Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eat Your Books

Do you know how many cookbooks you own? Above is what my kitchen bookshelf looked like only a few months ago. The photo at the bottom was taken over a year ago. This is only about 25% of the total cookbooks I own. I rotate the cookbooks on this shelf according to the ones I use the most, so they are the most convenient. The shelf changes depending on what new cookbooks I have and also varies by season. You will see that some have a permanent home on the kitchen shelf. The truth of the matter is that until very recently I rarely used my cookbooks for every day cooking. Sure, when I first purchase them I look through them and cook a few recipes, then they go back on the shelf. The problem is that the internet is so much more handy when it comes to finding a specific recipe. Although I love my cookbooks and would never have given them up, I just didn't find them useful for finding something for dinner. Even though I have a couple of cookbooks specifically for that task.
My internet recipe habit has lead to extreme cookbook guilt. Why have all these cookbooks if you aren't going to use them, I ask myself? Well, thankfully I'm not the only one who must be having this problem. A couple of months ago I signed up for a new service called Eat Your Books, I mentioned them back in July in this post. I initially signed up for the free trial, but after entering only a couple of my books I realized what a valuable tool it was going to be and paid for the full year subscription. You see, you can search all of the cookbooks you own just as you would for a recipe on the internet. You find what you are looking for an then pull the book off your own shelf to get the recipe. Not to mention I can tell you that I own 143 cookbooks that contain 20, 487 recipes!
I am still using the service and my cookbooks regularly. About a week ago I was having a late night craving for chocolate chip cookies. The thing is that it was late and the idea of scooping out endless cookies and cooking several batches did not sound all that fun. Sometimes I want to bake, other times I just want to eat cookies! So, I typed chocolate chips, nuts, and bars into Eat Your Books and came up with a great recipe for Congo Bars, essentially chocolate chip cookies without all the work (don't worry, I'll post this recipe soon). The recipe was in a very small book that would be lost in the shuffle normally. If this had been a few month ago I would have immediately looked for a recipe on the internet.
Ok, so why would I be telling you all of this? Well, I honestly believe it is a great product and wanted you to know about it. Also, the more people that use it, the better it becomes as there are sections to review the recipes you have made with other readers. Plus, I really don't want it to go away.
***The giveaway that was originally associated with this post is now complete. Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winner. The winner has been notified and has accepted their prize.
Full Disclosure: The views expressed in this post are all my own. I contacted Eat Your Books to ask them if they would like to offer a giveaway on my site. They in turn offered to provide a lifetime membership to the winner of the giveaway.
In addition I was personally offered a free lifetime membership and they have also offered to link all my recipe posts from cookbooks in the review section of their site. I am thrilled to be accepting both offers.

21 comments:

  1. I just looked at the site & discovered that they're indexing cooking MAGAZINES, too! THAT is totally why I NEED a membership!

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  2. Wow, this would be worth it for the magazine indexing alone. I have such a backlog of Cook's Illustrated issues and can never find anything. Very cool idea.

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  3. The first I had heard of Eat Your Books was earlier this Summer when you wrote about them... and I thought the same thing as Stephanie and Dani above! I have a lot of cookbooks, but something that could organize the many years of Saveur that I can not part with? What a brilliant idea for a website, it's so functional and practical!

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  4. This is a great giveaway- count me in! 2000+ indexed cookbooks is impressive (from the Eat Your Books site). Maybe it's because I'm trained as a magazine journalist, but I much prefer the feel of a real, live cookbook to online recipes.

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  5. Boy, did I go work for this one! I went and reorganized my shelves of cookbooks and counted what I have that is not packed away. I do have 168 on the shelves. I think that is cool that you also re-do your shelves for what books are important and change them around at different times. This was good to count and see how many I have out.
    By doing this, you can see the need I have for Eat Your Books ! I joined this group when you last posted and have enjoyed the free side of it. Wouldn’t be cool to have a lifetime membership! Wowzer!
    Thanks for doing this and I hope I win!!!!!

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  6. Nicole, I have over 200 cookbooks and magazines on my kitchen bookshelf. I identify with your guilt over going to the internet before using the books that I already own. This site looks like it would make my favorite bookcase and its contents much more useful to me. Thanks to both you and "Eat Your Books" for the offer/chance.

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  7. I really like this idea! I could get rid of all the post-it's I have sticking out of most of my cookbooks.

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  8. Oh my! I kinda wished that I hadn't counted. 257 and that's NOT counting magazines. And I even got rid of some lately! But what a clever idea - I really, really like it. One of my pet peeves is not being able to find a recipe that I know I have.

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  9. Amazing! I am a young newlywed so my cookbook collection is not as robust as some of these ladies but it is quickly taking up more and more space in our tiny apartment as the months pass. And that's not counting the 6 cookbooks I'm hoping to get for my birthday! As you can tell, I think it's going to be a lifetime problem... perfect for a lifetime membership to this awesome resource! Love the magazine and cooking blog aspect as well. Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

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  10. I'd like to win this prize because I almost signed up for a subscription the last time you posted about it -- such a great idea -- and then forgot. A lifetime membership would be excellent. In fact, I rejoined Twitter just to meet your criteria for entry -- not that it'll help because I have precisely zero followers. :-)

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  11. Oh wow, this is so cool! I agree - the magazine part is awesome too. I have a stack that I finally moved from my kitchen but haven't recycled because I just know there are good recipes in there I will want to use still!

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  12. What a great resource! I could really use this service, especially since it indexes some of my favorite blog recipes!

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  13. Fantastic! (And I'm so glad to have contributed to your habit when you visited Omnivore...)

    I still haven't gotten an EatYourBooks subscription, and lord knows that I need one. (The tally is over a thousand.)

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  14. I would love it because I just spent so much time in college collecting cookbooks and promising dinners to friends! Now I have a kitchen and free time, I just need to get organized!

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  15. A lifetime of indexed cookbooks on my shelf. I need a better reason than that?

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  16. I OWN 113 but only 69 are on Eat Your Books right now. I think I need a FEW more!!!

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  17. What a GENIUS idea! I am constantly "googleing" for recipes, only to look at my cookbook shelf and wonder why I keep so many if I'm not going to use them. The thought of "googleing" MY BOOKS is enough reason to check out the site, even if I don't win the contest. Thanks for letting me know about it.

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  18. I found out about this giveaway through Sam (who's commented, above, as well!) I've just started collecting cookbooks, so I only have a lucky dozen. But I'd *love* to win a lifetime membership to EYB -- not only because it would allow for a combination of indexed books/magazines/blogs, but also because I could then "take" those collections with me whenever I get a vacation rental or go back home (to India) on holiday. Besides, I'm already kind of a cataloguing nerd (I've spent the past few months cataloging *all* my books at Librarything.com, and have also started to enter individual recipes at Pepperplate.com) so I'd love to make use of the site's excellent combination of searchability + browsability -- easy access to what I already know is there, plus rediscovering new recipes in books I already own! Thanks for this opportunity.

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  19. awww, darn, hadn't realized the contest had ended, since the blog post said september 26! oh well, congrats to the winner!!

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  20. Oh my goodness sim, I am so sorry. You are correct, this is a sign my life has become too hectic. I honestly thought yesterday was the 26th. The scary part is when I posted this I also thought that the Monday coming up was the 26th. I'm going to leave things where they are at, but so sorry to anyone that was confused. The good news is that I have an extra week now!

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  21. Thanks, I am so excited!!!! Woohoo!

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