are pretty overpriced (Viva Vegan is $35-$40 in stores here, whereas it's less than $20 online), so I tend to buy things from bookdepository.co.uk too. I would pay more if I really wanted it though, but really I'm just cheap and riding out this whole strong dollar thing while it lasts.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:03 pm 
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I like pictures. I tend to make the recipes with pictures first over others. I also like simple recipes. I don't like overcomplicated recipes or expensive ingredients. I would pay more for pictures. I like larger cookbooks with all sorts of types of recipes rather than short, themed books. I would pay up to $35 depending on the quality of the book.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:50 pm 
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variety of snack foods, desserts, full meals. also there need to be ingredients that i can easily obtain. and PICTURES

and ones that don't close up when you open them and place them on the counter. more cookbooks need to be coil-bound, i reckon. either that or i need one of those forkin stands.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:57 am 
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Pictures are nice, but I'm usually content with just an insert. As long as the dish sounds good from the title, ingredients and description (gotta have a description!), I'll make it.

And list all the recipe titles in the table of contents. I haaaaaate when books don't do that.

This may sound pretty crazy, but the most important thing to me is text. I have a few books where the font used for the recipe titles are nearly illegible. If I don't know what the dish is called, I'm not going to make it. I've never made anything from either of these books, despite the fact that they've been well recommended (and one I've had for at least a year).

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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:37 am 
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kara kara wrote:

This may sound pretty crazy, but the most important thing to me is text. I have a few books where the font used for the recipe titles are nearly illegible. If I don't know what the dish is called, I'm not going to make it. I've never made anything from either of these books, despite the fact that they've been well recommended (and one I've had for at least a year).

YES! I refuse to buy Sarah Kramer books because the recipe titles are neon green or blue. And I know a lot of people love those books. Recipe titles are the worst place to use cursive or light colored text.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what do you look for in a cookbook??
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:46 am 
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Size matters. I prefer medium-sized books. The large ones make me question the integrity of the recipes (were they really tested? are there really just 100 recipes with 100 variations?).

Pictures matter. They show me what some of this writer's food looks like.

Table of Contents matters. Strange, but some cookbooks get so fancy with organization that I can't find what I'm looking for (especially if the index is limited).

Trust matters. I have a ton of cookbooks and I've come to trust only certain writers/cooks. I have a few from a writer who has written many books and I don't like any of them. From now on, I stick to the ones I know unless the book is highly recommended by people I trust.

Price doesn't matter. I love learning about food and cooking so I don't mind spending money on books. Plus, I always buy with coupons or gift cards.


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