Debate: Will the Internet Replace the Cook Book?

Anna Bradley and Laura Valli 2 November 2013

With a plethora of food blogs, recipes and columns available online at the click of a mouse, has the Internet made the cookbook redundant? Are we heading towards a land free of once-loved cookbooks?

YES: Anna Bradley

Of course! With easy access to an abundance of apps and websites, there's no longer any need to spend time trawling through recipe books! For inspiration look no further than the food blogs which have exploded onto the scene; free, fun and full of new ideas clockworklemon.com, noblepig.com and skinnytaste.com are some of my favourites.

In terms of recipes Google is your new best friend; instructions for making anything from scrambled eggs to a ten course banquet can be yours in two clicks. The common addition of cooking times and difficulty levels makes it easy to see what is within your capabilities but perhaps the most helpful characteristic of internet recipes is the comments section, where you can read what real people think of the dish you are about to make.

You wouldn't use a DIY manual to find out how to put up shelves, so why not use the internet for recipes too?

NO: Laura Valli

Never! In this age of freedom to upload information, anyone can post recipes online. Cookbooks, on the other hand, offer reliability. Recipes have been tested, trialled and improved to meet a certain quality. No such filter exists on the internet.

Ever feel overloaded with information? Type “Apple Pie” into Google and you are bombarded by a plethora of recipes for this traditional dish. A cookbook, on the other hand, holds only a limited number of recipes, categorised according to types of meals, main ingredients or seasons. Invaluable for the indecisive cook!

The pleasure gained from leafing through a cookbook is unrivalled. The font, paper, binding and photographs create a unique book that conveys the mood of its recipes more than any internet site could ever hope to achieve. Most importantly, the acquired value of a cookbook should not be forgotten: stained pages reminding us of foods that have been tried out on a regular weekday or perhaps for a special occasion.

I guess it won’t long until I place another order ..