Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Eat Your Books,' new online cookbook indexing service

Cooks have always appreciated the ease of online recipes, but often remain loyal to the cookbooks they own. Thanks to a new online cookbook indexing service, cooks can do both.

"In the past, I would have gone to the Central Asian section of my books and gone through the indexes," said Mary-Claire van Leunen, cook and retired Seattle software researcher. "I would have looked in two or three cookbooks, and wound up adapting something."
Eat Your Books, which was launched nine months ago, boasts a library of 88,000 books with more than 2,000 indexed volumes. Users just tell the site which books in the library they own. This creates a virtual bookshelf that is saved to the user's Eat Your Books account. Now, when van Leunen needs a recipe, she can go online and quickly peruse the recipes of chefs she already trusts. Eat Your Books does not reproduce the actual recipe; it helps members find their recipes in their cookbooks and magazines.

Also neat about the website is the ability to Google your own cookbooks. In a matter of seconds, you can do a search and find all of the chocolate cake recipes in your cookbook library. Because the site categorizes the recipes in a number of ways, including ingredients, you could choose a recipe based on what you have in your refrigerator. 
Users can chat with other cookbook lovers on the website, as well as share cooking knowledge or solicit tips and other recipes. Users also can browse other members' bookshelves for cookbooks that they might wish to add to their personal collection.

I'll try anything once. 

So I jumped on Eat Your Books. Within seconds, I discovered it had several of my favorite cookbooks including Lucinda Scala Quinn's "Mad Hungry" and "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Vol. II," by Julia Child.

If you love to cook, chances are you enjoy reading stories about cooking. For those times when you're looking to chow down a good read, the website features a listing of popular foodie blogs such as "Simply Recipes" and "Recipe Girl."

I would never give up my collection of hardcover cookbooks, but there's no reason not to embrace a new digital tool like this. It serves our need for familiarity and convenience.

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