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National Cookbook Month – October 2024

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

1750 B.C.
Culinary Tablets

The oldest written recipe is engraved on clay tablets in Babylon.

18th Century
Cookbook Subscriptions

‘Subscribers’ fund the publications of cookbooks, receiving free copies and other benefits in return.

Children’s Special

The first cookbooks for children emerge.

Book Clubs Promotions

Book clubs promote direct sales of cookbooks to consumers.

Something for Everyone

“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

  1. Buy a cookbook

    Head over to the cookbooks aisle at your favorite book store and get a copy. Warning: modern cookbooks will amaze you!

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  1. You can write in a cookbook

    Jotting in the margins of a cookbook, recipe adjustments, and underlining is convenient.

  2. It’s okay to get your cookbook dirty

    Food splatters? No problem!

  3. Cookbooks are easy to navigate

    Online recipes get lost in the digital clutter of ‘saved’ items, screenshots, and pop-up cookies.

  4. Cookbooks are luxurious

    The stunning photography, glossy finishes of cookbooks, and overall design feel extra.

  5. They are permanent

    Recipes in cookbooks are timeless.

Why We Love National Cookbook Month

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
2026October 1Thursday
2027October 1Friday
2028October 1Sunday
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