The first ever cookbook rating app!


You may have noticed Susie's mentions of her new cookbook rating app but I thought it deserved an entire post.  Susie must thoroughly test more new cookbooks than anyone else around - as well as her posts for EYB, she reviews cookbooks for The Boston Globe and NPR.  So it made sense that Susie used all that experience to create a cool new app, CookShelf, that provides ratings for cookbooks - now available for download here.

Susie has applied several ratings - Skill (how much experience is required?), New (how innovative are the recipes?), Gift (how applicable is the book and to whom?), and Keeper (which books will stand the test of time?).  In addition she adds her own entertaining summary about the book. She has rated 200 books so far and will be adding several new ones every week.  She will also add new features e.g. she just added a Cookbooks as Mother's Day Gifts selection.  And finally, there are links to the recipe listing for every book that is indexed on EYB.

All this for $2.99 - a bargain (and a great gift for the cookbook lover in your life).  We have 5 copies of the app to give away to EYB members.  Please add a comment on what your most important criteria is when choosing a cookbook as a gift. Please make sure you are signed in to EYB when you comment so we have your email address to send you the promo code if you win.  Giveaway expires on May 9th.


  • minervasowl  on  5/2/2013 at 1:29 PM

    I like to share cookbooks that I have already used and love, but I realize that not everyone might be up for two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking or a thousand recipes from Gourmet magazine, so I make sure that (a) the recipient actually likes to cook and (b) I have a good feeling for the kinds of meals and foods the person likes to prepare OR would like to try preparing if only she had the right cookbook to guide her.

  • dancingbutterflies  on  5/2/2013 at 1:30 PM

    If the book is for a gift then I tend to go for books with fantastic graphics. If looking through the book is enough to make your mouth water it is bound to be a good choice :)

  • adrienneyoung  on  5/2/2013 at 1:43 PM

    I give only a few books away, and I give those few away a LOT. They are the books I go to repeatedly, and oddly, many don't have great graphics: Marcella Hazan's Essentials, Beth Hensperger's Rice Cooker Cookbook, etc. Or books with recipes that the giftee wants. Pretty pictures suck me in regularly, when I'm buying for myself. But for a gift, I like to at least TRY to give books that won't just take up space and demand periodic dusting.

  • Delys77  on  5/2/2013 at 2:18 PM

    I suppose it depends on the person to whom the book is being gifted. In my case I have typically given books to friends who are wanting to get into a cuisine or a specific type of cooking, which means that I always look for the most informative tome that is familiar to me. For example, I had a South Asian themed dinner party the other day and a friend commented that she would like to learn more about Indian cooking. I have a copy of 660 curries sitting on my desk right now waiting to be gifted to her. After being cookbook of the month on Chowhound a few months ago I know it is a solid book, and I know she will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

  • Aggie92  on  5/2/2013 at 2:46 PM

    I buy cookbooks on vacation which reflect the local area I'm visiting. Often I will buy multiple copies to give as gifts knowing my family will love sharing in our adventure through food. When my dad and grandmother went to Austrailia last year, the only souvenir I requested was an Aussie cookbook (or two!)

  • camtncook  on  5/2/2013 at 3:27 PM

    I like to give cookbooks that reflect the area where I live, and that have ingredients that are easy to get in the recipient's area. I also try to choose books that are graphically attractive in terms of layout, pictures, text, etc.

  • Natasha  on  5/2/2013 at 3:46 PM

    The most important criteria are 1) who is receiving the gift and 2) if I know the book, what I think of it. I've repeatedly given, as wedding gifts, one particular "cooking for two" cookbook, but it will now be replaced by a different one I prefer. However, for a couple getting married who already has kids? Cooking for two is, obviously, not what they're doing. There've been times I've given a specific book to someone that I've bonded with over it (and once when a friend beat me to the punch!). So, yes, in the end, the important things involve interaction, at least with the recipient and probably with the book.

  • traceys  on  5/2/2013 at 3:56 PM

    My main priority is that I think the receiver will love it. Is it the type of food I know they love or is it a new book by an author I know they love? Perhaps it's the food of a country that I know they love. That's the first priority: that I think they will love it. Beyond that -- because there will often be multiple choices that fit that criteria -- I would put as my second priority that it seems approachable. Since I know the person I'm gifting and I have a rough idea of what kind of cook they are, I want to make sure that I pick a book I think they will actually enjoy using. So even if a book fit my first criteria, I would never choose a crazy, complicated cookbook for a friend who is only a casual cook. Likewise, I would never choose a "basics" book for a friend who is a total foodie and loves to be challenged by recipes. My third criteria, once the book has met the first two, is feedback: do other people love it and find that the recipes work? What good do the first and second criteria serve if, ultimately, the recipes aren't any good?

  • PatriciaAnn  on  5/2/2013 at 5:09 PM

    I like to give theme gifts and so the cookbooks I give usually fit the theme. For instance, a teatime cookbook along with a tin of tea, a tea cozy, etc.

  • KJB  on  5/3/2013 at 6:57 AM

    I like to give [and receive] cookbooks as gifts and I think the most important criteria is that it is a cookbook the person will use. For example, I gave my niece a copy of Simply Sensational Cookies because she will take the time for fancy baking.

  • sir_ken_g  on  5/3/2013 at 9:05 AM

    Well when our daughter got her first apartment she got broad brush books. Joy of Cooking, and a Chinese and Japanese and an Indian one. More recently she go two Bittman books - also broad - and boy friend has gotten a couple of bread books - because he does lot of that.

  • NaomiManygoats  on  5/3/2013 at 4:36 PM

    I love to give regional cookbooks to out of state friends. Instate friends usually get books I have that I love cooking from!

  • LisaR12  on  5/3/2013 at 9:27 PM

    I like to give books on a style of cooking they have expressed an interest in.

  • MrsPurpleGirl68  on  5/4/2013 at 7:17 AM

    I use cookbooks like writers use a dictionary or database. I read them, research from them, get completely immersed in the words and travel to far away kitchens in the pictures.

  • Lindacakes  on  5/4/2013 at 7:57 PM

    I give out of print cookbooks -- the sort of cookbooks the recipient is unlikely to find on his or her own. And the there's the Joy of Cooking . . .

  • GillB  on  5/4/2013 at 11:38 PM

    I look at simplicity and use-ability for the recipient level of cooking/interest.

  • GoldenLeica  on  5/5/2013 at 12:37 AM

    I try to match the cookbook to the recipient. Next time, however, I'm not giving a cookbook. Instead I'm going to give a gift subscription to Eat Your Books so that the recipient can get more value from the books he/she already owns!

  • DenimBlue  on  5/5/2013 at 10:04 PM

    I haven't given away any cookbooks that I can recall, but if I were to do it I'd select an instructional book for a new cook or a book based upon favorite food(s) for someone I know is already an experienced cook. I'm not into preparing gourmet meals, so I'd go with simple recipes with just a handful of ingredients. matter what anyone says, I like southern cooking!

  • lisahorner  on  5/5/2013 at 10:10 PM

    I would gift a cookbook based on either my own first-hand experience or on stellar reviews of the book.

  • vickster  on  5/6/2013 at 11:52 AM

    I usually tailor it to the person's cooking style, or their preference to a certain cook/chef, and my knowledge of the book.

  • TippyCanoe  on  5/6/2013 at 12:16 PM

    I love to give cookbooks as gifts and usually gift my current favorites. (For the past few years, I have given everyone a copy of "Plenty"). I like to give books that are both inspiring and also practical. I want to know that most recipes are fairly foolproof and that the comibination ingredients may open up new taste experiences for my friends. That is my favorite kind of book to give (and to receive)!

  • MollyB  on  5/6/2013 at 12:33 PM

    If I'm giving a cookbook as a gift, I only give cookbooks that I've tried and liked or by authors whose other books I've tried and liked. Knowing the recipient's cooking habits (or lack thereof) is also important - I love cookbooks and if I give one, I want it to be used and appreciated.

  • srushton  on  5/6/2013 at 2:02 PM

    My first criterion is when considering a cook book as a gift is the skill level of the potential recipient. There is no point in buying a gift that will not be enjoyed because the person is intimidated by the recipes or techniques.

  • Chai  on  5/6/2013 at 7:53 PM

    I try to give away books I know the person either wants or will appreciate. It´s usually books I own myself and love or a book about a topic or by a cook I know the person admires.

  • edify2unify  on  5/8/2013 at 12:48 PM

    When giving a cookbook as a gift, I try to make sure that such a gift would actually be appreciated and hopefully even used by the recipient.

  • omnomnompizza  on  5/8/2013 at 1:57 PM

    When choosing a book to give to someone else usually I try to find something that both appeals to their style and level of cooking expertise as well as being by an author that I know and trust. That way you feel like you are sharing something you love and that will hopefully be appreciated.

  • lhochan  on  5/9/2013 at 12:16 PM

    I pick cookbooks as gifts that I would like to receive myself. I love pictures and details. I'm vegan and so am interested in giving books that would show people that they can be vegan as well and still enjoy food.

  • nataliaelies  on  5/9/2013 at 1:20 PM

    I almost always look at the comments other people make if I buy a cookbook online. I usually buy what other food bloggers recommend. I have been let down so many times that I now either I buy a cookbook where I know the cook or have previous books that I enjoy or I need a good review....

  • Marybwf17  on  5/9/2013 at 3:42 PM

    I like a book with a bookmark string and a lot of pics besides great uncomplicated recipes

  • TrishaCP  on  5/9/2013 at 9:04 PM

    I rarely gift cookbooks because I feel like they are such personal choices, but when people gift me cookbooks (always ones they know I want), it is always based on what they want me to cook for them!

  • Maureen  on  5/9/2013 at 10:52 PM

    I always give books I love, that I have had success with, or a new one by an author I trust. With over 1000 on my shelves, I have lots to choose from as I am unable to part with any of them!

  • Jane  on  5/10/2013 at 2:35 PM

    Congratulations to the five app winners. We used a random number generator and the winners were: sir_ken_g, GillB, GoldenLeica, lisahorner and vickster. Have fun with it. And for everyone else who didn't win - the app is a bargain at only $2.99.

  • Jane  on  5/15/2013 at 9:37 AM

    As well as constantly adding new reviews, Susie is adding new features to the app all the time - this week it is the James Beard Award winners and cookbooks as gifts for grads.

  • creativequality  on  5/30/2013 at 10:54 PM

    I love giving beautiful books, but am also very conscious of allergies and preferences. I reserve cookbook giving for those I'm closest to.

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