Cookbooks are wildly popular here and have been for years. I find I sometimes have to watch the food channel to see who is who and who cooks what so I can assist those seeking the cookbook written by the woman with the southern accent, or the one who cooks Italian and has that husband on the show sometimes.
I was thinking about this recently, remembering the days when cookbook meant Betty Crocker, Fannie Farmer, or Julia Child. Then there were the less personal titles like “The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook”, “The Joy of Cooking”, and the Sunset series. There came the appliance-specific books like “Slow Cooker Recipes for Two”, and “Cooking with Convection”. There are food or ingredient-specific books and the restaurant/chef cookbooks such as: Leone’s Italian Cookbook, Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook, Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, and Alice Water’s Chez Panisse. And finally, there’s that new crop of celebrity chefs made popular by the food network including Paula Dean, Rachel Ray, Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, and a host of others.
Is it just me or does it seem that the focus is off the food and onto the celebrity chef? Is it the making of entire networks devoted to food? or has it always been that way for foodies who want to know not just the what, but the why and the who?