Update: Rating Cookbooks
Article Originally Posted on March 26,2020 in the Archive
This was prepared before the COVID-19 Pandemic became an emergency in the United States. This post is about our rating system going forward as we continue to review cookbooks and support cookbook writers during a difficult time.
2020 is a new year, and while it’s been three months since the new year began, there is obviously still time for change. I want to make a change here at Eating Normal, and I want your opinion. I want to start rating our monthly cookbooks. A few weeks ago, I asked you what you wanted to be considered when I started rating our cookbooks. A few of you responded on facebook, and you’ve been heard. Here are our categories:
When we talk about accessibility in terms of a cookbook, we’re talking about what it takes to make the things inside. Do you need a lot of special equipment? Can you get the ingredients without a two hour research period at your computer? Eating Normal is for home cooks, and I want you to know if these books have a place in your home. This is the most easily identified rating that will help my readers.
Are there techniques in the cookbook that an average cook might struggle with, or do I just need to know how to boil water? Does the writer explain those hard things, or do they expect you to know it? We all need a challenge once and awhile in the kitchen. We also need someone to teach us how to overcome those challenges. Eating Normal will assess the general difficulty of the recipes in each cookbook and how well the writer helps guide you to rate the difficulty of the book.
No one needs seven different versions of relatively the same recipe piling up in their cookbook repertoire, except for me. My job is to help make sure you aren’t buying the same cookbook with a different chef’s name on it. Creative, interesting recipes will give points in originality to each cookbook. Almost every cookbook will have some kind of chicken recipe, etc, but we want different flavors and combinations.
By their powers combined, we have created the first iteration of our Eating Normal rating scale. This is open to adjustment over the coming months as we actually try to rate cookbooks against these scales. They may not work for every cookbook, and there may be areas that I want to address that these three do not adequately address. For now, it’ll have to do.
This rating scale will make its first appearance during our final review of Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai, coming out in a few days. We already have a few articles out about our experience with the book, and there are still more to come.. Take a look around! We’ve hit a huge burst of posts toward the end of March now that my initial panic has passed and I can make myself do things.
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An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!