Rags of Light

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Cookbook Peeves.

I got a new (old, really, ordered a used copy) cookbook that I’m enjoying very much. One of the best things about it is that it has no photos. Almost every contemporary cookbook includes a staged color photo of every recipe. This has at least three harmful results:

  1. It uses up space that could have been used for meaningful information;
  2. It greatly increases the cost of the book: Color printing, glossy paper, etc., with no corresponding benefit.
  3. If you make the recipe, it won’t end up looking at all like the professionally staged photo anyway.

Cookbooks that resist the photo invasion: Richard Olney’s Simple French Food; All Viana LaPlace’s books; various classics from the hippie era such as Laurel’s Kitchen. I wish I could list more.

To use a phrase from a recent rant that I cherish: How have we come to this? How did we let this happen?