Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The naked cookbook

An article by Josh Friedland on the blog The Food Section is talking about how cookbooks are being printed without dust jackets—they have only the paper-on-board cover. (Dust jackets being the paper book cover that wraps around the whole book.) I'm thinking that I agree with the basic premise: that cookbooks really don't need a dust jacket. Maybe they're a bit fussy and in the way. And of course we know it's cheaper to print without.

But a cookbook I just took out of the library recently didn't look cheap at all...in fact, it's positively sumptuous. Phaidon has put out a glorious cookbook titled Tuscany — each chapter is dedicated to the regional specialties of the different Tuscan towns.

Each recipe gets its own spread. On beautiful paper. With fantastic marbled endpapers.

And there are not one, but two! finding ribbons (aka markers, registers, signets, or bookmarks); one in deep sienna, the other a lovely ochre. The design is a great blend of gli antichi e i moderni(the ancient and the modern).

And the recipes are sbalorditive, including one for celery that is stuffed (and tied) and floured and fried. You'll have to check it out yourself for that recipe.

And naturalmente the book sports a dust jacket.


peter dell said...
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Beth Tondreau said...

What a gorgeous cookbook. "Cheap" is a good hook for an entry, but it's not about cheaper. It's not necessarily less expensive to print books without the jacket, especially with deluxe materials. Most cookbooks that don't have dust (or flour!) jackets these days are naked by design—and by marketing strategy. The non-jacketed newbies have many colors, stamping, and ribbons—all of which may make the nekkid cookbooks even pricier. The price point is not the overall point. The idea is to signal a book for use, or evoke an already well-used book. Whatever. I wouldn't mind taking a trip through the book.