New app will allow you to text a cookbook author

Chinese Soul FoodHave you ever read a recipe in a cookbook and wished you could ask the author to explain what he or she meant in the instructions? Soon, you may be able to do just that with an app that is being released alongside Hsiao-Ching Chou’s new cookbook, Chinese Soul Food

Chou is serving as a beta tester for the new service from Seattle-based startup Banter. As she announced in a recent Facebook post, Chou will answer readers’ questions as they work their way through her new book. (Chinese Soul Food  will be April’s main selection in the EYB Cookbook Club.)

The book is the first for Chou, a former food editor at the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She now runs a blog,, in addition to teaching cooking classes and working as a communications consultant. Chou’s motivation for serving as a beta tester for the new app is laudable. She says,  “I want the cookbook experience to be as friendly as possible, so that people at home can ask questions, like ‘This didn’t quite turn out. What happened?'” 

The idea certainly has merit, although it does pose a few questions. Does the author expect to be available 24/7 to accommodate those in different time zones? Is a real-time response going to be expected – after all, the time when you need help is in the middle of a recipe, not hours afterward. Maybe come April, some of Cookbook Club members will take advantage of this trial and report back to the group. 

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  • vickster  on  February 19, 2018

    What is the app called?

  • annmartina  on  February 19, 2018

    Texting doesn't seem like the best platform for this type of interaction. She could end up answering the same questions over and over again if the questions and answers aren't archived in some way. Right now Stella Parks is really good about answering questions over Twitter, which, while still not perfect, allows a lot of people to see the question and answer. The questions and answers need a home, like Eat Your Books, where answers can be archived and available as they're created.

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