I keep forgettin’

There’s a 1980s song by Donald Fagan about him “forgetting” that he is no longer in a relationship with his ex. The lyrics of the chorus are “I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore \ I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again.” I am reminded of this song every time I visit certain food websites that were once free of charge that have now installed a paywall (such as NYT and Epicurious), and also when I accidentally try to visit websites that have disappeared altogether (RIP Fine Cooking).

It’s not that I am against paying for subscriptions for worthwhile content, but rather that I miss the way things used to be with these services in particular. Perhaps I’m suffering from subscription fatigue. There are only so many sites I am willing to pay for, and even when the cost for each is fairly low, multiple subscriptions can add up. This goes for all manner of services, not just food websites – video streaming, exercise, Patreon, news – I have multiple subscriptions for most of these, and I am approaching my limit. A site has to be special to earn my money and loyalty, and there are a few that could get pushed aside to make way if something more compelling comes along. Unlike cookbooks which only have a one-time cost, these are recurring expenses, and I can’t justify just throwing them on a ‘virtual bookshelf’ to return to later as I do with books.

I am certain that I’m far from the only one experiencing this. As more sites slip behind paywalls we’ll have to decide whether to pony up the money or let the relationship go. Of course Eat Your Books will always be my “ride or die” (I was a Member before I started writing for EYB, which I why I am Darcie on the blog but darcie_b when I upload photos or add recipe notes). I hope that you feel the same way about our wonderful site. Another one I would be hard pressed to give up is Milk Street. What are your “ride or die” food sites – and have your given up any that you “keep forgettin'” about?

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  • KatieK1  on  December 29, 2022

    For me it’s more about beloved stores, restaurants and vistas disappearing here in Manhattan. What would we do without Zabar’s, Kalustyan’s or DiPalo’s? They’re a large part of what makes living here tolerable.

    And when EYB runs slow, that worries me as well. May all these wonderful places that still exist live long and prosper.

  • Rinshin  on  December 29, 2022

    EYB, Cooks Illustrated combo sites, Milk Street, and Cookpad Japan.

  • Rinshin  on  December 29, 2022

    One more I cannot do without at all because I have close to 30,000 recipes stored there mostly with photos.

  • Rinshin  on  December 29, 2022


  • demomcook  on  December 29, 2022

    I’ve supported Marcy Goldman since before the internet was the internet. I cannot see giving her up.

  • ellabee  on  December 29, 2022

    No longer in a financial position to afford any subs, I consider getting a Life Membership to EYB back when it was only a few years old my single best cooking investment ever. Thankfully, I haven’t depended too heavily on any of the online sites that are now being either paywalled, or require you to subscribe to their email newsletter as the price to get access to recipes.

  • anya_sf  on  December 29, 2022

    This drives me nuts, and more bloggers are doing this too. Besides EYB (which of course doesn’t contain actual recipes), I only pay for America’s Test Kitchen (all access). I get Milk Street magazine but don’t pay for online access. Because I subsribe to Bon Appetit, I should be able to get free access to Epicurious, but the login rarely works and it never remembers me. Other paywall sites are basically dead to me unless they allow limited access (e.g., 3 views per month).

  • bittrette  on  December 29, 2022

    I subscribe to New York Times Cooking because I wouldn’t be without a subscription to the New York Times. Same with the Washington Post. I’d love to have access to the recipes on Bon Appétit and Epicurious, but when I see that paywall I think, do I really need this? I’ve completed my threescore years and ten and I already have enough recipes for three more lifetimes with no repeats. And I just bought two more cookbooks today 🙁
    I have YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, TuneIn Premium, a few magazines, and a few more things – it won’t be long before I cry, Enough! No more!
    And then, as you say, there are the websites that have gone to internet heaven – I’m glad for the recipes I’ve committed to paper.

  • nwaterman967  on  December 30, 2022

    Like others, I’ve learned the hard way not to trust that a recipe will always be available online, either because it goes behind a paywall or the site goes down or is reorganized and the recipe removed. So when I really like a recipe, I still bookmark it, but I also make a backup pdf copy or save it inside of the AnyList app or worse case, print it out. I still usually just go to the site when I need the recipe, but I feel better having that backup just in case.

  • EskieF  on  December 30, 2022

    EYB, NYT, Guardian (which is free but I do donate), Food52. When I see a recipe I particularly like on a paywalled site, I download it to Paprika Recipe Manager (on my MacBook, via the ‘Share’ function, it’s very easy). By doing this, I retain the recipes, even if I decide to discontinue to subscription.

  • stef  on  December 31, 2022

    I will always support by buy a cookbook but never anything behind a pay wall.

  • GretchenB  on  December 31, 2022

    I find the New York Times Cooking especially frustrating since I subscribe to the main site. I believe I have clicked on a recipe after reading an article about it and the recipe was behind the Cooking paywall. I can’t be 100% sure it was a new article. It made me wonder whether they still publish recipes in the printed paper 🙂

  • Ingridemery  on  January 3, 2023

    EYB is absolutely non-negotiable as is David Leibovitz and Adam Roberts Substack subscriptions (and Smitten Kitchen I would not hesitate to pay for) but there are others I follow (mainly through Substack) but for which I just can’t quite justify paying for… it’s a hard choice though sometimes!

  • JaniceKj  on  January 3, 2023

    Last year I cancelled most of my magazine subscriptions. My must haves are EYB, Milk Street, ATK… I prefer books, they don’t distract me with ads and are always available. So, if it calls for a monthly payment, except for EYB and those mentioned, it’s a no for me.

  • CutCookEat  on  January 7, 2023

    My go to lately is The Spruce Eats.

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