Monday, November 14, 2011

Apps become the secret ingredient in battle of celebrity Christmas cookbooks

As hefty new tomes from Heston, Jamie and the rest vie for a place under the tree, the digital revolution hits the kitchen. But can a smartphone ever replace a battered, beloved hardback?

Va - The Observer, The Hairy Bikers

The Hairy Bikers are among a host of celebrity chefs pushing new Christmas tomes. Photograph: Rex Features
The struggle to win the title of bestselling cookery title this Christmas threatens to be the fiercest yet with the arrival of a glamorous young contender. As hefty new volumes from the Hairy Bikers, Heston Blumenthal, Lorraine Pascale, Simon Hopkinson, Rick Stein, Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (left) line up to challenge Jamie Oliver, the reigning champion, they will also have to face competition from a succession of improved cooking apps for smartphones: these on-screen digital rivals are quickly earning their place in the kitchen.

With an app, the theory goes, a cook no longer has to battle with sticky cookbook pages as they dice and chop. They can also show a novice what to do in real time, rather than just giving them a long list of instructions to digest.
The wide popularity of tablet computers such as the iPad has made digital entrepreneurs look again at the commercial possibilities of the kitchen. Most updated cooking apps now offer alternative ways of seeing each recipe, including a step-by-step guide for beginners and a wordless, graphic illustration that serves as a visual reminder for more assured cooks.
Yet those domestic chefs who have long treasured their dog-eared copies of classics by Elizabeth David, Madhur Jaffrey or Delia Smith may find it difficult to accept a technological upgrade. Whether a favourite cookbook is marked with telling splashes and scribbled comments, or is merely read in bed, performing the function of a familiar comfort blanket, it still delivers something that the food writer and television presenter Jay Rayner suspects cannot be replaced.
"A cooking app is a brilliant thing, until you have to turn the page with hands caked in dough. A stained cookery-book page is a mark of commitment; a stained smartphone is a trip back to the shop," he suggests.
Full story at The Observer including a list of culinary milestones in publishing.

1 comment:

Mark Hubbard said...