Has anyone here gone through the process of writing a cookbook, either formally published or self-published? I’m curious to hear about your experiences.
My Girl Scout troop did one (held together with brass paper fasteners) when I was 12, but I doubt that is what you have in mind.
No. But will like to know more.
The idea of collecting family recipes and making it into a book and offer them as Christmas gifts did cross my mind. A few years back, I have collected several recipes from my MIL, but the problem is she is an intuitive type of cook, adjusting the ingredients during the cooking process, and every time the same recipe is slightly different. So to have it written down precisely is a bit of a challenge, meaning I need to cook on my side the dish to test it out.
@Harters did wrote an historical food book, I think. But of war food. Don’t know if there are any recipes.
I’ve contributed to several community fundraising cookbooks, but have never written a whole one on my own.
I wanted to collect recipes from my grandmother a while back. Although she’s still with us, her mind hasn’t been for quite some time. The recipes are unfortunately lost in a literal sense since they were never written down.
I’ve been scoping out something, not a literal book yet, but some kind of definitive English language collection of classic Cantonese and HK recipes that are thoroughly researched and illustrated.
Actually, I have written a couple of cookbooks, of the self-published variety, however. Epicurious had a wonderful platform, called Tastebook. Unfortunately, they discontinued it a few years ago. Anyway, you could choose, a cover, personalize it, and download photos. You could input up to 100 recipes. It was in a multi ring binder format, with nice covers you could choose. When the first niece on my husband’s side got married, I collected family recipes, and stories that went along with them, and made one for her bridal present. I also had copies made for all my sister in laws on that side. For those, that in fact cooked, it was a big hit. I did input all 100 recipes, and was surprised that it was actually quite an amazing amount of work, and writing! Even after carefully proofreading, and paying my children to do a second “look”, there were still, a couple errors. Oh well, sigh. When a niece on my side got married, I used the same recipe platform, but of course, changed the recipes to reflect that side of the family. Again, I made copies for all cooks, in addition to the niece who got married. I’m so glad I did this, my relatives that cook are happy, and I got in on that wonderful program while it still existed. I’ll post a picture of the book later. (My one for the other side of the family is on loan).
On another note, I collaborated on a cookbook with a former colleague - added inputs, edited and contributed recipes; I was paid for this, but the cookbook morphed into a different project, so my work wasn’t used. As a cook, I wasn’t thoroughly aligned with the project from the first, but it was a fun exercise.
I’m a proud owner of his book- it does a wonderful job of combining 2 of my biggest interests! A very few recipes at the end, but not a cookbook.
I understand this is an old thread. My mother’s recipe book was lost, much to my dismay for one dessert I can’t quite re-create. We have always mostly cooked at home, and about 12 years ago I started to collect the recipes we use, mostly for my children. I keep it in a digital form, and we update it about every 3 years with new recipes and modifications. Everybody gets a new thumb drive for Christmas. The big advantage here is that you can print out the recipe(s) you are using and not have to worry about getting things on the page. In addition, in Word format, the whole cookbook is searchable for something, or the equivalent of an index.
Maybe this ship has sailed, but to answer the question, yes, I’ve written 3 cookbooks. All formally published. I realize my experience probably isn’t the usual as I was approached by the publisher to write the first in the series. I had been writing a monthly magazine column in a parenting magazine and this publisher was looking for something geared to teens. It was an easy transition for me and the original editing process was pretty smooth - although it probably should have been a bit more stringent, really, now that I look at that first edition copy. Subsequent books came from my suggestions, to follow the general theme. There were numerous re-workings of at least two of the original books, as time went on and the world changed and tastes changed.
Truth is, I’d never write a cookbook now. The market is so super-saturated to the point of idiocy, I feel. Anything general in theme is very likely to have already been done a thousand times; grandma’s recipes are easily googled up online; books are becoming more and more laser-focused and who really needs a book on 200 ways to make vegan focaccia? I’m really tired of even looking at cookbooks anymore - the photography is daunting and nothing is really ever going to turn out looking like that incredibly beautiful picture. I’m happy with google and I think most people feel the same way.