Corporate Cookbooks vs. Food Bloggers (Guest Post)

**The Blissful Adventurer is running about Italy at the moment so in his stead we happily endorse and support the work of the following blogger, The Passionate Culinarian. Please check out this post, leave comments for exchange with the author, and give their blog a read.**


The Passionate Culinarian believes that cooking is a form of worship and should be treated as a blessing, not a burden. Long live the Family Table! He resides in a house overrun with estrogen, and longs for the day when he can get a male dog to eliminate the hormonal imbalance he daily contends with.


The Blissful Adventurer - Michael Housewright
First: Grazie molto, fratello, per questa l’oportunita!

Now let’s get dangerous.

How many cookbooks do you have? Whether you’re a seasoned culinarian, or a newbie exploring the wonderfully strong world of food, I guarantee you have at least one cookbook. I have only 3 cookbooks that I rarely use. Most of my recipes were self-handwritten, on notebook paper, while learning to cook in Italy. I reference them when needed. As I pursue this passion of mine, the more I develop my own culinary identity. The cookbooks I have are merely guides.

Cookbooks prompt me to steal from another and reshape that booty into mine own. (Not that I am opposed to this. I encourage people to steal my recipes and make them into their own. I will hardly be offended.)

I mention all this because I detest reading the recipes of strangers. These ‘famous people’ cookbooks are written by people I will never meet. Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri? They’re not even approachable. They are corporate, at best. A brand. A name. A commodity. *facepalm* They cheapen culinarianism for the sake of status.

Most of the cookbooks we read are lacking any familiarity of spirit, and are presented to us so we can vicariously achieve ‘ foodie rock-star status’. I have seen people say, “Well, this is a recipe I got from (insert some famous chef’s name) and it’s amazing!” Well…I mean…it’s not their recipe, then. They are merely parroting someone else. Where’s the passion? Where’s the pride in ownership? Where’s the culinary mindset? Be honest: Do you really need someone to tell you how to bake a chicken? There’s only so many ways to do it, and we probably all know them.

If you want a real recipe, I know where you should go. I am speaking of the Foodie Bloggity-blog world.

Like having a conversation in real-time, when I read foodie blogs and their recipes, I feel as though I am there with them, learning about them. These are real people, with real blogs and real lives, and they use their precious time to share their culinary acumen and real-world culinary experiences. And the best part is, I can email them with questions or even leave a comment, that I know will be read, on their blog. I love that kind of interaction and approachability. It’s so…not…corporate.

I harp on local organic farming and sustainable local organic food production quite a bit. I would rather know where, and from whom, my food is coming, instead of the cold and impersonal corporate food brainwashing and cheapened slavery that is readily available in grocery stores across our Nation. So it goes with recipes. I can buy a cookbook from someone I will never meet, hoping to eventually name-drop them when I mimic one of their recipes, or I can read and digest recipes from real foodies, with real food blogs, and embrace their passion and creativity.

I know I want others to view my blog in that light. I want others to visit, to read, to contemplate, and to steal from me by making my recipes theirs, with their own little something. Even Michael, here at TBA, has shared part of who and what he is through a recipe or two. I adore that.

Please, visit your approachable foodie bloggers and let them speak to you through a recipe. It matters.

Comments

  1. says

    My best cookbook ever was hand written by my grandmother and my mother with notes on who came to dinner and where in the world they were when they cooked that particular meal! Sadly it was stollen. That aside I so agree with you. Thanks (from Italy)

  2. says

    I have to admit to a couple of yards of cookbooks. There are a few of them that have been used and reused over many years. I have been given many gifts of cookbooks including some awful examples such as The Desperate Housewives Cookbook. Strangely, I have never cooked anything from it. Come on over to my blog and use, adapt and generally mess around with the recipes. That's why they are there.
    Excellent post.
    Best,
    Conor

    • says

      Conor,

      You said:
      "Come on over to my blog and use, adapt and generally mess around with the recipes. That’s why they are there."
      ———-

      See? That right there is what it is all about! 'Come visit my blog and steal from me!' A most excellent suggestion, indeed.

      • says

        Steal away. Just tell everybody you stole it from me! That way, they can come here and do likewise. Though, when I do use other's recipes, I do credit them. That's only fair.
        Best,
        Conor

  3. sarahsjoys says

    In the last few months I have noticed I've finally reached a comfort level in the kitchen that finds me forging my own way far more frequently than relying on recipes. I will admit many of my early food blogs borrowed recipes from famous chefs, most of them tweaked here or there, but I've had a growing desire to move towards only blogging recipes I create. It's exciting, fun, and when I share what I've come up with, I know it's a labor of love. It's a process I feel I am growing into. I love that food blogs often come with personal stories and it makes you feel like you are making the recipe of a friend. I love that food bloggers (most anyhow) are approachable and happy to respond to questions or comments. I love getting responses from people on my own blog. I will admit to still holding on to my cookbooks…even though they rarely get used….The pictures are so pretty! And I do have a few favorite recipes I won't be giving up. Good food is good food whether the recipe is from my great grandmother, my own tinkering, a fellow blogger, or Michael Chiarello. Isn't there a place for all of it? 😉

    • says

      Sarah,

      You said:
      "In the last few months I have noticed I’ve finally reached a comfort level in the kitchen that finds me forging my own way far more frequently than relying on recipes. I will admit many of my early food blogs borrowed recipes from famous chefs, most of them tweaked here or there, but I’ve had a growing desire to move towards only blogging recipes I create. It’s exciting, fun, and when I share what I’ve come up with, I know it’s a labor of love."
      ———-

      That was excellent! Your culinary mindset is spot-on, and I know you're going to establish your home kitchen as an arena of great food, passion, and of course, Love.

      Brava!

  4. Anonymous says

    I really enjoy a little bit of both, however, infusing your own sense of taste into it, usually brings the magic to the recipe. Enjoyed the blog, we definitely check out the blogs mentioned.

    • says

      anonymous,

      I will agree. There is that fine line of balance needed to juggle recipes, and not ALL cookbooks are bad. My reticence is simply when people 'follow' a particular Food Network personality in the hopes of parroting their culinary presence by using their recipes. A trained monkey can do that, and last time I checked, we are better than trained monkeys.

  5. says

    I definitely agree as well – I love the interaction with other foodies, not the mention the wealth of information I manage to collect purely from conversations with them that I otherwise would remain ignorant of :)

  6. says

    I love this! So true. I will admit I have a small cookbook addiction but I really just have them to steal from and learn technique. Same thing that I do with cooking shows. So much of a good cookbook for me is visual and I write notes all over them to keep track of my own twists. I'm visiting you to steal some ideas.

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