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Mastering the art of e-cooking

Meryl Streep as Julia Child

Although the Internet has revolutionized the way people discover new recipes, e-cookbooks have not yet made a big impact in the kitchen.

It’s not that home chefs are too busy thumbing their old recipe index cards, there’s simply been a lack of e-cookbooks available on the market. In a New York Times article, Jennifer Olsen, manager of digital production for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, explains, Cookbooks often have incredibly complex layouts. They are very tricky to produce as e-books.

According to the article, that is starting to change. On Wednesday, Knopf released the tablet-friendly e-book edition of Julia Child’s famous 752-page Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Knopf first attempted the e-book conversion a year ago, but “the technology was not available to replicate Ms. Child’s distinctive two-column format, which allowed the reader to see the ingredients alongside the corresponding instructions in the recipe, step by step, rather than the more conventional format of listing ingredients at the beginning.”

The e-book has already won the praise of Judith Jones, the retired Knopf editor who acquired Child’s book in 1961 and who originally protested the e-book’s release. Jones was impressed with its live links and pop-up dictionary. I suddenly saw the difference … You really could almost improve on how you read the book, she says.