The Owner of a Cookbook Store Explains Why Cookbooks Aren’t Going Anywhere
"I'm convinced that what people pay for is a point of view, a perspective."
It's a good question: in the age of Google and food bloggers, what purpose do cookbooks serve? Do we really need them in this day and age?
Well, according to Matt Sartwell, Managing Partner of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a New York City bookstore that specializes in cookbooks, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Like Emeril Lagassee, Sartwell was selected by Food52 to be a judge in this year's Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks, where he was asked to choose between Season by Nik Sharma and Coconuts & Collards by Von Diaz. In addition to picking a winner (Season) he also shared his opinion on the importance of hardcopy cookbooks. Honestly, we can't help but agree.
"Recipes are easy-peasy to find online," Sartwell writes. "Google promises more than 125,000,000 chocolate chip cookie recipes alone, and already more than 150,000,000 recipes geared towards Instant Pots. So why pay for a cookbook?"
"Since I sell cookbooks, among other books on food and drink, I've given this some thought," he continues. "I'm convinced that what people pay for is a point of view, a perspective. Sometimes they want expertise that comes from passion, as they get from Stella Parks' Bravetart. And sometimes they want a journey, a story of the sort found in 2017's Piglet winner, My Two Souths by Asha Gomez."
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Plus, there's something very special about being able to physically turn the pages of a beautiful cookbook.
Sartwell said that he often hears people who love cookbooks expressing the same sentiment: "If I can find just one recipe I like in a cookbook, then the book is worth having."