Coming Back To Books

Ever since The Julie/Julia Project, the blogosphere seems filled with people who have committed themselves to cooking every single recipe in a particular cookbook and writing about it. What Julie Powell did with Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is now being done with Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast, Grant Achatz's Alinea and Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home, to name a few.

The majority of us are not getting nearly as much use out of our cookbooks, however, and, if you're anything like me, you probably have cookbooks in every room of the house with dog eared pages marking recipes you'll never get around to making. Or maybe you do this: You decide that you are going to make chicken for dinner, and, for once, instead of just Googling "chicken" and having hundreds of thousands of recipes at your fingertips, you decide to actually use a cookbook from your shelf. You then spend hours poring through indexes in book after book, searching for a suitable chicken recipe, until ultimately, you realize that you've lost the momentum and end up just ordering take-out chicken instead.

I've been hoping for years to find something in between these two extremes, as I have as little interest in cooking from one book cover to cover, as I have patience for spending hours browsing indexes seeking out the perfect recipe. Then, a few months ago I read about a new website that seems to provide exactly what I’ve been looking for. Eat Your Books, a really cool site that has a database of about 16,000 cookbook titles (and counting,) has put together a format that allows you to search through all of your cookbooks for recipes without ever having to scour an index again. The way it works is that you build your own virtual bookshelf on the site based on the cookbooks that you actually own. Yes, the initial input process is tedious as you do have to search through the listing of titles in order to add them to your bookshelf, but once the process is done, so is the work. Then, the next time you want to search through your cookbooks for a recipe for, say, chicken, all you do is type "chicken" in the search box, and up pops a listing of every recipe, from every book you own, that contains chicken. You can refine your search based on ethnicity, cut of chicken, course, type of dish, author, holiday and even categories that you create yourself. There is a place for you to rate cookbooks and recipes on the site, a shopping list feature, a menu feature, and even a location feature that allows you to organize your books on the site based on which shelf in your house they sit on. What Eat Your Books does not do, is to show actual recipes. After all, the point is to get you using your own books, right? It does, however, show listings of ingredients from each recipe and organizes recipes into various categories, so that you have a strong idea of what the recipe is like before you ever crack the book.

I can honestly say that since becoming a member of Eat Your Books, I use my cookbooks way more often than I used to. I also feel a lot less guilty when I buy a new cookbook, because I know that it is not going to just sit on my shelf collecting book markers and dust.

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            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Intensive Sommelier Training
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            Culinary Arts Specialist
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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            • Accredited
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