Weird

 

Back a while I read a Goodread’s review for a Thai cookbook. At the time, though I found it weird, I told myself a cookbook was still a book, so the rules for rating still counted.

The other day, again on Goodreads, I saw a 3 star rating for another cookbook, and the weirdness of it came back.

How do you rate a cookbook? What do you take in consideration?

I recalled all the cookbooks my mom had and remember reading them when young. What’s there to rate?

Is it based on how great the recipes are? Is it based on how the recipes are explained? Or the yummy pictures? Do you have to cook all the recipes in that book before you rate it? If you think not, then why not? You’re reviewing and rating that book based on its quality, right? How can you tell the quality without trying all the recipes? Maybe the ones you didn’t try – for lack of ingredients, or because you didn’t feel like trying that one, or because it took time – were exactly the kind of food you like to eat. Wouldn’t that then, be unfair to the author who wrote it? Wouldn’t it be like rating a book without reading it?

What if you find only one or two handful of recipes you enjoy, but they’re great recipes that you now cook for every special occasion?

Would you rate the cookbook you have, or do you think it’s weird too? I’m seriously curious, guys, how do you rate a cookbook?

47 Replies to “Weird”

  1. Only done it once – the cookbook related to a cuisine I am interested in hence I guess I wouldn’t have bought it, so key criteria were
    Credibility – did I have a sense the writer had really tested these recipes or just thrown them together from primary sources?
    Originality – were the recipes either new or bringing a new twist to familiar favourites (unless the book’s called ‘Classic Comfort Food’ or some such!)?
    Clarity – would the instructions be easy to follow in terms of measures, steps, locating ingredients?
    Appeal – would I want to eat it based on the recipe and supporting photos?
    There we go: COCA!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I must admit, I don’t usually rate them for the reasons mentioned. This one was so bad, I had to leave a review – the recipes were simply pulled together from different sources, but worst of all, it was meant to have been vegan but some dishes weren’t even vegetarian, e.g. use of chicken stock! I don’t usually leave ‘mean’ reviews for indie publications, but cynical bids to make ‘easy money’ like that one give us all a bad name, so it was (a generous) 2 stars. I am normally a dove when it comes to ratings!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol. I love cooking! And baking too. I’ve read plenty of cookbooks, but I don’t feel qualified simply because I only follow recipes once – after that I add or remove ingredients as I see fit – and I never get around to the whole thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So true! I’ve never reviewed a cookbook, but I do get them from the library. I think I could review it on pictures, ease of reading the recipes, and I would need to cook several to see how they taste and if the hubby gave a thumbs up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like, like you said, if I were to rate a cookbook it would be based on the ease of comprehension. Were the recipes easy to follow? I don’t think you would need to cook everything in it. But, I do like a cookbook that I can pick up and think “I could make that!!” Believe me… There are some convoluted ones out there! I’ve had some where out of nowhere they’ll tell me to use something that wasn’t stated in the ingredients list. Or, sometimes it’s the opposite and they stated that I needed something… But, nothing ever comes of it. Why did I need the cumin if it’s never mentioned again?? WHERE DOES IT GO?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honey, the cumin was just a sniffer. you know when you open a bottle of wine while you’re cooking? You use the cumin – sniff, sniff – while you’re cooking. Just try not to look dazed when the guests arrive! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jina, you raise an interesting point and I’ve never seen a review of a cookbook. However, why shouldn’t they be reviewed as everything else seems to be in today’s world. Thinking about the various cookbooks I own (I love cooking too, vegetarian) I easily find myself mentally reviewing them. My favourite held together by tape, tried most of the recipes, easy to follow instructions, great pictures, ingredients not too difficult to find, compiled with coherence and topic. Others are like long essays, ingredients which are impossible to find where I live, incomprehensible methodology! Maybe it is time more should be reviewed! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If someone wrote a book on how to commit suicide, would you have to try it before you rated that book? What if you tried it and failed, would that make it a bad book? If you tried it and were successful, then you would not be around to write a review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, is the person who wrote it knowledgeable with the particulars about suicide? Has he tried it before? We need to take everything into consideration before buying the book, Jim, even before we decide to read, much less review ;). How much credibility does the author have?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that’s exactly how I feel. Back when I used to read my mother’s cookbooks, I found some that I liked, others I didn’t, but from each book, I only tried a handful. I don’t think that qualifies me to review any. Thanks for the visit!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol! But I think you struck a point for me. Sometimes I’m in the mood for the long recipes, sometimes I hav 0 patience for them! These past two years, I want the easy ones, the kind that will be good, have the food on the table fast, and keep the kids full for hours to give me space 🙂 But come to the baking side, and I want the long recipes, the kind that will keep me occupied for hours.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. From what I’ve seen the ratings can be pretty subjective and include any or all of those things you described. Some people rate lower when there’s a long ingredient list or if the ingredients’ list is expensive. Some rate lower if none of the recipes appeal to them or if none are original. I have never given a cookbook below four stars because like you I would find it very hard to rate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah? Interesting. I’ve never seen a cookbook review on your blog before. I imagine if I were ever to try rating a cookbook, it’d probably be after I got it for a long time so I can try the recipes – at least a good numbere. Is that how it is for you?

      Like

  7. That’s a great question. I have to admit I have NO idea how to rate a cookbook. Probably would help if I liked to cook. Having some experience there might give me insight into what would make for a good, or bad, cookbook.

    Now I’m going to be thinking about this in the back of my mind. Thanks! 🤪

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I hope whatever recipe you try your wife approves – and I hope you’re not like my husband, I swear every time he tries something it’s like he threw a bomb in the kitchen and closed the door hurriedly 😉

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  8. All very valid questions. I don’t really buy cookbooks, so I don’t rate. There was this one time when I was gifted a cookbook. The person who gave it to me said it was the absolutely best thing since sliced bread. It was not. I quickly got rid of it. That event caused me to ask similar questions. I.e. what makes a good cookbook.

    Aside from it being a totally personal preference (that person loved Indian cuisine, I do not), I would rate it based on:
    – structure (If I can easily distinguish ingredients from directions, side notes and personal stories.)
    – ingredients (how easy they are for me to obtain and how many of them are needed)
    – directions (are they easy to follow or do you have to wonder which ingredient they mean (the one meant for the base of the cake, or the frosting?)
    – pictures (They are always helpful to see how much I messed up.)
    – the outcome (You know how some recipes you follow to a T and they turn out beyond perfect, and some are just waaaaay off? This isn’t something that is my fault. I blame it on the recipe.)

    And no, chances are I would not read and try the whole thing.

    Why? Are you writing a cookbook and are afraid of negative reviews? Or are you just skeptical of the negative reviews in general?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pictures – always helpful to see how much you messed up – haha! Not writing a recipe book, not even reading one. Now a days if I want to find out how something is made, I go about it the typical way – I google it 😉
      but you can say I’m skeptical about the negative reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s such a good question. I guess I wouldn’t rate it on the food (because we all have our own preferences whether it be Italian or Thai or whatever) but the ease of following the directions and whether or not it had helpful photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I never knew you could rate recipes. I would rate them on how easy they are to follow and how clear they were. I’d rate it on the design of the book and how appealing it looks. A cookbook would have to be clear and easy to follow to be used. Otherwise it’d be making a recipe unsure what to do when.
    Although in reality I don’t think anything other than that can be rated, because different strokes for different folks. Everyone rathers different types of food so what is awesome for one will be horrendous for another.
    Love, light and glitter J

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm. I think so. But I don’t think I can really rate. Like books/movies when asked for ratings I think it’s based on the content itself, whereas recipes – rating is based on a whole lot more than the content. I’m sure if a recipe book was designed well it’d get a higher rating than one designed on a lesser level with better recipes.
        Although maybe the rating also depends on how easy the recipes are to follow and understand

        Like

  11. If it is just a list of recipes, then there is nothing to rate except try the recipes. However, like a book on any subject, a cookbook can be written not just about the subject but around the recipes. How they evolved for instance, what changes might lead to what difference in the taste, texture..I believe one can write a great book on any subject, from physics to whales.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my impression at first – it’s a book, why not rate it. And then I thought, I could rate the ones I read in the past. And then came the questions… how? what do I take in consideration? And then the realization that I didn’t really qualify to rate them because I never finished one – even if I tried some of the recipes from each book. What if the ones I didn’t try were the really good ones?

      Liked by 1 person

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