Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cooking In the Time of Science

Don't try this with your iPad
The NY Times' details the creation of the e-book version of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking demonstrates the challenges in bringing cooking classics into the 21st century:

[T]he production staff had the entire book retyped by hand, since no electronic file of the book existed. The illustrations throughout the cookbook — tiny sketches of sauté pans and freshly julienned carrots — were scanned at a high resolution so they could be transferred to the e-book.
Making matters tougher was trying to replicate the unique two-column layout of Child's book, which set the effort back at least a year.  The payoff for all that work?  Features not unfamiliar to anybody who owns a Kindle or iPad, such as links within recipes to other related recipes and techniques, as well as an all-important pop-up dictionary to help those of us whose high school french lessons have been long forgotten.

At $19.99, the e-book of The Art of French Cooking is $5 cheaper than the print version.  I'm not sure that I'd find a Kindle very convenient for kitchen use, but the bright color screen of a tablet or laptop is great in the kitchen, particularly on a crowded countertop.  It's still fun to leaf through a print cookbook and admire the photography, but for actual cooking it's tough to beat having a recipe on-screen.

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