Why we use cookbooks

The potential miracle of the cookbook was immediately apparent: you start with a feeling of greed, find a list of rules, assemble a bunch of ingredients, and then you have something to be greedy about. You begin with the ache and end with the object, where in most of the life of appetites—courtship, marriage—you start with the object and end with the ache.

That's Adam Gopnik in this a recent New Yorker on why we keep buying, reading, and using cookbooks. Great read.