AP reports that famed TV chef Alton Brown wants his new cookbook to be a multi-media e-book. The “book” will contain 25 recipes and will include text, photos and video of Brown making the recipe. The video will be shot by 40 cameras, from different angles, so that cooks can see him doing his thing anyway they want. They’ll also be able to pan in and stop the “action”.
Personally, I couldn’t be less interesting. I only watch food shows when I’m cooking or cleaning the kitchen, and can’t remember a time when I actually made what they featured (which is not to say that I don’t cook from cookbooks by TV chefs). From time to time, when I’m not sure about how to do something new (like using banana leaves), I may look at a YouTube video demonstrating that technique, but not just for recipes. Now, I wouldn’t be against a recipe e-book altogether, but it would have to fulfill three requirements: 1, be affordable, 2 have a lot of well-reviewed, difficult to find recipes and 3, those recipes should be easy to print. You see, I cook a lot from epicurious.com and other internet sites, and while I have a few small computers and an i-phone that I could use in the kitchen to access those recipes, I really don’t want any personal electronics anywhere near my dirty hands while I’m cooking. My cookbooks and printed recipes get dirty enough as it is. Also, there are soooo many recipes that I can find online for free, that the recipes would have to be very special for me to pay for them.
But this is not to say the e-book won’t be successful. I imagine Brown will be targeting beginner cooks who need a lot of hand-holding – either that or he’ll be demonstrating recipes that require special techniques. And there are lots of visual learners out there, and a lot of people who get confused following recipes. I just hope that Brown won’t start a trend and that paper cookbooks will continue.