Weekly Question: Cookbooks or Apps

There’s an interesting debate going on concerning cookbooks v. apps. Some people are for using cookbooks in the kitchen while some are all about the technology.  MSNBC recently did a piece “In Defense of Cookbooks” which is prompting some serious food for thought.  Curious as to where I stand?  Well you’ll have to read the article to find out.

I’m curious to see where YOU stand on the Cookbooks v. Apps debate – for, against or maybe a little of both.  Let’s discuss!


Stop the Insanity – Celebrity Cookbook Overload

Recently, I went into my local Barnes & Noble and was greeted with this sight that got me thinking…

Display of "Bestselling Cookbooks" in Barnes & Noble.

I never really noticed the plethora of “celebrity” cookbooks until recently. It seems like every celebrity not only must do their normal 9to9 (acting/singing/”reality show”/etc.) but they also must have a fashion line, a fragrance (or more in the case of a few celebs), a beauty line, a book and, if their agent/manager can finagle it, a cookbook followed by a food/drink line, cookware/bakeware/homewares line, and so on and so on.

I  would see the occasional celeb cookbook (and I use the term “celeb” loosely since I also am including reality stars in that mix) and I never really paid it any mind. Lately, it seems there is more celebrity cookbooks and I’m sorry – these individuals are not “celebrity chefs” no matter how much they try to utilize that moniker. However, the “definition of a celebrity chef” is a rant for another day. Also, I have to state for the record that I firmly believe that that are celebs that are passionate about cooking and actually practice what they preach (Ms. Patti Labelle is one that walks the walk and talks the talk – same with Ms. Dolly Parton and, of course, Cooking Channel’s Debi Mazar and Gabrielle Corcos who had a blog and online cooking show long before it was “trendy”) but this “discussion” isn’t about them because their recipes and actions speak volumes.

Recently a well known celebrity went on a national morning show to hawk their latest cookbook. During the demo, I noticed that this celeb didn’t appear to really know her own recipes or the stories behind it. It was then a lightbulb clicked in my recovering publicist mind – she must have had a ghostwriter or family member put it together. This celeb had a relative with her and that person caught the fumble and ran with it for a touchdown but I resolved then and there to NOT buy that specific cookbook nor review it and, technically, it also made me question that celebrity’s integrity because while she’s on there hawking this cookbook and saying she put her heart and soul into it, by all appearances, clearly she didn’t.

I totally get branding and endorsements but, if you collaborated with someone, be honest. Your fans and the audience would absolutely appreciate the transparency. This isn’t a one time situation – it seems to be a many time situation and she’s not the only celeb – many others are guilty of this as well. I won’t even address the whole “housewife” drama where they put out cookbooks one, after another, after another and the recipes not only leave much to be desired, but in the case of one of the book, as noticed by a dear friend, some of those “recipes” weren’t even written by that celeb but were taken from a well known cookbook with no credit, adaption, nada. (And, for the love of all things Julia Child, I have to say that if network suits give one of these housewives a cooking show instead of a talented chef or cook that knows their way around a kitchen, I’m really going to wonder what is wrong with the network and perhaps flip the channel – permanently)

I have heard time and time again about how celebrities use ghostwriters to write their novels, etc. and I’m sure that there are many recipe developers that were behind the making of a celebrity cookbook. The publishing company puts the celeb’s name on it and sales are high and all involved are happy. Does that make the celeb the next Martha? In my opinion, definitely not. Martha Stewart has a passion for cooking, entertaining, etc. and has built her media empire on it. The celebrity has a different legacy, in my opinion, and while I appreciate that some have the passion for it – many often don’t and see it as yet another revenue tool – courtesy of their agent/manager/etc. They go on promotional tours for this specific cookbook and, at the end of that media blitz, it’s over and onto the next branding opportunity. There is a lucrative business in branding – there’s no denying that. If you talk to many celebrity chefs, you will see that they have a clear plan – cookbooks, housewares, linens, etc. But those celebrity chefs also deliver, in my opinion, and many often utilize their own lines in their day to day dealings.

I’ll jump off my soapbox now before I get TOO ranty – but I’m curious to see what you think.

Are you YAY or NAY for Celebrity Cookbooks and would you purchase them before you purchased one from an actual food personality (whether it’s from OWN, Food Network, Cooking Channel, PBS, Bravo, etc.).

Food for Thought: Dangers of Glass Cookware

My heavens, nothing like the dull and dreary to rain on a holiday parade, right?

However, this was a story that caught my eye almost immediately. Consumer Reports is reporting on the dangers of glass cookware, specifically those made by Pyrex and Anchor Hocking. Apparently, they can shatter, more than likely due in part to the fact that the companies have changed the original formula from a type of glass that was borosilicate to a kind of glass that is soda lime.

Lately I have been debating whether or not to add some Pyrex to my kitchen but after reading this article, I am officially wary. Plus, I remember a few years ago, Erin over at Erin Cooks talked about how her glass dish shattered in the oven when making Mac & Cheese.

Have you had any Pyrex explosions in your kitchen?

Food for Thought: The New High – Nutmeg

On the morning drive this morning, one radio host said that today’s teens have found a way to replace the Four Loko buzz thanks to a common household spice – nutmeg.  Of course, I thought that this might be a joke but, the more I read about it over at Yahoo, as well as a couple other online news spots like the Washington Post,  my next response was “What da heck!?!?!”  Growing up, this is not something that either myself or my friends would even think about. For us, the spice cabinet was of no interest.  Sure, there was the occasional wine cooler at a party but, for the most part, I was a pretty well behaved kid.  My friends weren’t so bad either.

Lately, I find myself often shaking my head and lamenting the state of today’s youth. Perhaps I shouldn’t because I’m not *that* much older, but the thing I have to ask is why do most teens today appear to not have any common sense. I often joke with my friends that at the rate I’m going, I’m going to be on that balcony shaking a cane in my cardigan and pearls while screaming “Daggone Whippersnappers!” Whether it’s actually counting the change from a cash register or even when it comes to the most mundane task of bagging groceries (no, do not put household cleaning products in with the bread and eggs please, thankyouverymuch), the fact remains – I’m a bit nervous for the future.

Prime example – I wonder what would motivate a kid so much to rustle through the spices, grab the ground nutmeg and decide to get toasted off of it? Thankfully, this isn’t life-threatening, but still – nutmeg?

What do you think about this new development? Will you be telling your kids to stay away from the spice cabinet?