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Cookbooks vs. cooking apps: which side are you on?

A woman reads a cookbook at the book fair in Frankfurt, western Germany on October 13, 2011.
A woman reads a cookbook at the book fair in Frankfurt, western Germany on October 13, 2011.

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When e-books first came out, we worried if actual books would go away. They survived. Can the same be said for cookbooks?

This holiday season, try whipping out your tablet – not that dusty cookbook – for inspiration and direction in the kitchen. On the market already are hundreds of cooking apps designed for novice bakers and serious chefs alike. From last minute meal ideas to ancillary apps for substitution suggestions, cooking apps are designed for every chief in mind. Even the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY will be offering their instructional app on tablets for their incoming class.

While cooking apps offer instant kitchen solutions with the touch of a button, there is something to be said about physical cookbooks, the ones where you can accidently spill on and scribble in the margins of. The Betty Crocker Cookbook is just one such vintage cookbook passed on from generation to generation. It was first published in 1950, but its latest edition features updates to recipes, new chapters for the modern cook and web-exclusive how-to videos and recipes.


Are you a cooking app convert? What are some of your favorite classic cookbooks? Do they need a makeover, or do you like them in their vintage form?


Kristen Olson, food editor, Betty Crocker Test Kitchens, host, Kitchen Counter Intelligence

Julia Moskin, reporter, New York Times Dining