Here's Why Cook Books Are Obsolete

FOR many cooks, the pleasure of Thanksgiving is in the planning. In early November, the recipe folders come out, along with dreams of learning to perfect a lattice pie crust, and the cookbooks covered with splatters and sticky notes that evoke holidays past.

Fast-forward two weeks, to the sweaty hours when the sticky notes have curled up and blown away, the cookbooks are taking up all the counter space, and the illustrations for cooking a turkey in “Joy of Cooking” are revealed to be no more informative than they were in 1951.

If the people developing cooking apps for tablets have their way, that kind of scene will soon be a relic. And so will the whole notion of recipes that exist only as strings of words. Many early cooking apps were unsatisfying: slow, limited, less than intuitive and confined to tiny phone screens. Even avid cooks showed little interest in actually cooking from them.

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