We need digital versions of these cookbooks:
Total Cookbook Weight: 154.6 lbs Total iPad Weight: 1.44 lb.
Digital cookbooks turn coffee table tomes into actual, usable cookbooks. Not having these essential reference works in a format that is easily searchable, transportable and usable is a BAD DEAL. What’s a WORSE DEAL is all the gasoline required to ship these books across the world. Digital cookbooks don’t require jet fuel to be delivered. They simply require a wi-fi connection.
Allow us to point out this irony: Modernist Cuisine, authored by former Microsoft Chief Technology Office Nathan Myhrvold, champions avant-garde, scientific approaches to preparing food, but is not available on the iPad or Kindle. It weights 51.3 pounds. It was first published in 2011.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, authored by Julia Child, teaches French cooking. It is available on the iPad and the table of contents is fully hyperlinked. In fact, it’s possible to search the entire text of the digital edition for specific words. It was first published in 1961.
If the Julia Child people can figure out how to make an ebook version work, we reckon the Modernist Cuisine people can figure it out too.
One must wonder: should the James Beard Foundation really have given its cookbook of the year award to Modernist Cuisine, an opus so big you need to own two copies if you want to read it both at work and home. Even worse: the book would likely incur a $90 “overweight baggage charge” on a Delta Economy Class Flight, because it exceeds the 50 lbs weight limit for domestic flights.
Not all of us can afford immersion circulators and rotary evaporators, but most can pony up $200 for a Kindle Fire or another electronic reading device. So allow me to suggest the following: let’s not hand out any more JBF cookbook accolades unless there’s a digital format available. It’s the first step toward championing works that are usable.