The days when a person had seemingly endless collections of cookbooks, and when they would spend sometimes-large amounts of time looking through those cookbooks, has largely come to an end. It isn’t that the interest in tasty food no longer exists, but rather that now there is a source that is easier and quicker to search, to find that perfect meal.
The most used cookbooks of the past had recipes for everything from main dishes to salads, from liquid refreshment to cookies, all in one handy source. The problem is that this is the exact trait that causes the extra time and effort, in order to search through all the recipes, or through the index, in order to match the meal to what food is on hand.
Internet recipe sites and collections make it possible to search for a particular ingredient. A person who wants to cook a roast beef no longer must search through first the main dish section, then the beef section, until they find some roast recipes. They simply search for roast beef, using either a standard search engine or the search engine on one of the many recipe sites, and they will find as many recipes as they want for cooking roast beef.
Using a standard browser will also give them a wealth of information right at their fingertips; tips for cooking, things not to do, and a lot of other information not normally found in a cookbook. The person can even easily find variations on the same recipe, and if they have questions about one or more of the ingredients, they can just as easily search for information on them.
Spices, emergency substitutions, side dishes that go well with the main dish, or that stand on their own, special needs recipes such as for the diabetic or vegetarian; all of these things are easily found on the Internet, taking little effort or time. A novice computer user can even easily do the search.
Is it really any wonder that more and more people are seeing the Internet as their cookbook? This brings up another question, though. Are cookbooks a dead end, ready to go away and never come back?
The answer to this would be no. Anyone that watches bookstores and supermarkets will notice that consumers are still buying cookbooks. The quantity may not be as great as it once was, however they are still being purchased and published. That last is important. If there is no market for a hard print copy of a book, publishers are not inclined to take the time or put forth the effort to print it. They are in business to make money, not lose it. For that matter, not everyone has Internet access.
However, there is a definite change in the format of the cookbooks. Instead of trying to give as many recipes in as many different categories as possible, cookbooks are now being marketed by the category itself. For instance, there are chicken cookbooks, barbecue cookbooks, salad cookbooks, and diabetic cookbooks. This eliminates the need to look for a particular division in the book, the whole book is about what the cook wants to find.
There is no telling what the future will bring, but cookbooks are being printed in a greater number of categories than ever before. Anyone taking the time can see this. The question is, will the Internet keep up with the diversified market? It has already begun to.