Short of buying that cookbook you think you might want, sometimes it’s hard to decide simply by flipping through its pages or skimming the table of contents while standing in the aisle of your favorite bookstore.
If you’re the kind of consumer who wants to taste test a cookbook before you splurge, then the aptly named Cookbook Digest magazine is the right choice for you.
For more than 25 years, this bimonthly publication has reviewed cookbooks of all genres and reprinted recipes from each one that is featured, making it a handy shopping guide or wish list for adding to your personal collection or getting some gift ideas for a foodie friend.
Despite its newsprint pages, typically thin issues and lack of flashy photography, Cookbook Digest magazine packs a lot of flavor in a small, simple package. The May/June 2010 issue, for example, covered 14 cookbooks and provided more than 50 recipes in only 40 pages.
Arranged by course, the recipes in the May/June issue tended to be sweet, with lots of desserts, party ideas and kid-friendly snacks–all appropriate for entertaining at birthday parties and getting through the summer with the youngsters at home.
Ranging from simple to advanced, sample recipes cover everything from Olive-Rosemary Bread; Salmon Ceviche With Watermelon and Mint; Cremini Mushroom Skewers With Pistachio Curry Rice, Tamarind Chutney and Saffron Radish “Rice”; Loaded Baked Potato Casserole; Corn Fritters; Red Velvet Cake With Velvet Frosting; Chocolate Chip Cupcakes With Chocolate Chip Frosting; and Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Wild Strawberries.
The diversity of cookbooks reviewed was just as impressive, including regional flavors from New York, the Carolinas and Charleston, as well as a 300-calorie cookbook, an allergen-free handbook and a gluten-free cookbook. Details on each featured cookbook are collected in one page with author, publisher, page count and–perhaps most importantly–price.
Cookbook Digest magazine contains only a few photos of recipes featured alongside the review of each book, which could be a downside for chefs who value visuals. Still, the undeniable redeeming quality of Cookbook Digest is that it gives cooks the ability to essentially check out several cookbooks at once and taste-test a sampling of recipes so they can make educated decisions when they make a purchase.