What do your cookbooks say about who you are, and who you want to be?

Inspiration or aspiration? In 2016, cookbooks sales were up 12% on the previous year, meaning they’re not going out of favour any time soon, despite changing lifestyles meaning we all eat out more and cook less, the existence of a world of easily accessible online recipes, and forecasts that ebooks would be the end of print books. I think this is because they are generally well-designed objects, and also because they provide a statement about who you are and what you want to be, rather than merely a collection of recipes (indeed, apparently on average people only ever make three recipes from a cookbook).

Thanks to my friend Ema (pimpiknows.com), who drew my attention to a fascinating BBC World Service podcast called ‘The Unlikely Power of Cookbooks’. From the blurb:

Even if you’ve never picked up a book of recipes, cookbooks will have had a huge influence on how you live.

What may appear to be mere collections of ingredients and cooking methods, sometimes tell us just as much about social class, politics and gender.

We explore how cookery books have been used to demonstrate power, strengthen colonial and soviet ideology, and divide society by class and race.

Do we see these dividing lines reflected in today’s publishing industry? And what does your choice of cookbook say about you?

Listen to it here.

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