Cookbooks were sharing generational feast stories long before meal conversations became bite-size thanks to sites like Facebook or Twitter. While these abbreviated nosh notations have offered unique new opportunities, the art of the food narrative has hardly been lost–it’s just largely been digitized. The question “what will happen to the traditional cookbook?” has been broached by many in the last several years as the food-writing community online has expanded. In today’s Friday5 we explore the democratization of food writing. These five books come from authors that inspired hungry legions before their words ever made the jump to the printed pages of their cookbooks.

1. A Homemade Life
Would you be able to tell your life story in recipes? When Molly Wizenberg started her blog Orangette in 2004, she began as every other food blogger does: sharing her favorite recipes. Through a list of ingredients and a whimsical description of flavors, Molly invited us into her life one recipe at a time. With every post she blends classic story-telling with the scrupulous details of a cookbook. It was a surprise to no one when her blog format seamlessly translated into the novel A Homemade Life in 2009. She managed to blend classic storytelling with the clear, even hand of a seasoned recipe developer. In describing life’s ups and downs through salads, cookies and her dad’s famous French toast, A Homemade Life gives us an autobiography written with a fork.

2. Cake Pops
Angie Dudley, through her popular baking blog Bakerella, refocused the powerful hold the cupcake has on our hearts and stomachs when she started sharing charming recipes for cake pops. Just slightly bigger than bite-sized, her creations attracted hundreds of comments per post seemingly overnight. With the release of her new cookbook, aptly titled Cake Pops, she proves the fun is just beginning with thousands of new ideas and tips for making her signature treats.

3. Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
Six years ago when Shauna James Ahern began writing her blog Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, the words “gluten-free” hardly registered with most. To say that’s changed is a remarkable understatement. Many are willing to cede a lot of the credit for that increased awareness to the food blogging community, with Ahern at its core. On the blog, Ahern features recipes for pancakes, soft pretzels and brownies with beautiful photos to boot. Her partnership with her husband/chef Daniel Ahern has led to a variety of gluten free recipes that inspire even those without a nutritional mandate to remove wheat products. Their recently published cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story in 100 Tempting Recipes, was named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2010 by The New York Times.

4. Foodies of the World
Imagine sitting down to a meal with your favorite bloggers from around the world. You discover new friends, share your favorite stories and most importantly share your love of food. In the book, Foodies of the World, top blogs from around the world were selected to feature their recipes and stories in one comprehensive cookbook. Whether in print or online, the way we communicate about everything, including food, has been permanently changed. Within one cookbook of 100 recipes, we bring our history and our future together.

5. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
In New York City’s signature small kitchens, cooking utensils double as wall décor to save space and the meals produced with those tools represent just about every taste from every place–a true testament to the melting pot that is New York City. In 2006, we were welcomed into one particular New York kitchen, belonging to Deb Perelman. Through her blog, Smitten Kitchen, Deb brought to life the ultimate recipe binder, where her recipes are categorized by season, ingredient and meal. With the upcoming release of her cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, in spring 2012, she is set to share plenty of new recipes, as well as a few old favorites.

What food blogger would you love to see come out with a cookbook?

Image Credit: Tanja Nagel

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