Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hey, good-lookin! Whatcha got cookin?

When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those storybooks that was "written just for me." Remember? The kind that you could special order, that used the kid's name and hometown in the book? I thought it was the stuff dreams were made of-- my name in an actual story in an actual book! Alas, I never got one. I can understand why I never received one of those books, though, looking back, because they do seem to have simply been like bad form letters-- I imagine the publishers just duplicating the same story, over and over, but just changing the names in the [Insert Name Here] fields throughout. I'm not even sure they used the same font when they put the names in. So it wasn't seamless. Probably not all that fun, actually.

But now, as a grownup, and with newer/better technology, we can do better than that, and have the power to make personalization, well, more personalized.

A great example of that is in TasteBook.com, a service that allows you to create your own hard-bound cookbook, and I am In Love With It. You build your own book, from start to finish-- the title, the picture on the cover of the easy-open binder, the order of the tabbed chapters, and, best of all, the recipes. Add any recipe you have in your collection, whether it's tried and true, or brand new to you. (You can even upload pictures for each one!) Or, if you would like to browse recipes from various sources and add them, choose from the following HUGE collections.

* Allrecipes Recipes
* Better Recipes Recipes
* Coastal Living Recipes
* Cooking Light Recipes
* Epicurious Recipes
* Food Network Recipes

* Allrecipes Cookbooks
* Better Recipes Cookbooks
* Cooking Light Cookbooks
* Epicurious Cookbooks
* Food Network Cookbooks

* Oxmoor House Recipes
* Simply Recipes Recipes
* Southern Living Recipes
* Sunset Recipes
* 101Cookbooks Recipes

* MyRecipes Cookbooks
* Simply Recipes Cookbooks
* Southern Living Cookbooks
* TasteBook Cookbooks
* 101Cookbooks Cookbooks

The possibilities are endless! (And hello... I could drool for days over the Southern Living Cookbooks and the Coastal Living recipes alone.) Furthermore, you can add your own personal notes, tips, tricks, and stories to each recipe you add to your book. I think it makes for a great cookbook-- one that I see myself owning forever.

So those are some of the things that made it interesting enough for me to get one. But there are a couple of things I absolutely LOVE about it, that stand out as really smart design ideas.

First of all, it's a binder, so you can pop out the recipe you're going to use and return it when you're finished. This is perfect for me, because I like to be able to put my recipe under a magnet on my fridge while I'm cooking, so it's easy for me to see and read, but out of the way and off of my countertop. Others might like taking the recipe out so they can take it to the grocery store with them. You can also reorganize them as you see fit-- I group the ones I use most at the front of each section. I think it just makes a lot of sense to be able to take them out.

Another thing I think is brilliant is the way in which they let you fill your book. They have what they call Recipe Credits. Here's the how and why. Each book will hold 100 recipe cards. However, they have three pricing options, with different numbers of cards included with each. You can get a book with 25 recipes for $19.95, or one with 50 recipes for $29.95 (both with the option to buy more recipe cards later for .50 each), or (the best deal) one with 100 recipes for $34.95. But let's say you only have 19 recipes right now, but you still want to make a book. No problem. TasteBook will send you your book of 19 recipes, with Recipe Credits for you to use to complete your full set anytime in the future! When the recipes arrive in the mail, simply use the easy-open binder to slip them into your TasteBook.

Finally, I really love the gifting options TasteBook offers. Of course, they have the standard Gift Certificate option, in denominations of $25, $50, and $100, which you can either print at home or have emailed to the recipient. That's nice, but no big whoop, right? Yeah, but the coolest gift idea they have is the books you can make for others. Maybe fill one with all of your family recipes and give it to all of the cousins at the holidays. Or make one for your kids' teachers, filled with recipes from each student's family. Or you want to convince your friends that your Raw Foods recipes really are delicious. Maybe your husband's favorite ingredient is pesto, so you want to fill a book with pesto recipes! (Keep dreaming, Nerdboy. I'm not about to arm you with a Pesto Cookbook. Or a Garlic one. But doesn't a BACON one sound good?) My point is that there are all kinds of books you can make as gifts. But here's another idea-- you can create and send partially filled books as gifts, too-- which the recipients will receive with a redemption code for Recipe Credits, to be used whenever they want! I think this would be awesome for friends and family, or for a wedding party. For example, say the bride wants to give each of her bridesmaids a book she designs for them, to commemorate her wedding day, but to also share a few of her favorite signature recipes. Maybe she wants to do them all with the same cover picture, but wants them all to be able to fill the rest of the book with whatever they'd like. She could totally do that here, with ease! And the groom could give his groomsmen one that includes his favorite recipes for cocktails, game day food, or his grilling masterpieces.

Okay, I could come up with a hundred other ways in which I think it's one of the Best Gift Ideas Ever, but I think this is enough. They're actually having a contest right now where you can win a $1000 Gift Card to Cooking.com, so click on the link below for details, even though I plan on winning it myself. Otherwise, I'll be keeping a link posted on my site, because I think it's Just That Good.

Bon Appetit!
Kimmy

3 comments:

plynn66 said...

love love LOVE this!!!

Tricia/myspace

SZR said...

Stuff Sharon likes? Kimmy and the stuff she likes!!

KimmyDarling said...

Thanks for reading, y'all!