The Psychology of Recipe Books & Covers
What is it about grocery check-out lines that make people buy this?
I mean – even self-proclaimed "NON-COOKS" get sucked into the whole marketing thing. I’m not talking about anyone specific here- just sort of in general terms. And you know that when they’ve bought that, you can BET there’s probably something like this at home:
Or does this look more familiar? (to you "organized" types)
I wonder if it’s the size – the convenient, easy to grab, pictures of each recipe advertising that is most appealing?
Or maybe it’s the promise of something "Easy."
Or possibly the fact that anyone who makes these purchases is a closet-lottery-winner wannabe? Or desirous of being proclaimed the greatest mom-cook EVER in the ENTIRE world.
I mean, who doesn’t want to be a winner?
But in some cases (again, no finger-pointing or name-calling going on here), what would make this inexplicable hankering for instruction books to do things a person never intended, wouldn’t promise, didn’t claim to do, and family makes out fine without? It’s a mystery!
But if you start to classify these impulse buys, you’d have to take a stab at guesses as to what was going through said shopper’s mind. And it must happen in sort of waves, because there is generally a fairly consistent theme going on. Maybe there is a need for a home-spun holiday – something that might not really have happened (or been perceived to have happened) in a childhood. Maybe only read about in magazines. During these people’s/shopper’s childhoods. (Because living in the southern hemisphere where "Homespun Christmas" took on a whole different meaning.)
And maybe that need was bigger than just a few small books. Maybe the need qualified for a BIG book.
Or maybe, just comfort food. Possibly during various cold spells – the draw of a warm, filling, but not-too-heavy meal. With an emphasis on the ease of accomplishing this task.
Of course, if the shopper is a mom, with – say, the job of promoting wellness (in their out-of-home life), you could well expect this possible addition to the collection:
But one would notice that this collection of "health-related cooking" is markedly smaller than the collection of holiday-baking of UNhealthy things. One would wonder what that might mean!?
And, since that mom might have issues around children, disrespect, observation of lack-of-parenting-skills in some peers, and feelings of general disconnectedness with the home-room type moms who tolerate everything and still feel great about pumping sugar into classrooms regardless of how out of control their kids might seem, you might even understand this purchase:
Of course, because of that desire to connect, the progression easily follows to the possibility of these purchases:
This entertainment obviously stretches across seasons and times, because there’s a strong possibility of this addition to the collection:
At times when cooking seems downright avoidable, why would this purchase ever occur? I mean – really! Bring in the professionals here, because to me -
when someone says "let’s beat the heat" or "Celebrate summer!" – it means "let’s jump into the pond." It certainly NEVER has a cooking connotation. And does that cover even look appealing?
Casually browsing this collection of over-the-years purchases, one would observe the fact that with one exception (because of sheer carelessness, I’m sure) each of these books are in pristine condition. NO dog-eared pages, no flour-stained covers, no "flop-open to a timeless favorite" – NOTHING. They could be sold as antiques (in 10-15 years) in mint condition. Were they maybe purchased from a "collectors" standpoint? It seems highly improbable, based on their "everything in it’s place and a place for everything" dwelling. I mean, you could most likely find this hodge-podge collection right here
Where the actual family favorites and commonly eaten recipes are kept. Where you’d find something along these lines:
No, there MUST be some sort of DSM-IV code for this phenomenon. Maybe this research should be submitted for DSM-V consideration.