Kate Downham wrote:That is an impressive collection!
Thank you for posting. I've been a bit slow with replies lately because I only have internet access on the phone right now. I am thinking a lot about cookbooks and working more on mine, and will come back here with more questions and thoughts soon : )
Our house internet is literally between dial up and antique. I usually use my phone as a hotspot to get a reliable connection if uploading or downloading anything. The unlimited cellular data plans really are worth it, even when the connection is usually metered during "peak hours".
My cookbook collection is small, but the library here is really good so I get lots of books from there. Right now I'm reading 'Local Breads' to further my sourdough skills, and I just finished 'The Hands On Home', which I got the library to order in for me based on Permies reviews.
jordan barton wrote:
so some suggestions if i may add my opinion.
-Having recipes for dishes which are actually really easy to make but seem like a lot of work to make when you could just buy them from a store. Example nixamalization, corn tortillas, nut butters, ketchup.
-I really appreciate when cookbooks explain things. Like for instance in sally fallons book she lists using Bulgar flour in her flaky pie crust, and i know what she is saying is to use a flour which has been soaked and dried and ground. Even tho this isn't said specifically.
-Ive read books which list ingredient in "add 6 medium beets", honestly i found this challenging because my beets are all over the place it seems. Or ingredients like use 3 fennel bulbs when my bulbs are gigantic. maybe this isn't so important, i find it more annoying to have to think about it when i am trying to make dinner after having a busy day. which doesn't end with dinner....
-to me having pictures has always been a let down, i almost always make it different than what the photos show. Or if you do use photos maybe show photos which are not perfect?
-I also always try and make recipes with what i have on hand(I make a goat curry with a chicken curry recipe), so having flexibility in your recipes. I often combine recipes from a few different books to get an idea of what i could make more suited to what ingredients i have on hand.
- i agree on the add salt as being a non-specific amount
-I really like it when the cook book suggest visual clues as to when to add things, ie when the onions are soft.
I would recommend Kay Baxters Change of heart cookbook to you. I really like the style of it, it shows which foods are available in which season and offers foods for the season. No sweet peppers in January.
that is about it
Have loads of fun with making the cook book:D
Kate Downham wrote:Thank you all for the helpful replies, you’ve given me a lot to think about! I will get a bit more organised and start looking for more recipe testers!
A couple of things I’ve been wondering about…
Meal sizes - I cook for seven active people every day and love leftovers, and often find myself making double or triple batches of recipes from other books. I would like the option of having the ingredients listed for a large batch, and I think communities and wwoof hosts might appreciate this idea too, but I also want to provide batch sizes that will work for smaller households. I am experimenting with ways to make this work in the book. My ideas so far:
1. Make these recipes a double page spread - one page has the method, and the ingredients for one batch size, the other page has a the photo, with a text box inserted in it for the ingredients list for a small batch size. This is probably the least confusing method, but it obscures my lovely photos :(
so i imagine having the two different batches to be quite confusing. I am curious if there is a way to possibly colour coat the book. It would be a central theme and for every batch for 2 the page could be green and for every page which has the double batch could be purple. (just a suggestion)
2. Not having any particular format for doing this - just fit the alternative ingredients list on the page where it best seems to fit for a particular recipe. For example, my Japanese beef curry recipe probably works best with the slow cooking ingredients for both batches listed in a column, and then the curry roux/finishing ingredients for either batch listed in bold in the method section. When a recipe is for a cake or something else with a shorter ingredients list, I could have the ingredients for both batches listed in the column, but this might lead the cook to adding the wrong amount of something.
I could see the different amounts being listed in the same column being a problem yes.
3. Having the ingredients listed for one batch in the ingredients column, and the other batch size option listed as a variation, in a coloured text box somewhere on the page. With this approach there is also some risk that people might add things from the wrong ingredient list by mistake, but I think there is slightly less chance than the last idea.
Now this is an interesting idea, Sally fallons cook book does this when her recipes call for using chicken stock, and at the bottom it shows it having variations like duck broth or turkey broth.
And then comes the problem of which batch becomes the ‘normal’ one, and which the ‘variation’? Most people these days are in isolated houses, just cooking for themselves, a couple, or a small family, but maybe in the future there will be more community meals and more large households.
Is there any chance you would be willing to create a survey and try and get a clear answer to this from your peers. i would fill it out.
i live with my partner and we would normally cook a recipe for 4 and would easily have left overs for one more person.
I am trying to be helpful to all kinds of household sizes, and also to not limit my audience, but I also don’t want the book to be annoying to use. I am beginning to understand why many cookbooks are doing a generic “serves 4” version of every recipe! It would definitely make the cookbook creation process easier, but it also makes cooking more difficult for me and other larger households, because we end up having to make calculations as we cook - it would be nice to be able to just give the book to a helper and show them the recipe, rather than having to say ‘triple the ingredients, cook the meat in batches, do this differently, do that differently, etc.’
I have a suggestion, is having the double batch or what have you in the back of the book an option. Say something like (if you are wanting to cook for 8 people please see page 465)Than you go to page 465 and it shows the ingredients without having the picture and all the rest of the info you would be filling in.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
John F Dean wrote:Concept wise, there was a cook book put out by Life Mag in the 50s. The format still fascinates me. First the was the bound book full of fantastic pictures, recipes, and stories. Then there was the second volume. It was a paper back work book version of volume 1with all of the recipes on punch out index cards.
Greg Martin wrote:For me, if it says permaculture on it then I'm looking for a heavy percentage of the recipes to contain ingredients from perennial plants. In order to help make the transition from annual ag to perennial edible landscapes we need many more great recipes to get everyone to crave changing over their landscape. Annuals are great too....but I have piles of cookbooks for that. I'm hunting for cookbooks that support perennials and I haven't found nearly as much as I think we need to have to support the cause.
Kate Downham wrote:
Fortunately animals can easily be fed on perennial polyculture, so including animal foods can increase the perennial-ness of the recipes.
I think this cookbook has a lot to do with permaculture as far as local homestead-produced foods goes, and I find my approach of minimum effort maximum results in the kitchen has similarities with lazy gardening permaculture, but I was reluctant to call it permaculture because I am cooking with lots of annual plants at this point in time.
Ronnell Rosenthal wrote:To your question about measurements; I'm American, and I personally would prefer to see recipe measurements using the metric system. It's far more precise, and particularly with baking, yields far better results. As a chef, I use grams as the primary unit when writing recipes.
Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Probably I am not the one to answer your question. I am not someone following recipes when cooking. Still I like to answer. I do like reading cookbooks and recipes. First my eyes get caught by the illustrations. Most important is good photography, photos that make you want to start making that recipe, or eating that dish. In the past cookbooks used to have nice drawings too, now not so much anymore.
I like it when the recipe is clear; starting with the ingredients, neatly listed. I do not like it when a recipe is written like a story, or even like poetry. It has to explain what the cook has to do, nothing more ... but also nothing less. If there's a story to tell, it can be told at the end, after the recipe is finished. This is my opinion.