My New Favorite Things in the Kitchen

Several years ago, I was watching a program on HGTV about renovating kitchens. In one episode, a woman was sitting in a big, poofy chair reading a book in front of a fireplace – in the kitchen. The entire fireplace was surrounded with shelves filled with cookbooks. To this day, I get happy thinking about that woman and the happy place she created in her kitchen. It would be no surprise to anyone who actually knows me to hear that the kitchen is my happy place. And this year it got even happier with a few of my NEW favorite things.

eatyourbooks.com_medium EAT YOUR BOOKS: My cookbooks make me smile. And now, thanks to the brilliant mind of Jane Kelly, and the site Eat Your Books, I have found a way to utilize my cookbooks more efficiently. In addition to cookbooks, I also have a collection of food magazines that are neatly tucked away, in date order, in special boxes. Jane’s provided me with a way to access the recipes in the magazines without cutting the magazines to pieces or tagging the recipes with post-it notes. Needless to say I had a fun day taking all the color-coded tags off all the pages. I can; however, tag recipes and write notes in EYB so I can easily find the recipes again.

Here’s how the Eat Your Books site works. Once you register for an account, you begin entering your cookbooks and magazines on to your virtual bookshelf. Many, but not all, of the titles listed on the EYB site have been indexed. That means someone has gone through the cookbook and made an index of all the recipe names and the major ingredients. Let’s say you have a bucket of fennel and you want to find a few recipes that feature fennel. You could go searching through all your cookbooks and magazines (*sigh*) or you could login to EYB, go to your bookshelf, and type in the word “fennel” in the search box. A list of all the books and magazines on your shelf with fennel as an ingredient will appear. That’s how easy it is. You won’t find recipes…the search results will simply point you to the right place to look.

The annual membership for EYB is $25. Okay, that’s four cups of fancy coffee and it’s totally worth it. And, to sweeten the deal, EYB is now indexing recipe blogs, too. Trust me. If you have ten or more cookbooks, you’ll love this site. One more little, but not unimportant, item. Many of the indexed magazines have recipes online. That means you can put a magazine on your virtual bookshelf – that you don’t own – use it to meal plan, and then get directed to the online recipe. It makes me happy just thinking about it. Lastly, it’s a perfectly good reason to buy more cookbooks. Just sayin’.


FINE COOKING: One of the magazines I really enjoy reading is Fine Cooking. It’s my “go to” magazine for figuring out different ways to use one ingredient. For example, in one issue, they show you how to use carrots as a side dish for Thanksgiving – six different ways. I have hardcopy going back quite a few years, but they’re in a box in the basement so I could make room for more cookbooks. Several months ago, I bought a DVD recipe archive of Fine Cooking magazines going back to the first issue in 1994. The DVD offers lots of little extras like search functions, tips, and more. And, for less than the cost of a subscription, you can get each new year on DVD, too. But, I couldn’t stop there. Keep in mind that Fine Cooking is indexed on EYB, not all 17 years, but it’ll happen. I took the time to convert all the issues to PDF and uploaded them on to my number one favorite thing in the kitchen…


APPLE iPAD: It’s changed my cooking experience. I’ve now stopped subscribing to magazines in hardcopy. I read them on my iPad using Zinio or some other app, or I upload them to iBooks, or I search recipes in magazines on my bookshelf using EYB. I’m still waiting for the Lucky Peach magazine app to get out of the lab and on to my iPad – the first issue was a thing of beauty. There are several apps available for cooks in the App store, but I find I have such a great variety available on my bookshelf that I rarely need to look elsewhere. And, I also have quite a few eCookbooks, too.  I rarely have excessive “downtime” in my life, but when a moment occurs where I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, at the airport, getting my oil changed, or I can’t sleep at night, I simply pull out my iPad and read a magazine or a book, my Bible, or plan a meal.

In addition to all my print resources, I also have a very large database of recipes. I’ve recently migrated them off of recipe software to Google Docs where I can now access them from anywhere using my iPad. Well, almost anywhere. I’m still waiting for Google to make an really good app to access docs. In the meantime, I use an app I don’t really like, but it works.

I use my iPad outside of the kitchen, too. It keeps the kids entertained for hours, I stalk people on facebook and twitter, I read books and blogs, and I get all the news I need in a 9.5″x7.31″ space.

Maybe one day you’ll find me sitting in front of a fireplace in my kitchen reading a cookbook. Meanwhile, my NEW favorite things make me happier in the kitchen. Well, my knives do, too. Okay, and my cookware. Hmmm…and my food processor. I do love my hand blender. Then there’s the food mill. Did I mention my knives?


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Eat Your Books