It’s astounding how many recipes are available from so many sources.  Having developed a few recipes and knowing how much work goes into good recipes, we are grateful to have such an array available.  For years, when you wanted a recipe, you grabbed a cookbook off the shelf.  Now you can reach for a cookbook, go online, or use recipe software.  Literally, thousands of recipes are easily available.  Today, we thought we would explore these three recipe sources—books, online, and software—talk about the pros and cons of each and share some resources with you.

Though we use electronic media exhaustively, we love cookbooks.  There is something about hefting a book, turning the pages, and exploring the chapters that is irreplaceable.

Books are a more leisurely experience, a form of refuge and relaxation.  Books give us the opportunity to get into the head of a particular baker or cook and learn his or her skills.  It’s the best way that we know to acquire new skills and new philosophies.

In our experience, the recipes in most cookbooks are generally reliable.  We occasionally find recipes that we don’t think are well designed but usually, the recipes in cookbooks are well thought out and tested by bakers (or teams) with a great deal of experience.  For everyday use, we avoid cookbooks that call for unusual ingredients or techniques or equipment that we don’t use.  (We have some ethnic cookbooks and some with fancy fare that are interesting but don’t get used often.)  We have made some cookbook recommendations in the past in an article titled, “Learning the Art of Extraordinary Baking”.  If you would like to revisit those, click here.   We belong to a cookbook club, (see www.thegoodcook.com ) and use that as a means of keeping abreast of the latest cookbooks.  We often buy cookbooks from www.amazon.com .

When we are looking for a specific recipe in a hurry, we often turn to online sources.  Online, there are both sources for free recipes and those that are available by subscription only, usually for a modest charge.  We love Marcy Goldman’s recipes at www.betterbaking.com .   Her recipes are well-designed and creative.  Some are free but most require a modest monthly membership fee to access.  (She also has a book that we enjoy, “The Best of Better Baking”.)

For shear volume, you can’t beat www.allrecipes.com or www.recipegoldmine.com.  These are primarily reader contributed recipes rather than professional recipes and may not be as well designed.  Still, when you need that hard-to-find recipe or don’t mind doing a little tinkering or exploring, these are unbeatable sources.  Nutritional information is often included, you can print the recipe, and often you can resize the recipe to fit your needs.

Recently, we have begun using recipe software.  The only software that we are familiar with is from www.DVO.com in Alpine, Utah, but their products are outstanding.  They have collections of recipes from Pillsbury, Taste of Home, and General Mills.  They also have collections for diabetics and grilling recipes.  We have reviewed each.  You can print the recipes out on cards and size the recipes to fit your needs.  Nutritional information and shopping lists are included.  While not as intimate as a book, software provides more recipes than could ever be included in a book and the automated tools, such as the resizing of recipes, are helpful.  You can find more recipes at online sources but these are professionally developed recipes and we feel they are more reliable.

In our lives, there is a place for all three sources.  We love our cookbooks and the personal relationships we feel with the authors.  When we are looking for a particular recipe, one that may be obscure and not easily found in our books, we turn to online sources.  When we want a professionally developed recipe that we can size up or down, we often turn to our software.

We hope this helps you find the source or sources that best fits your lifestyle.

See the printable version.

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