Monday, 11 November 2013

Baking, and the interaction of the web and the book.

A and I have been fans of the Great British Bake Off since the Spring.  We went on what would have been a wonderful holiday in Brittany, which was somewhat less stellar than it should have been due to a number of factors.  1) I was pregnant, and still somewhat sick, and also was unable to indulge in copious amounts of French wine, which always makes a French holiday pass in an even more pleasant haze.  2) The weather was like Britain, but we had had to travel for pretty much a day to get there. 3) A picked up some kind of horrible virus and was sick and tired for the whole week.  She is normally an 100mph kind of character, but spent most of the holiday slumped in front of the TV.  Happily BBC2 were repeating all of the previous series of GBBO, and it was just the thing for lazy slumping.  It made the holiday a lot more bearable for the pair of us (MrM and C were a little less keen, so found other ways to amuse themselves, like swimming, seeing the sights and other things you are actually meant to do on holiday.)

Anyway, there has just been a new series of GBBO, which A and I have watched together, often in our pjs on a Friday after school.  This, coupled with the fact that I am currently mainly stranded at home with a car-hating baby, means that I am cooking a lot.  Particularly baking.  Whilst this is not ideal for me to get back into my jeans, we do all feel spectacularly well-fed at the moment.  I am virtually living off Banana Oat breakfast bars, the recipe for which was in a Sainsburys magazine the last time I was on maternity leave.  I am so au fait with the recipe now, that I don't have to look at it, and am almost at the point where I don't have to weigh the ingredients, and can judge it by sight. This is fine, since it has oats and fruit in, so is virtually a health food.

Anyway, to the point.  Up to now, my experience of book/web direct interaction has been the links they give you in Usborne books. Fine, to a point, but I'd really rather the kids actually looked in the book to help them with their homework.

However, I have now discovered the nirvana of web/book interactivity.  Eat Your Books. For a subscription fee which is similar in price to a good cook book, you can upload the names of all of your cookbooks.  The site provides an index of all of the recipes in your books. You can, therefore, search for all of the recipes for goulash in your books, pick out the appropriate books and peruse the recipes.  It takes out the angsty "I'm sure I have a recipe for this somewhere", where you look through every single book good old Delia has ever published.  So far A, C and I have searched for caramel cornflake cake, chocolate beetroot cake, Christmas pudding and, in a shock departure from cake, but not straying too far from the processed carb mothership, bread sauce. 

There should be a site like this for children's books.  "I'm sure I have a page of info somewhere on the development of toilets from hole in the ground to automatic flushes".  For now, we'll be content with knowing that an index of all our baked goods exists online, and feel safe that we will never have to live without a random-vegbox-inspired loaf cake for want of a good recipe.

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