I’ve been thinking about cookbooks because a friend of mine just released a beautiful one this week called The Brandywine Book of Food. It has recipes, gorgeous photos, and focuses on the culinary terroir of the Brandywine River, which mostly winds its way through Pennsylvania and Delaware. I can’t wait to buy it.
But I’ve been wondering if I’m one of the few people who still treasures cookbooks. I love to read them, just for fun, even if I’m not looking for a particular recipe.
Some people say they’ve pretty much abandoned the books in favor of websites like epicurious.com. I agree that I’m also a fan of plugging in a few ingredients and, voilà, you have an instant recipe with ratings from cooks who have actually made the dish. But I still like my printed books.
Then, today, I saw an article in the New York Times titled, "Cookbooks As Edible Adventures." It concurs that cookbooks are still alive and well. In fact, there are dozens of new ones with varied approaches that will be published soon, including The Pioneer Woman Cooks by a wife and mother who lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma; My New Orleans, co-written by chef John Besh, who owns six restaurants in the city; and So Easy by Ellie Krieger, a nutritionist who puts delicious into healthy foods, to name just a few.
Just reading the NYT story made me start picking out which books I would like to add to my collection. But the local Brandywine cookbook by co-author Roger Morris—who has written for national food publications—particularly appeals to me because I used to live in Wilmington, DE, and I appreciate the landscape that houses such gems as Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine River Museum, and Winterthur, a duPont estate.
Check out the book or take a day trip to visit the area for yourself. My favorite restaurants, whose chefs have shared recipes for the book, include Domaine Hudson, Harry’s Seafood Grill, and Simon Pearce. But you won’t go wrong if you just go to the local Jake’s and grab a burger and shake.