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Write Your Own Cookery Book

By Expert Author: Steve Smith

Writing a cookery book has two aspects ie writing and cookery. This short article is about the writing part. Most people when thinking about writing a cookery book or article immediately conjure up images of so many cups of flour or mL of stock or pinches of this or that. But the clever author will also jump to thinking about presentation, layout and style. In many cases it is these aspects of a cookery book that will be the prompt to buy. The actual content ie, the recipes themselves, is what will be the reason for the book's long-term usage in the kitchen, be it frequent or otherwise. So we are going to talk about the mechanics of the cookbook rather than recipes.
Typical Recipe Format:
The format of a recipe is usually divided into three basic parts ie:
a list of ingredients
a method or list of the steps necessary to complete the recipe.
an image of the finished result.
Cookery Book Styling:
When assembling the cookery book you need to decide on the style for all of these. The style can be influenced by the intended usage of the book.
Is it to be coffee table style or kitchen workhorse?
Is it for everyday meals or a niche reference book?
Is it really intended as a gift item or something that you personally would use often?
Is it for experienced cooks or a 'hand-holding' book for beginners or the kitchen clueless?
What is your budget for the book. Is it a no expenses spared show-piece or an economy kitchen shelf reference?
Are you self-publishing or are you going for publisher funding?
Chosen Book Format:
The important thing is that you be consistent throughout the book. In a recent publication, we were aiming to self-publish a small cookery book with minimum funding as a fund-raising effort. The format decided upon was as follows:
size was to be 'A5' ie, approximately 6 inches by 8 inches.
paperback with glossy colour front and back
black and white content pages
about 160 pages in total
no images, unfortunately.
organised into chapters.
Chosen Recipe Format:
For each recipe we decided on a template that would be applied throughout the book. The format of the template was:
heading with chapter and section numbering and recipe title. This was very important not only to identify each recipe but also to generate automatically the Table of Contents and an index if necessary
The contributing author of the individual recipe.
The ingredient list laid out as a two column bulleted list.
The recipe method, organised as a free-text paragraph or paragraphs.

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