National Cookbook Month is celebrated throughout October. Now, you may be wondering, why would anyone need a cookbook when recipes are so readily available on websites? True as that is, digital recipes are not a go-to for many who prefer the traditional and permanence of a cookbook. The recipes are easy to navigate, and since they have been tried and tested by numerous professionals and editors, that’s a bonus. So pull out your family’s recipe file box and cookbooks, and let’s get cooking!
History of National Cookbook Month
The oldest recorded recipe in history dates back to Babylon in 1750 B.C. Four culinary tablets made from clay feature a recipe for meat stew. The recipe was replicated by chefs in 2018 at N.Y.U. The ingredients were meat, smoked wood, vinegar, and herbs.
The first cookbook written in English was “The Forme Of Cury,” compiled by chefs of King Richard II in 1390. The format of cookbooks then was not the same as today, with different cooking methods and an absence of high-quality photographs. Countless words were also coined after first appearing in cookbooks, such as supper or soup.
In 1796, the first cookbook ever written by an American was “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons. Despite the book claiming that it “adapted to this country and all grades of life,” cookbooks were not purchased by everyone. Still, the book remained popular for the next 30 years and remains a fundamental part of American culinary history.
Cookbooks expanded over multiple categories and specialized in different segments of society. In 1876, the first cookbook for children was published featuring easy-to-prepare recipes.
Today, cookbooks are still a staple in many households and on the shelves of professional chefs. Rich in history, easy to bookmark, and charmingly traditional, the beauty of a cookbook is timeless for those who appreciate it.
National Cookbook Month timeline
The oldest written recipe is engraved on clay tablets in Babylon.
‘Subscribers’ fund the publications of cookbooks, receiving free copies and other benefits in return.
The first cookbooks for children emerge.
Book clubs promote direct sales of cookbooks to consumers.
“The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day” is published.
National Cookbook Month FAQs
When is National Cookbook Month?
National Cookbook Month is annually observed in October.
Are cookbooks still relevant?
About 18 million cookbooks were sold in the United States alone in 2017. People are still very much buying cookbooks.
Do chefs use cookbooks?
It may seem that professional chefs don’t consult cookbooks, but they do all the time. However, their way of using a cookbook differs from how an average person would use one.
National Cookbook Month Activities
Buy a cookbook
Head over to the cookbooks aisle at your favorite book store and get a copy. Warning: modern cookbooks will amaze you!
Try a recipe from an old cookbook
Pull out an old cookbook that belonged to your mother or grandmother, and try out a recipe. The older the better!
Go through your family’s recipe box
Why stop at cookbooks? Go through your family’s recipe box or file, and spend some time applying the tried and tested methods used by your family for preparing outrageously delicious meals.
5 Reasons Why Cookbooks Are Better Than Digital Recipes
You can write in a cookbook
Jotting in the margins of a cookbook, recipe adjustments, and underlining is convenient.
It’s okay to get your cookbook dirty
Food splatters? No problem!
Cookbooks are easy to navigate
Online recipes get lost in the digital clutter of ‘saved’ items, screenshots, and pop-up cookies.
Cookbooks are luxurious
The stunning photography, glossy finishes of cookbooks, and overall design feel extra.
They are permanent
Recipes in cookbooks are timeless.
Why We Love National Cookbook Month
Cookbooks are traditional
Not everyone enjoys digital. And even if they do, it’s good to go offline once in a while and enjoy things as they should be, in their old-school form.
There’s less digital clutter
Recipes get lost in the sea of screenshots, saved items, and bookmarks. We love how we can just pull out a cookbook anytime we want.
You’re supporting print
Print media is not as popular as it used to be but again, countless people love the look and feel of books and the fact that it is good to give our eyes a rest when it comes to reading!
National Cookbook Month dates