Very heavy cookbooks!

Many of my newer cookbooks are very heavy in weight, over 4 pounds!
Why? Often oversized as well. They seem cumbersome and awkward with no benefits from weight and size. Perhaps just my weak old wrists wrestling them down😉

The need for lots of photos, perhaps?

In the good old days, we just needed to be told how to cook a dish, not also how it should look.

1 Like

Might be an effort to make it “worth it” for you to buy a physical book, rather than get your recipes online.

Sometimes I think of those as Coffee Table books, to look at, rather than use in the kitchen.

1 Like

As bookends and doorstops?..

1 Like

For quite a while now, the “average cookbook buyer” (or at least the publishing industry’s perception of them) seems to want photos, photos, photos (and yet more photos), and except for some obviously specialized ones, any cookbook that doesn’t have them liberally illustrating as many aspects of every recipe as possible ends up getting lots of Amazon reviews complaining about their absence. (I’ve been known to do the opposite - complain about an excess of photos the only purpose of which is to make the book “look pretty” - but I’m definitely in the minority…)

Personally, I’m the opposite. Photos are nice, but they’re expensive to print and take up space (that means either fewer recipes, or a needlessly bigger book), so while I don’t mind - and even appreciate - reasonable-size photos of dishes that aren’t necessarily easy (for someone who’s ever cooked before) to picture based on the ingredients and instructions, or the occasional photo that really helps to explain something that’s either difficult to explain only in words, or would take the proverbial thousand words to describe, on the whole, I find the trend seriously annoying…

A corollary is the tendency of all cookbooks these days to explain even the simplest things in minute detail (because if they don’t, they’ll  get lots of negative reviews complaining that they’re too “complicated” for “home cooks” and don’t explain enough…:roll_eyes:) It doesn’t seem to occur to novice cooks to look for “books for novices”, but it certainly does occur to them to complain about books that don’t meet their expectations (no matter how off-the-wall those expectations might be…)

2 Likes

Which leads me to wonder if MtAoFC would have been successful today.

2 Likes

That wasn’t heavy. Her last cookbook, The Way to Cook is heavy. I also like Kenji’s The Food Lab, but it’s way too heavy.

1 Like

Note sure what MtAoFC is, but neither The Way to Cook nor The Food Lab are what I’d delegate coffee table books.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

1 Like

Ohhhhhh! I dont think I have that. I think I would know if I did. I know I have Food Lab and while I don’t pull it out while I’m cooking, I don’t put it on my coffee table either. I also don’t have a coffee table.

Several years ago my husband made his first apple pie while I was at work. He said he got the recipe out of one my cookbooks, so I’m thinking Betty Crocker right. Nope, he went straight to The Creative Cooking Course edited by Charlotte Turgeon.:smile: One of my all time favorite cookbooks but that thing weighs a ton.

1 Like

I think there are few trends here.

One type is informational encyclopaedia bible type of cookbook, usually a lot of recipes in text, random photos, but still big in volume to try to cover the vast topic.

Chef accomplishment. Those are lush volumes with beautiful food porn, but technically impossible to cook, you will never be able to find the ingredients or one dish composed of 8 preparations. From Netflix Chef’s table, I learned that these books appeal a lot to chefs.

Technical bible. These books have a lot of step by step preparation photos. People that are new to the subject like these type of books.

Specific cuisine cookbooks, these usually include 2 parts, first part the culture, history, including tons of travel photos, people, cities, some photos of food, ingredients, followed by part 2 the recipes.

Full page photos are nearly the norm nowadays in cookbooks, as web enhances the importance of visual appeal. Also I think bigger volumes, one can justify a higher selling price.

When I was an inexperienced cook, I appreciated a lot the visualisation of the cooked dish. Now I may tolerate text recipe, but I still prefer books with photos.

Certain books like to include only photos in the first part, looks like an art book and text recipes at the end of the book, with a number to refer back to page of the photo, while these look good, I find it annoying to use, going to and fro.

I seldom pull out the big books when cooking anymore but take a photo of the recipe and cook with a phone or iPad.

2 Likes
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold