Eat Your Books (but not literally!)
I wanted to introduce you to a website that can help you use your cookbooks to their fullest potential. It’s called Eat Your Books, and I’ve been a member since March 2017. The website lets you save the cookbooks and food magazines you own all in one place and then creates a searchable index of all the recipe titles and ingredients. Eat Your Books does not have the full recipes so you still need to own the cookbook or magazine to access it. However, they do have links to websites and blogs that contain full recipes. By adding up all of my cookbooks, magazines, and websites, I have access to a database of over 48,500 recipes right at my fingertips and searchable within a manner of seconds!
Having all of your recipes accessible in one place allows you to search by ingredient, type of cuisine, or course, and it will find all of the recipes that fit that criteria. Searching by ingredient is especially helpful in two ways. First, it allows you to search for recipes containing a specific ingredient that you are wanting to cook. So if you had a craving for shrimp and pasta, for example, type that into the search bar, and it will list all of your recipes that contain those ingredients. Secondly, it allows you to search for recipes using possible odds and ends of foods that you might have left over in your fridge or pantry. Maybe you have a single chicken breast, some red onion, and half a box of penne left. Type those foods into the search bar and see what recipes come up. This is a great way to minimize food waste! There are also filters and other parameters you can place on the search to find exactly what you are looking for.
I started with the free membership to give it a trial run and then signed up for the premium membership after a few months. With the free membership, I could only index a total of 5 books and/or magazines. As someone who owns over 50 cookbooks and has subscriptions to 4 monthly magazines along with a few other one-time magazines, 5 total books/magazines was not going to cut it and not even make a dent in my collection. So I decided to go for the premium membership which allowed me to index unlimited resources. And the annual membership of $30, which is the price of the average cookbook, is a bargain that has helped me to make use of all the great cooking resources that I already own.
Not every cookbook I own has been indexed on the website so there are still some recipes that are missing when I do a search. However they do have an option to index a cookbook yourself. I have not tried this yet, but it seems like a great way to add a cookbook if it’s not already there and one that I may use often. Eat Your Books will index a cookbook after a critical mass of people have saved it to their “bookshelf” and requested that it be indexed. Unfortunately, none of my four Hungry Girl cookbooks that I talked about in my last post have been indexed yet.
And as a bonus, they have weekly cookbook giveaways! And I actually won one of the contests! I won the cookbook “The Dinner Plan.” I hadn’t heard of this cookbook until Eat Your Books had a contest for it, and it has proven to be a great addition to my cookbook shelf. So far I’ve cooked 3 different recipes from it: Shrimp Scampi, Sausage and Mushroom Ragout over Polenta, and Linguine with Cauliflower, Lemon, and Bread Crumbs. And they have all turned out really yummy, but more on this cookbook later.
So try out the Eat Your Books free membership to get a taste of it to see if it might be a helpful tool to add to your kitchen “recipe box.”
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