Cooking On Kindle – Not As Mad As It Sounds
High Peak author Michael Madden wanted to bring order to his chaotic kitchen and decided to put all of his most often used recipes in one place, on his Kindle.
A recent search for the term "Cookery Book" in the Amazon.co.uk Kindle store revealed a total of 724 matches. The same search extended to “All Departments” revealed in excess of 90,000 matches. This could just be because the medium of the Kindle is not really appropriate for books that revel in the detail of mouthwatering pictures, however, High Peak author Michael Madden can see several advantages of the Kindle over traditional printed books.
“My kitchen is full of cookery books. There are region specific ones, celebrity television chef ones, food specific ones, curry is a particular favourite, and even one that explains how to catch, kill, hang and cook a possum! Added to this are a number of recipe cards that have fallen out of magazines, extracts from newspapers and periodicals, and hand written recipes passed down through the generations,” he explained at the launch of his new book Mmm…No1…Cookbook.
“I am a particularly messy cook, and many of my cookery books have pages stuck together, whilst several of the magazine pages are torn and faded. Mmm…No1…Cookbook was conceived to bring some sort of order to my often chaotic kitchen, by putting all of my most often used recipes in the same place, on the Kindle,” he continued.
Oddly enough, the book is also available in paperback, as to make it available for sale in the Kindle store it needed to have an authentic book cover. Michael’s wife, Sally, is a keen amateur photographer, and she provided the cover shot and design. “Michael cooked one of our favourite dishes, paella, and we dressed it up with Spanish wine, Mediterranean bread, and a few other props,” said Sally. “I got some excellent pictures, and we chose the best one for the cover, then we had a great afternoon eating the paella and drinking the wine!”
Michael continued the story. “I have a number of staple dishes that I cook regularly, including soups, starters, main meals, curries and desserts, and I can adapt these for a little variation as I choose. Speed is of the essence, and cutting corners is key, especially when I have a table full of hungry mouths to feed. So, for instance, in some cases I use powdered rather than fresh ginger, and I sometimes use garlic paste rather than fresh cloves, with the added advantage of not having to clean the garlic press!”
The advertising strapline for the book is “Every Day Cooking For Every Day lives”, a line that the author sees as wholly appropriate. “There is very little technical cooking in these recipes, although there is sometimes a little preparation required in advance, such as marinating chicken overnight,” he explained.
But why the Kindle? Michael elucidated further, “a Kindle is a very versatile tool, and not just for every day reading. Although there are not generally any pictures on the standard Kindle, most people will already know what the finished dishes should look like, and a Kindle is likely to be treated with a lot more care than a newspaper cutting. Another advantage of the Kindle is that it provides a ready made list of ingredients that can be taken shopping.”
The book was launched on 9th May 2012, and the first few hours were very interesting. “It first showed up on the Amazon Kindle UK site at number 100 in Food & Drink, just behind Gordon Ramsey,” explained Sally. “It dropped down for a while, and then it shot up into the 70s alongside Raymond Blanc and Madhur Jaffrey.”
“The following day it leapt into the top 50, reaching as high as 34, and briefly going above Nigella Express,” continued Michael. “After the initial surge sales have dropped off, but we have not yet started our promotional activities.”
Publicist Helen Smith explained the rationale. “The fact that there are so few cookery books available on Kindle could be seen as a negative, but Michael is quite prepared to challenge the market, and the fact that such notable chefs as Nigella Lawson, Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsey have published on Kindle can only be a good thing.” Mrs Smith then gave her own view on the subject matter. “I can tell you from first hand experience that the paella on the cover was magnificent, full of the flavours of the Mediterranean, and his Key Lime Pie is to die for.”
So will there be an Mmm…No2…Cookbook? Michael already has plans in a slightly different direction. “I am looking forward to working with a group of students from Salford University on Mmm…Student…Cookbook in the autumn,” he explained. “They will source the recipes, I will test them out and we can collaborate on the production and marketing. It will be great to get them involved. For now, though, I am concentrating on promoting No1, with Blog Tours and live events, including a huge cookfest in a local pub.”
Mmm…No1…Cookbook is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle
You can read more about the creation of the book on Michael's blog http://mmm-number-1.blogspot.com