I have found a resource that I have to rave about: a website called Eat Your Books. For those of us who have LOTS of cookbooks it’s a real treasure. How many times have you stood, staring at the bookshelves, wondering where you saw that recipe for beef tongue? (Okay, maybe not many for tongue, but how about that overflow of tomatoes in the summer and the zucchini and eggplant?) Well, there’s caponata, ratatouille….but where are the recipes. This site does not provide recipes–it provides the means for you to find them in your own books!
Eat Your Books is a site that has indexes of cookbooks (over 1,200 now and growing). You put those virtual books on your virtual bookshelf on the website, and you can then search the indexes for recipes. A friend discovered this and told me about it. It’s not free, but is definitely worth the price. I signed up for a trial membership and spent the time adding some of the titles that I own, and took it for a test drive. I tried some common things (eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini), and some rather esoteric things (beef tongue, beef heart). Worked like a charm. (Of course, I did have several cookbooks that had beef tongue recipes.) The tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant were there too. The search is not quite Google so it made a difference if I searched for tomato-zucchini, or tomatoes and zucchini, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like having the world at your fingertips.
Another great thing that the site does is list the major ingredients with each recipe so that you can evaluate the potential from the list of recipes. So, though I had tomatoes and zucchini, I did not have peppers, so I could rule out some recipes right at the search point.
Needless to say my test drive was a short one. I was preparing food for the time when I was having a house guest, so I really gave the “trial” a good workout, and decided this was a must-have for me. Because it was still in “beta” testing, there was a special rate for a lifetime membership and I opted for lifetime rather than annual. The beta testing is over now and the “real” version is up and working but I think there may still be a special lifetime membership offer. I have only entered about 40 of my titles so far, but it’s well worth the effort to do this. I cannot imagine being without this website now. There is a blog and community pages as well.
At the present time, there are rarer books that are not included, but the numbers are growing all the time, and new features are being added. You can also suggest books to be indexed.