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gfron1

The making of my own cookbook

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Today's unexpected surprise - fonts!

 

Back in the days I did a lot of graphic design and remember the days of buying 1000 fonts for $80.  My designer's initial layout had a font that was really beautiful and I complimented him on it.  He said, yeah, its $600 but I think its worth it.  $600!!!!!  Holy crap!  Unexpected expense but we've said that we want award winning design.  And as my designer responded to me, "I can go eat at your restaurant or spend a buck at Taco Bell.  There's a difference."

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This is interesting reading, gfron1. Thanks for taking the time to keep us posted.

$600 for a single font? Who knew?  :blink:


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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That is a beautiful photo. Honey mesquite, is it? Are those glazes in the pottery supporting the pods, or some interesting sauces?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The mesquite wood (branches and stem of the bush) is the smoke we all know.  The beans/pods come out in late spring and depending on elevation get harvested in late May through about now.  For milling, current thought is you pick them the 3rd week of May, dry them and grind them before monsoon season starts...traditionally around 4th of July (all elevation dependent).  I don't mill mine.  I make syrups, tinctures, teas, etc....all steepings, so I want the second wave of pods which I find to be a nicer sweetness.  

 

The dishes are from a local artist and the colors are her finish glazes.  They were used here just for color background. I want pics of raw ingredients and then finished dishes using the raw ingredients...so this is the before.

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Huh.  I learn so much here.  I thought mesquite was just a wood to smoke with.  But, these are beans from the plant (bush?).  

 

I know they use mesquite to make flour in southern Arizona, but I'm wondering if gfron1 does more than that with the pods. 

 

Edited to add: I was writing while the answer was being posted!


Edited by FauxPas (log)
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Pods can be harvested at all sorts of times depending on the use.  These were for my personal snacking.  If I were grinding I would have waited, but as I said, in these parts the CW is now to harvest in May if you're going to grind.  

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Just gets better.  She told me that's she's worked on numerous JBF nominated books before, and fun twist of fate, that last book that she worked on at John Wiley with my spouse (graphic design) was Wine for Dummies which got nominated and so that means my spouse got a JBF nomination years before I ever did!  How fun!

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My current energy is focused on coordinating submission to the editor.  I want to send it to her as I'm done but that's not useful, so I'm gathering all the material up and hoping that she can unscramble it in a useful way.  In a novel you have chapter one and chapter ten.  Easy.  In a cookbook, you have recipes that can move around in some cases, narrative boxes (techniques, stories) that can float, and longer essays which again can float.  Maybe that's something the editor does - puts them in order.  We'll find out soon.

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I had a good weekend working on recipes.  One thing that came up is that my recipes can be down-home or fancy.  For example I just finished my peanut butter pie recipe.  I mostly make them into pies for the restaurant, but sometimes for dinner I'll mold and freeze them to use in a plate dessert.  Not to mention for my personal use I just pipe them into a parfait cup.  Not sure what to have my photographer capture - probably the plated but its such a simple recipe that I don't want home cooks to be afraid of it.

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That's the kind of information that might make a nice note to accompany the recipe. Or have the photo include two different finished products to emphasize the versatility of the recipe. I love stuff like that in a cookbook! 

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That's the kind of information that might make a nice note to accompany the recipe. Or have the photo include two different finished products to emphasize the versatility of the recipe. I love stuff like that in a cookbook!

I agree with FauxPas that it's good information to include. If the scale isn't right to have 2 dishes in the same photo, maybe you could have 2 photos - in different places (upper left from recipe, and facing page, for example) or have the home version inset on a different scale into the restaurant-plated version.

We'll be happy to provide ideas that raise the production cost! :-D

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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If this is the same peanut butter pie you were on a mission to perfect a few years ago, there's going to be some real happy peanut butter lovers when they get the book. I still have what was the final version at that time saved and it still gets used.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Interesting  morning this is turning out to be.  A friend above suggested that I reach out on Facebook's Cookbook Friends, which I was afraid to do for fear of looking like an idiot.  But I did it anyway this morning and am blown away at the generosity of advice.  On the side I have also now been contacted by three publishers and one agent...crazy!  I won't even look at them til the dust settles so I have better perspective but its very fun!

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I don't know if you've seen this interview with David Lebovitz, but I thought that it was particularly instructive given the nature of your project.

It's definitely something I'll be keeping in mind the next time I go buy a cookbook...AND I am really picky, on top of that.

Q: "What do you look for in a cookbook?"

A: "Unlike a lot of people, I don't need a lot of pictures. People seem to be hysterical about lots of photos in cookbooks these days. One reason that that's not really a priority for me is that a number of books with a lot of pretty pictures have been styled by food stylists, and often bear little resemblance to the finished dish. So what's the point?

"I like to read recipes that have the author's voice in them. That's what distinguishes them nowadays. There are a gazillion recipes for roast chicken and Oreo-stuffed red velvet cupcakes in books and online. But I want to know why the author makes the dish (well, except maybe the Oreo-stuffed red velvet cupcakes...), how they came about making them, and I want to hear (or read) the author's voice speaking to me as I make the recipe.

"A cookbook should have a reason to exist. I'm interested in the story of the book and the author. Why did they write this book? What is their unique perspective on the topic? What are they bringing to the subject that's new, interesting, or relevant? What makes this person special? I want to hear the author's voice when I read a cookbook."

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/david-lebovitz-interview-best-cookbooks-dessert-writing-lesser-known-books-for-bakers.html

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I did see that.  I disagree with his opinion on photos but his other two points were great reminders.  Our book will have lots of photos because images are part of telling the story and I just happen to have an amazing photographer.

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I'm really excited to share some page samples with you my friends here.  My designer came up with a cover art design that I love, and I'll be submitting my completed text for the first of three sections in just a bit.  I am a bit concerned about recipe quantity.  I originally wanted 75-100 recipes, but I'm now looking far short of that because so many recipes are recipes within recipes.  My biggest problem is that for the past 6-7 years I've not recorded what I've done - I cook by season and by forage, so there was no documentation going on.  Wish I had handled that differently

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Today we had another photoshoot.  Went very smoothly.  I learned that the images weren't obvious to anyone but myself, so fortunately we are storing all images and text in DropBox for shared access among the team, so I had to go in and rename everything to make it obvious to the designer so he could use them.  

 

My other thought today is man oh man I wish I had been keeping written recipes longer.  I mostly cook by instinct, and now I just feel like there's not enough recipes.  I wonder if anyone ever says, "I have plenty," and it turns out to be true.  So tomorrow I'm going to dig back through old pics and online reviews to jog my memory.  Its a downside to cooking based on what you find in the wilderness...changes constantly.

 

Also, awaiting my first round of edits from our editor - she has 1/3 of the book in her hands right now.  The longer she takes the more nervous I get.

 

Here's a B Roll pic

FullBag.jpg

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