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The Cooks Palate Blog

Entries in cookbook (5)


Is self-publishing a cookbook right for you?

It seems many folks cannot imagine how the process of making a cookbook actually works and what is involved.  I think when the process is broken down you will be able to envision it and see that anyone can make a cookbook with the right manuscript creation tools and a little planning.

Most anyone who wants to write a cookbook knows who the target audience is.  It is either for the family, a fund raiser or as income to the author.  However, what most people don’t know is that one type of book doesn’t preclude another.  You can prepare a cookbook as a soft cover, black and white book and sell it through Amazon and bookstores for free.  You can then use the same cookbook manuscript file to make a full color, hard cover coffee table version for your family and friends at no additional cost.  It is very cost effective to repurpose a book manuscript in multiple printed formats: hard cover, soft cover, wire bound, Black and -white, mixed color, full color, eBook, etc.  You can have an ISBN or not depending on your distribution goals.

Once you decide which recipes would be most appropriate for your audience, the rest of the process just follows along.  You can add or delete recipes at any time until you actually print the book, so don’t worry about being accurate and comprehensive in your recipe selection starting out.  Enter the recipes in a software program like the Cook’s Palate.  You can enter them without regard to where they will end up in the book.  The Cooks Palate automatically scales recipes for the proper number of servings and analyzes nutrition as desired.  Since it takes between 10-15 minutes to enter a recipe you can estimate how long it will take to enter all recipes for the book.  For example to enter 100 recipes at 15 minutes each you can enter 4 recipes in 1 hour.  In this case, it will take (100/4=25) 25 hours or less for each 100 recipes. 

Now, to organize the chapter sections of your cookbook, enter a chapter name and add recipes to it. Once recipes are associated with chapters, you can import the draft manuscript from The Cooks Palate into The Publisher, which is basically an editor like MS Word.  This is where you prepare the pysical layout of the manuscript. 

In the Publisher, you use templates to design the layout for the intended output formats:  hard cover, soft cover, wire bound, black and white, full color, e-Book etc.  You select a physical size, common cookbook page types that you want to include (Index, Table of Contents, Forward, Acknowledgements, etc).  You can insert images and an index which is automatically built from your manuscript design.  pictures. You can also include any stories that you want, such as family history, background of the recipe, how the diet works, etc.  Once teh manuscript is completed, you can export the manuscript file and submit it to us for printing.  We will choose the right printer for the right book format for you.  Our printers include, among others, Amazon and Ingram the two most prominent printers, and all specialize in library quality books.

A self-published cookbook is within reach of anyone motivated enough to write one.  Wouldn’t a family cookbook make a great Christmas present in 2012?


Family Cookbooks Make Great Holiday Gifts


I know it is early September.  I know it is still summer.  I know it is hot outside.  But the kids are back in school, and before you know it, we will be in the holiday season.  Time to consider a great family gift - a family cookbook.  Now is the perfect time to get started.   To many people making a cookbook seems like an insurmountable task.  Here are some thoughts on getting started.

With the Cook’s Palate software you can enter recipes without regard to where they will end up in the finished cookbook.  To get a feel for the scope of the project, you can estimate that it will take 10-15 minutes to enter each recipe.  So if you have about 200 recipes, it will take about 50 total hours to get the recipes entered.  To see how long it will take, divide the number of recipes by four and to estimate the recipe entry time.  When the recipes are entered,  it takes just a few minutes to organize the cookbook.  Just enter the name of your first chapter and select all of the recipes for that chapter.  The Cooks Palate organizes and alphabetizes the chapter automatically.  Repeat for each chapter.

Once the recipes are entered and organized in chapters, you can move on to the Publisher software to prepare a manuscript suitable for printing.  In the Publisher set-up section, simply choose things like the size, binding type, cover, and the basic fonts and layout for the recipes in the cookbook.  Select from 15 professionally designed page templates to insert pages such as chapter pages, a table of contents, a forward section or an order page.  These pages are inserted in the book and can be edited to customize your book.  The Publisher even creates an index that cross references recipes by main ingredient or meal type or any other key word you choose.

With the book content complete, now you can do the fun stuff.  To add pictures of recipes or decorative artwork, just click your curser where you want the picture to be inserted.  You can then move it, or re-size it.  To edit fonts, colors and styles you can make the change you want in one recipe and, if you like, apply the change to all recipes automatically.  

When you have formatted the manuscript he way you want it, you can upload the file to us for printing.  Depending on the type of book, printing can take from 10 days to about 3 weeks.  If you are planning on creating a holiday cookbook, you should submit your manuscript before Thanksgiving to meet your deadline.


During asparagus season, "Members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hat stand" - Reputed British Mens Club Sign

Some years ago I attended the annual IACP conference in Dallas, Texas.  There were many interesting and informative venues presented, but the one I found most fascinating was a panel discussion that was promoted to represent many culinary science topics, but ended up being dominated by a strange phenomenon amusingly called "asparagus pee."  It started with the first question to the panel from the audience.  A lady was given the microphone and allowed to ask the first question.  She hemmed and hawed and couldn’t seem to produce a coherent question.  Finally. panelist Shirley Corriher stood up and in a loud voice said “oh, you want to know about asparagus pee”.  It brought the house down.  I thought these staid culinary professionals would be put off by the subject, but boy was I wrong.  Everyone seemed to sit forward in their seat and the subject dominated the entire discussion period.

Though the chemical that causes asparagus pee is now known there is still a great deal of confusion about who actually produces smelly pee after consuming it and who can actually smell it.  It's an either/or option.  The story we got from the IACP conference was that there are two genes involved.  One gene is unique to the producer and a different gene is unique to the fortunate soul who can smell it.

No one knows exactly what percent of people produce it, but it is estimated to be about 10%.  The number who can smell it is estimated to be about 20%.  To me the most interesting question is how did they find each other?  I can think of many scenarios that would make discovery possible, but the mystery continues. 

Which gene do you have?


Cookbook Writing Made Easy

  Download the Recipe of the Week: Mexican Beef StewIt  is unfortunate that many cooks enter recipes in The Cook’s Palate, but don’t realize they can create an instant cookbook manuscript merely by importing their Cooks Palate cookbook into our Publisher software.   Since The Publisher has professionally designed manuscript layout templates, authors can populate a template with 1 mouse click when importing cookbooks.  It also automatically assigns chapters and creates a cross referenced index from the imported cookbook file.
Writing a cookbook is easy when you use the right tools.  Beyond the basic manuscript template, The Publisher has templates for most types of pages that you might want to include, such as a foreword, acknowledgement, table of contents, introduction and many more, based on your selections in the import wizard.  If you want a section that we don’t have a template for, no problem.  Just enter a page break to get a blank page, and type away.  We see this a lot in family heirloom cookbooks, which are a combination of family history and recipes.
One unique feature of The Publisher, is it’s ability to globally edit entries.   If you don’t like the font type or size for the instruction paragraph, for example, you can change it with 1 click and it will automatically be changed in all of the other recipes.  Pretty cool.  This capability is available for any section of a recipe or page.  You can add images of any type to any page.  Simply place your cursor where you want the image to go and import the image, or move it around until you get it where you want it. 
With this kind of manuscript creation automation, writing a cookbook is a breeze.  The project becomes more and about creativity, than labor.  Your preliminary draft will be complete within the 1st hour.
Most authors don't realize that because the manuscript is in The Publisher, the same source data for the book can be re-purposed in multiple cookbook formats.  With print-on-demand books, you can order small quantities in multiple sizes and formats.  The same file can produce a practical spiral bound cookbook which lays flat on the counter or a hard cover bound coffee table book. Or, why not both?  Tell us which would you prefer?



How To Start Writing Your Cookbook

Download No Knead Bread Recipe

Many cooks would like to write a cookbook, but they can’t visualize doing it.  The project seems overwhelming.  In the next few postings we will outline a “how to” process for you.  Today we will concentrate on getting organized.  I think when you understand the process, most of the barriers to getting started will fall away.

To start, we assume you are using The Cooks Palate software or another recipe database program to begin writing our cookbook.  Word processing programs are not recommended for recipe data entry because they are text editors and the recipes cannot be scaled, calculated for nutrition or intelligently indexed or managed.     To get started, rather than trying to define the whole cookbook writing process, just start entering recipes into the recipe database.  The old writer’s adage “write a page a day and pretty soon you’ll have a book” applies here.  After all, that’s what your cookbook is, a collection of your recipes.  You can worry about chapters, indexing, images, layout etc. later. 

You can enter your recipes without regard to where they will be placed in the book or how many they will serve.  You can estimate that recipe entry will take between 10 and 15 minutes each.  Once you have entered your recipes, organizing the cookbook is simple.  You just select your first chapter name, (appetizers, first course, etc.) and then click on the recipes that you want to add to that chapter.  The Cook’s Palate puts them in the chapter and alphabetizes them.  Do that for each chapter and your basic cookbook will be complete.

In the next few postings we will show you how to, when writing your cookbook, customize your basic cookbook by scaling recipes and adding keywords for the index.  We will also show you how to create the layout of the book manuscript with images, artwork and commentary for print.  You will be able to choose between physical formats such as a spiral bound book, a soft cover book and even a full color, hard cover, dust jacketed, coffee table book.  All of these styles are library quality books that can be sold in bookstores, used in fundraises or as family cookbooks. 

What questions do you have about your "writing a cookbook" project?