Dec 022014
 
Dianne-Jacob-Pizza

Fitting dough to a pizza screen for one of around 80 pizzas I made for  a pizza cookbook — including one with a questionable ingredient. (Photo by Kris Montgomery)

Based on all the great feedback and discussion on last week’s post about recipe copy-editing, I’m asking about writing recipes with non-standard ingredient sizes.

Case in point: How big is a lamb sausage?

One of the USA of Pizza’s recipes called for “1 lamb sausage link” (not merguez). I purchased the link at a butcher. It weighed 5 1/2 ounces.

The copy editor asked if it should be 6 ounces.

Okay, I thought. Maybe 6 ounces is a standard size. But I didn’t know for sure, so I researched it. I Googled “lamb sausage” and clicked on images. I found Continue reading »

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Nov 252014
 
Smoked-salmon-pizza

This smoked salmon pizza in The United States of Pizza  includes sliced red onion. This was a source of contention!

If a copy editor has ever touched your cookbook manuscript, you will relate.

And if you haven’t had the experience yet, you will be intrigued — and possibly worried.

Before I start this discussion, however, I want to be clear. I’m grateful for all the goofs our very capable copy editor caught in chef Craig Priebe’s and my new pizza book (The USA of Pizza, October, 2015) manuscript.

But man, some of the queries made us scratch our heads. Here are three  Continue reading »

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Mar 182014
 

Recipe-RobberI’ve written many times about how individual  recipes can’t be copyrighted here in the US. But did you realize that you can defend a copyright if parts of your recipe contain “substantial literary expression?”

What exactly is that, and why should you bother?

“Substantial literary expression” establishes the information in a recipe as yours. That could be just as important as copyright, when it comes to theft.

Let me explain. US copyright law defines substantial literary expression as: Continue reading »

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Mar 042014
 
Thai-Sandwich-With Cheese

Is a cookbook author’s Asian Sandwich with cheese “perfect for every occasion?” I think not.

Recently I edited a cookbook manuscript for a publisher, where the author used  “perfect for every occasion” in one too many headnotes.

I lost it. I struck out the phrase and then went back and struck it out every time it appeared.  “Perfect for every occasion” screams 1950s housewife to me. And it doesn’t make sense.

Here’s why:

1. Most of the time, readers don’t need ideas for  “occasions.” They need food for  meals.

Okay, they might need the occasional dish for a potluck, a baby shower, or a new neighbor. Those are specific events. A dish cannot be perfect for every occasion. I guarantee you that the author’s Asian sandwich with cheese (oh yes, I did Continue reading »

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Jan 142014
 
Melt_Turkey and Robusto

Every recipe in Melt was tested four times by our band of recipe testers, including this one for Turkey and Robusto Mac and Cheeselets.

A guest post by Garrett McCord, co-author of Melt

One of the greatest fears of cookbook writers is that their readers — the people who have dedicated time, money, and ingredients –- will be unable to successfully execute the recipes. When Stephanie Stiavetti and I started working on Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, we resolved that recipes would be properly tested and that every single one would work flawlessly.

So how to go about this? Years ago I tested recipes for Jaden Hair’s first cookbook. Stephanie and I discussed the process and decided that the best way to test the book was with our blog readers. We put out a call on our Continue reading »

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Dec 102013
 

Cute-BabyOh em gee! I am so tired of baby-talk words in recipe writing, especially:

  • Yummy
  • Sammy, and
  • Tummy.

While editing a cookbook manuscript for a publisher, I decided the author must have been a Rachael Ray groupie. How else to explain her use of these three terms, not to mention “easy-peasy” and exclamation points in almost every recipe headnote? At least she didn’t add “Yum-O.” Continue reading »

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Nov 122013
 
Shakshooka-Israel

What is the most exciting way to tell people to make this dish? Julia knows.

You’re sick of writing “add” and “place” in recipes, aren’t you? (If not, you should be.)

Here’s help. Use powerful action verbs, the way that Julia Child did. I spent a pleasurable hour reading through Mastering the Art of French Cooking to Continue reading »

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