03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why We Read Cookbooks

We say "What's the recipe?" when we mean "How do you do it?" And though we want the answer to be "Like this!" the honest answer is "Be me!" "What's the recipe?" you ask the weary pro chef, and he gives you a weary-pro-chef look, since the recipe is the totality of the activity, the real work. The recipe is to spend your life cooking.

Yet the cookbooks keep coming, and we continue to turn down their pages...

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