Q&A with Veteran Cookbook Collaborator Mary Goodbody

After Mary Goodbody left Cook’s Magazine (now Cook’s Illustrated) in the 1980s, she got her first opportunity to co-write a cake decorating book for a packager. She took the job and never looked back. Since becoming self-employed in 1984, the food writer and editor has collaborated on close to 50 cookbooks.

She lives in Connecticut, inherited a 200-acre sustainable farm in northwestern New Jersey with her seven brothers and sisters, and blogs about her visits there.

We spoke recently about collaborating on cookbooks and her long career. I have collaborated on a cookbook (Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas) and edited recipes for publishers. I wanted to learn more about these jobs as careers for freelance food writers:

Q. How do you define the job of a collaborator?

A. I’m the project manager. I make sure the book gets done. I’m pretty detail oriented and I work and think in a linear fashion, which helps the authors keep their deadlines. The author might do some writing, but I edit it. I keep in touch with the