Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Detrending Trends

There seems to be a deplorable trend among cookbooks published by "author-scholars". They are increasingly being made in a coffee-table format.

Firstly, the CC doesn't possess the above vaunted table. Secondly, these things are heavy. Thirdly, if they weren't so excellent, one would just ignore them but they are indeed outstanding.

But you can't cook out of them. You can't even haul them around, and you certainly can freakin' forget about reading them in bed. (Yes, the CC does that.)

This is a trend, and a terrible one at that!


Marcus said...

I really don't know what you are talking about. (I guess I don't understand for certain what distinguishes something as a coffee table book)

But if you are speaking of big books:



ShockingSchadenfreude said...

That is a big book (and better suited to online usage than a book) but that's a separate point.

These are massive. They weigh 6.5 lbs each.

A coffee-table format is for people who have coffee-tables where they display very expensive, very finely produced books.

These people seldom cook I would add.

Brendan said...

I felt that way about La Varenne Pratique too. Huge book, very awkward form factor.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

It is indeed impractical but indispensible.

These books though take the cake on impracticality from an actual cooking point of view.

Those that don't cook are gonna strut them as markers of their "tastes". Those that do cook are going to be ticked off to no end.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

Here you go, Marcus, the perfect example of the "coffee-table aesthetic" taken to the next level.

Selling a Book by Its Cover.

What a waste of time, money, and effort. And they're not even gonna read the books!!!

macavity said...

I ranted about the same article in the Times earlier today. Fewer things would be wrong in this world if people used books to accent their brains instead of using them to accessorize their homes.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

There's an old rule — if you see books in someone's house arranged by size and color, they never read them; if they are arranged all higgledy-piggledy or by topic, then this is a reading household.

Marcus said...

Thanks I almost did miss it (I try to remember when I leave comments...)

Anyway from the article:

"who now creates custom book collections"

Two things about this statement:
1) Aren't all book collections, practically, custom? I mean, how many "standard" book collections are there? Even a set of encyclopedias could hardly be called a "collection".

2) Is it a collection if someone else does it for you?

Stuff like this blows my mind. In an effort to maintain some humility, understanding, sympathy, etc, I should attempt to think of an equally absurd activity in which I engage.

I don't think I can. You really have to have a lot of money to engage in such a pointless and over the top act. Maybe the fact I have a couple dozen empty wine bottles stacked up should be considered as absurd. Although to be fair, they used to contain MY wine and I intend to refill them...

Marcus said...

By the way I'm enjoying the flavor bible book. I'm a browser, I like to peruse to see what I find. I've worked in IT for over 12 years (until last Jan) and am fairly "technical" and at times I just find a real book to be preferable.

Having a similar online tool for specific searches, however, would be nice.

This is way unrelated but what the hell, wife and I just ordered 8 apple trees. Can't wait until they start producing! Peaches and a few other things will be forthcoming. There are very few things as pleasantly awesome as a fresh summer peach, imo.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

I like that book but it took me a while to get there.

I first got it from the library, hated it, and returned it.

However, something about it appealed to me "later" so I got it again from the library, and this time, I kinda figured out what they were trying to do.

Finally, I bought it for myself. I do not believe I am at the level that this book will help me but I can see the potential of why it could.