Last week Sam Grobart wrote a tech piece in The New York Times business section called “Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (Or Not).” Basically, in this brave new world–the one in which we all have smart phones and tablets–there is some bridge technology that you can now finally (!) chuck. Examples include thumb drives, GPS units, camcorders, point-and-shoot cameras.
Then he gets to books, which he recommends we keep, with one glaring exception: cookbooks. (And if you’re still trying to figure out how to use your new camera or get the right voice on your Garmin, you are most definitely the kind of sucker who is still lugging around an extensive collection of cookbooks.)
I see a copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home at just about every friend’s house, and seeing it lying there is about all the interaction I can handle. Have you tried to pick that monster up? Let alone drag it into the kitchen and hoist it onto your counter? That’s right, it takes up a lot of cooking space, and the gorgeous pages become instantly greasy. Try to use a cookbook stand; have a laugh.
Grobart’s got it right:
There is one area where printed matter is going to give way to digital content: cookbooks. Martha Stewart Makes Cookies a $5 app for the iPad, is the wave of the future. Every recipe has a photo of the dish (something far too expensive for many printed cookbooks).
Complicated procedures can be explained by an embedded video. When something needs to be timed, there’s a digital timer built right into the recipe. You can e-mail yourself the ingredients list to take to the grocery store. The app does what cookbooks cannot, providing a better version of everything that came before it.
I have to say this is indisputably true. Compelling evidence: It is the only reason I can see to buy an iPad, and even as a committed techphobe, I think it’s enough of one.