Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but nothing screams culinary sabotage louder than hard-to-follow cookbooks. But this could all be about to change with cookbooks becoming something of a relic as sleek easy-to-follow smartphone and iPad applications storm the bestsellers list this Christmas.
New digitised offerings from Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Georgina Campbell and Nevin McGuire, has the death knell of the traditional cookbook ringing louder than ever. Indeed, apps have become somewhat of the secret ingredient in the battle of the celebrity Christmas cookbook.
"I think it is possible they will soon overtake cookbooks," says Paolo Tullio one of Ireland's best-known restaurant critics and author of Cooking Like An Italian. "I don't use them myself yet, because I am at an age where reading tiny print is not so easy. But without a doubt reading how to do things is not as effective as actually seeing someone cook."
Indeed, the key reason why many people prefer apps rather than leafing through dog-eared pages of a cookbook is the step-by-step instructions with visual aids that help them learn as they go.
"As these apps become more widely available, everyone with a smart phone or iPad will use them," says Paolo.
However, for many the love affair with traditional cookbooks will be hard to beat. "I buy a lot of cookbooks so for me, while apps are something that have great value, nothing beats the tried and traditional," says Neven Maguire, who recently released his iCook app. "The video content of apps is a very big selling point. But I think cookbooks will remain the cornerstone of every good kitchen."
With all of Ireland's top chefs eyeing the success of apps, Kevin Dundon is determined not to be left behind and will be launching his early in the new year.
"I think if they are cleverly put together they are incredibly useful," says Dundon.
"The number of things such as video, ingredients and shopping lists you can put on them is amazing and I think the more the better when it comes to apps.
"I do think it is wonderful going through your old cookbooks and seeing smudges all over the page containing your favourite dish, but you have to move with the times.
"I do not think apps are the be all and end all, but I do think they can go hand-in-hand with any collection of cookbooks."