The Evolution of Recipe Guides Throughout the Years

It’s amazing how things have evolved so quickly throughout the years and how we still take so much for granted. Recently, a friend of mine was talking to me about music CD’s and how they are pretty much obsolete since everyone is downloading music online. The only ones buying CD’s are those who prefer music in the traditional format, and if you think about music records, you’ll know it’s those people who grew up in the 70’s and/or 80’s. This conversation got me thinking about other products which are pretty much obsolete since the growth of the internet. Just like music has moved online, it’s amazing how books and guides have all been formatted into digital downloads. One of my favorite hobbies is cooking, and over the years I’ve invested a lot of money into buying videos, guides and even taking lessons. It’s amazing how this niche has evolved so much throughout the years. It used to be so personal because at one point you would learn through private classes, but now everything is available by searching in Google.

Today, I wanted to go through the major changes we have seen in the cooking industry, specifically, in regards to recipe guides. For example, I’ll look at the evolution of recipe guides, and how the once very intimate one-on-one experience is now mostly digital. We’ll look at how they went from –

  • A personal experience
  • Recipe books and guides
  • Recipe cards
  • The introduction of videos
  • Online collections
  • Recipe apps

The Personal Experience

In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, the cooking experience was so personal because you would have to attend classes. The pleasures of the heart were an important part of family traditional so taking classes to learn different types of recipes was important. Even educational institutions would have “Home Ed” where students would learn how to cook in a family setting.

There are many schools who still offer this program, but this really depends on the type of school you’re enrolled in.

Recipe Guides & Books

As recipes became more sophisticated and the demand got bigger for great tasting food, we saw the introduction of recipe books. The lower cost of printing had a lot to do with the influx of books because before that publishing a guide was very expensive. Not to mention, once the recession ended in the 1970’s after 11 months, people had money to burn and enjoyed the different cultural tastes. The end of the recession also increased travel allowing people to experience different cultures especially the different food types. If you were a chef during this time with experience making different types of foods, you were in high demand.

The first recipe books to enter local bookstores were published by restaurant owners looking for an alternative to increasing profits.

Recipe Cards

For those of you not aware, recipe cards are quick reference notes on a rectangular shaped card with a horizontal line. Instead of writing out unnecessary lengthy sentences, you would write down the recipe in point form. Families have been doing this since the early 1900’s so mothers can hand down recipes generation to generation. If you have traditional parents, then these recipe cards are still very active in your household, however, the newer generation hardly takes part in this tradition.

Here’s a cool fact,

Before the influx of numerous online recipe sharing sites, using recipe cards was the traditional method when sharing with friends, and other family members. Over the years, these cards are gaining momentum again because of how intimate and personalized the experience can be. It carries a warmth experience that can’t be duplicated when you click the “submit” button when skimming online.

Introduction of Videos

This is an amazing way to learn different recipes and can be a very personal experience too. It depends on who is hosting the cooking episode in the video or even television. For example, have you ever wondered why personalities like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen are so popular? They have the mother-like touch and are great at connecting with people. Both ladies have created a brand for themselves by doing what they love, but showing others how to love cooking too. We know deep inside that all of us are food lovers in our own way, and watching these food dishes being cooked to perfection resonates with us in a deep way.

Online Recipe Collections

Here we’ll be exploring mygreatrecipes.com which has created a hub for us to share different recipes quickly through their online portal and mobile app. The biggest challenge we face is locating awesome recipes because searching hundreds of websites to find the perfect dish is tedious. However, imagine having a central location that connects food lovers from all over the world. Not only that, but you can post your favorite recipe, leave reviews, and rank them according to what other food lovers are saying. Here’s a cool example using the keyword “pancake recipes.”

The evolution of mygreatrecipes.com is amazing because they were very popular with recipe cards back in the 80s and 90s and have now gone digital. It’s a great example of how things are evolving so quickly, and how this site knew the online phenomenon was changing the way people find information. The site really resonates with food lovers so check out their cooking app to find awesome recipes.

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Mobile Applications

In the last 5 years, mobile usage has increased by 68% which is a staggering number. With smartphones, we saw growth in mobile marketing, and applications. Developers are making enormous money creating, marketing, and selling applications. If you do a quick search in Google for “recipe apps”, here are the search results –

Above I discussed how online recipe collection sites are dominating the web, especially sites like mygreatrecipes.com. This site evolved from a simple recipe card format to an online collection which now includes a handy application for mobile users. Not only them but other sites are doing the same because they understand how the mobile market continues to grow and to stay competitive they need to resonate with mobile users through simple applications.

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Final Thoughts

It’s amazing how the digital revolution has changed the way we interact with information and people. At one point our learning process was limited to one-on-one interactions, however, you now have digital guides which can be downloaded within minutes. I remember when you would shop online and then wait days for the product to be shipped and delivered. Now, right after your transaction is complete, you’ll have the file ready for download in your account. Companies like Amazon, Apple, and eBay are all evolving to include the digital technology even creating a monopoly over the years.

Above we looked at how the concept of recipe guides has evolved over time. We explored the transition from a personal experience where recipes were taught in a classroom, and then the introduction of books and guides. At the same time, you had recipe cards which were popular amongst families and were a way for members to pass down authentic cuisine recipes from generation to generation. After television and media outlets popularized, we noticed recipe shows televised creating a brand for people like Martha Stewart, etc. In the digital age where computers connect everyone around the word, we have online collections all sorted under one domain like mygreatrecipes.com. People can now find recipes from across the web, leave reviews, and even download the app.

In the end, we have mobile phone usage increasing each year which has led to the introduction of application. These apps allow you to browse and skim awesome recipes no matter where you are. You can be at home, or even on the bus but you’ll have a jump-start on your dinner plans for the night.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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