Food Comments

A Guide to Buying the Best Cookbook

Written by: Ben Orkin

This might sound like silly post to make, but you’re probably guilty of owning cookbooks you haven’t opened since the day they were bought… Right?

That’s exactly why you need my help so let me guide you in buying the best cookbook!

My cookbook collection comprises of 33 books; out of those, I probably only use 8 of them regularly. The rest just sit quietly, looking pretty on my bookshelf and that probably sounds like a waste. Lucky for you, over the years, I have realised a few life transforming tips that can be useful in that bookstore. Read carefully and take notes!



  1. What are your first impressions of the book?

When it comes to cookbooks, it’s perfectly normal to judge them by the cover. It tells you so much about it – like what kind of images to expect, or if it’s a well known author. Generally, if the cover includes a photo of the author, this means the author is famous or the book is more about the author than the food (possible sign of a fault for a real cookbook). If the cover displays a food image, the author may be less well known or the book truly focuses on food.

  1. Take a look at the back of the book

The back of the book typically features reviews or awards. This can tell you if the book is even worth opening at all.

  1. Do you like the style of the book?

Style in regards to the images, layout, typography, or type of paper used. This is a vital piece for me. The images have to be just right, the layout must be easy to read and understand, the typography must be legible and beautiful, and the paper matte. Anything else, and you’ve lost me.

  1. Are the recipes easy to follow?

Just like you would read the opening paragraph of a fictional book, flip to a recipe and see whether you can follow it. Most importantly, are the ingredients easily accessible or even better, do they exist in your pantry right now? If not, it’s highly unlikely you’ll just quickly pop down to the shops one evening because you want to quickly cook something from your new book. Also, think about the difficulty of the techniques and methods used and what your skill level is.

buying the best cookbook guide

This is an example of a recipe that I would never cook. Who has the time for so many steps and finicky presentation?

  1. Is it affordable?

The price tells a lot about a book, but you also don’t want to break the bank to buy one. Generally the more expensive the book, the more reputable the author – you can expect hard covers and supreme quality images. Before you fall in love with a book, make sure you can afford it. If you can’t, I suggest putting it down because once that book is in your head, you won’t stop thinking about it.


Happy reading!
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Book Credits (in order of appearance): Simply Nigella (Nigella Lawson), Moro East (Sam & Sam Clark), Strandveldffood (Kobus van der Merwe & Jac de Villiers)


Don’t forget to check out our latest courses: Chloe Morello: Building Your Audience on YouTube | Zanita Studio: Content Strategy for Bloggers | Ben Orkin: Food Styling & Photography Basics


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