Cookbooks get another (premature) eulogy

Delia Smith cookbookOver the past few years, we've reported on several people who have proclaimed the death of cookbooks. As we know, not only are cookbooks not dead, they are doing a smashing business. Yet there are those who continue to proclaim that cookbooks are dead. The latest to do so is Delia Smith, who recently announced that she won't be writing another cookbook since everyone finds recipes online. 

In a talk she gave at Buckingham Palace following a ceremony where she was made a Companion of Honour for services to cookery, Smith spoke dismissively of cookbooks, stating that she doesn't think they are necessary in today's online world. Not only has she swore off writing another volume, she thinks that too many cookbooks are currently being published in general. 

Smith didn't stop there and ranted about the entire food scene. She complained that "Cooking has become very poncy, very chefy - if I get one more plate put in front of me with six dots of sauce on it, I will go mad," she said. She explained that it is difficult for her to find a restaurant "that isn't trying to be theatre on a plate… I don't like it at all," she concluded.

7 Comments

  • annmartina  on  11/15/2017 at 9:45 AM

    I'm finding more resources online (like eatyourbooks and The Level Teaspoon podcast) that are helping me make better cookbook buying decisions. I'm buying more cookbooks than ever and making better use of them. I've also become choosier about using online recipes.

  • annmartina  on  11/15/2017 at 9:57 AM

    I'm finding more resources online (like eatyourbooks and The Level Teaspoon podcast) that are helping me make better cookbook buying decisions. I'm buying more cookbooks than ever and making better use of them. I've also become choosier about using online recipes.

  • sir_ken_g  on  11/15/2017 at 10:49 AM

    Tell that to Amazon and other book sellers. Cookbooks are hot.

  • SilverSage  on  11/15/2017 at 11:17 AM

    Maybe it's her kind of cookbook that's dead. I don't need another book to tell me how to roast a chicken or make an apple pie. "How-to-Cook" books are already on all of our shelves. And if I'm unsure about something 'homey', I usually fall back to an oldie-but-goodie book like Joy of Cooking. I find that now, with the wonderful volumes available, I have been able to explore foods of other cultures, something I couldn't do without my cookbooks. I want new books to be a bit 'cheffy'. I want them to inspire me to go beyond the basics, to try new foods, explore what I don't know. Traditional bookstores may becoming as rare as dinosaur teeth, but those still around have expanded their cookbook sections.

  • Hannaha100  on  11/15/2017 at 11:53 AM

    The EYB community is surely proof that cookbooks aren't dead. I must say Delia has missed a trick by not releasing her books in ebook format though. I have a lot of nostalgia for her recipes because my mum cooked them but her style of cooking is not something I personally use every day. I would much prefer to have her books electronically to refer to on occasion.

  • eliza  on  11/15/2017 at 3:23 PM

    I find this a bit sad. As a young person, I happened to see Delia on television (in Canada), and I've cooked so many of her recipes. She used to be inspiring, but she seems to be quite jaded now, and as others have said, cookbooks are not dead!

  • dishields  on  11/15/2017 at 7:50 PM

    I’ll admit first that I’m probably being a bit defensive of Delia. It was her cookbooks that taught me to cook in the first place. I am a huge fan. Trouble is, she has turned me in to such a competant cook, that I can usually cook things better at home than I ever eat in a restaurant. I certainly agree with her ‘cheffy’ comments. I often find chefs more interested in what it looks like than what it tastes like. Are cookbooks dead? Who knows. People certainly buy them, but do they use them? A friend of mine has stacks of cookbooks but everything she cooks comes from the web.

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