There's something magical about cookbooks. A new cookbook is like a passport to a different life: new foods, new combinations, new techniques. If you immerse yourself in the process of making mole or mastering yeast breads, you stand to gain patience, knowledge, and, of course, edible proof (bread pun intended) that you, reader, are capable of shaping things with your hands. For anyone who feels immersed in the world of ideas, the tangible pleasures of preparing a meal are uniquely satisfying.
Too often, though, we treat our cookbooks like those instruction manuals that come with IKEA furniture: workaday guides barely worth a glance. By using cookbooks as a series of directions, however, we miss on the chance to learn. That learning is imperative to Barbara Lynch, the self-taught, Boston-born, James Beard-award winning chef and author of the new memoir Out of Line. Filled with hilarious and gut-wrenching anecdotes of growing in South Boston, Lynch's memoir is also a celebration of the books that shaped her: "Every day, on my T commute to and from Michaela's [restaurant], I kept working my way through the book I'd heard was the Bible, The Food of Italyby Waverly Root," she writes.
Whether you're aiming for a career in the kitchen or trying to be a more mindful home chef, here are seven reasons you really need to read your cookbooks.