by Bill Gantz
Tips for Writing a Great Cookbook
One thing that most people don’t associate African American writers with is cookbooks. The truth is, though, that there are a large number of cookbooks that have become extremely popular that were written by extremely talented African American authors and writers. If you’ve decided that you’re going to write a cookbook you need to have a few things: a lot of time, a lot of ingredients, a lot of tasting sessions, and a lot of gumption.
Eating and Writing
Writing a cookbook is unlike any other form of writing there is. When you’re writing a piece of fiction or a piece of nonfiction your writing is linear. It’s focused and is about telling a story. When you’re writing a book about food you’re writing a completely different thing. An African American author who believes that they can write a cookbook without having studied cookbooks has got another thing coming. It’s almost impossible to create an amazing cookbook without first studying a number of well-known and popular cookbooks. Look first at the ones that have survived throughout the years. These cookbooks have stood the test of time not because they have the most amazing recipes ever, but because they’re something that the average cook is going to utilize over and over again. That is the type of cookbook an African American author is going to want to create, no matter whether it’s an all-over cookbook or a specialty cookbook.
Another thing that you’re going to need if you’re writing a cookbook is a lot of practice. Instead of simply pulling out all of your favorite recipes and writing them down, actually make every recipe that’s in the book. Go through and remake the ones that you haven’t made in awhile, and serve them up for dinner or lunch as well as for critiquing. Don’t get upset if someone says that they think that your recipe needs to be tweaked a bit, as this is the way that your recipe can go from being good to being amazing.
It’s also important to remember to take photos of your dishes as you’re making them. If you’re opting to self-publish these can be the photos that you use in your cookbook. It’ll also help you to remember everything about each dish as you’re writing about them for your book. Have fun writing your cookbook and in the words of the famous cook book writer Julia Child, bon appetit!