Monday, 9 November 2020

How Eat Your Books helps me to actually use all my recipe books

I'm not sure if you know this, but I am obsessed with recipe books.

Oh, okay, you do know that do you? 

Right.

I get asked quite a lot how many I have, and you'd expect someone like me to umm and ahh and not be sure of the number.

But no, I know it. It's 98.

And how do I know it's 98?

It's thanks to the wonder that is Eat Your Books.

(I want to make it clear here this is not sponsored - I really love Eat Your Books and have been paying myself for my membership for many years!)

What is Eat Your Books?

Eat Your Books is a website which allows you to organise and search through your recipe books.

I originally stumbled across it a few years ago because, well, I'm obsessed with recipe books. And sometimes I like to look up recipe books to see what recipes they have before I buy them. Or what reviews they have. Or sometimes I find myself in the supermarket googling what I'm planning to make for dinner to see if the recipe is online because I've forgotten if I need courgettes or not.

And Eat Your Books would always come up. And to be honest, for years I didn't get it. 

You couldn't see the quantities of each ingredient, or the recipe itself. Just the ingredients it needed, and sometimes some reviews. I couldn't see how it would be useful.

But after coming across it over and over again, I decided to give a free trial a go. And I completely fell in love.

How I use Eat Your Books

The first thing you do when you sign up is add all the books you own to your library (you can also add 5 books in the free version), as well as any blogs you want to follow. You can do this by search, or you can also add by ISBN.

Now one thing to add here - not all books are indexed, but of course the more popular your book, the more likely it is to be indexed. Of my 98 books, 84 are indexed, 3 are indexing now and 1 is yet to be released (but I think will be indexed pretty quickly after release). You can request books be indexed, or, if you're super keen, you can offer to index them yourself.

Once a book is indexed, you can search all the recipes in it, and this goes for all books, whether they're on your shelf or not.

At a recipe level, you can see all the ingredients, though not the quantities, and some tags eg. vegetarian, main courses, Mexican. You can also see any reviews or notes that other users have added to the recipe (I find these incredibly useful!).

One of my favourite features is the ability to add bookmarks to recipes. I have loads of bookmarks, for example "weekend favourites", "storecupboard recipes", "autumn/winter" ,"BBQ", "salads", "brunch to try", "convert to veggie" and "instant pot". I find bookmarks really helpful when meal planning, or for saving recipes I want to remember to make later.

But by far, the best feature is the search. If it's the end of the week and I haven't been food shopping, I can search my library by ingredients I have in. So I can search "eggs, kale, tomatoes" and find an Eggs in Purgatory dish from EllyPear, or maybe I also have some cheese, so I can search "eggs, cheese" and Eat Your Books reminds me of a mac and cheese recipe I've been meaning to try. 

You can filter by loads of factors too - for me, it's always "vegetarian" but I can also search only book recipes (so no blogs or websites - I do this quite often if I want to really make sure I'm using my books). You can also search by course, ingredient, ethnicity, occasion and recipe types.

I find this is a great way to reduce food waste, by searching for ingredients I have on hand. For example this week I had to buy oranges for one recipe, but I knew I wouldn't use them all. I know I always have tofu in the freezer, so I searched "orange tofu" in my books and found 32 recipes in my books for orange tofu.

How much is it?

Eat Your Books is $3 a month or you can pay $30 for a year. For me, personally, less than £3 a month is more than worth it considering the amount I spend on recipe books.

Final thoughts

I've been using Eat Your Books now for about 3 years and it has absolutely transformed how I use my recipe books. I try so many more recipes now and get loads of helpful tips from the notes of other users.

It's annoying sometimes when a book you really want to be indexed isn't yet (still waiting on The Roasting Tin Around the World) but considering how many of my books are indexed I don't miss my newer or more-obscure ones not being on the site yet.

If like me you have so many recipe books you find yourself overwhelmed, Eat Your Books is a great way of feeling as though you can really use them and it makes me so excited about my book collection!

Let me know if you give it a try!

Charlotte x

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