Cookbooks Without Pictures--WHY?
January 19, 2011
My co-workers and I were just discussing the merits of having a cookbook without pictures. Many of us cannot understand the appeal or utility of having a cookbook that does not illustrate what the delicious outcome is supposed to look like. Most of the time, pictures are useful in helping you decide what you want to make.
Sometimes, I am frustrated to have checked out a cookbook thinking that it has decent pictures, only to find that there are sporadic pictures and never pictures of what I want to make. This is especially important in baking. I really want to know what a certain cookie is supposed to look like because sometimes I cannot figure out what exactly the directions are telling me to do. A visual aide (such as a picture) can really help here. One of my favorite cookbooks for this is Martha Stewart's Cookies: the Very Best Treats to Bake and Share. In the front of the book are two or three pages of thumbnail pictures of every cookie in the book. What a great idea! That doesn’t seem like it would take up a lot of ink, plus it barely takes up any pages. I wish other cookbook authors would follow this trend.
Of course, there are some very popular standby cookbooks that have never had pictures or which have very few. Examples of these being: Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Since these classics have stood the test of time, maybe they have earned the privilege of being printed without much help from pictures.
There is one valid reason I suppose for not having pictures in a cookbook. Photos can be a sad reminder that no matter how hard you’ve tried, what you have created doesn’t even come close to what the real thing is supposed to look like.
Blue Springs South Branch