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gfron1

The making of my own cookbook

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I still don't know what "spread organically" means.

 

Regarding substitutions, comments, etc: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/149466-what-is-most-important-in-a-cookbook/?p=1986537#entry1986537

 

The recipe with the cured eggs reads pretty "densely" to me.  The butterscotch pie one reads better.

 

I have to agree with Crepes' comment above - the ingredients seem esoteric (haha, I should speak) and the assembly pretty involved.  If, as you say, you are aiming at the advanced cook then be conscious that you will not have a wide readership.  Perhaps the academic press you are angling for is indeed the proper publisher.

 

BTW, out of curiosity - what is it about cattails and cattail ash that makes it remarkable, or makes it the desired ingredient in a dish, over and beyond anything else?

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I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that spreading organically means 'freeform' vs spread carefully 1/4 inch thick with an offset spatula taking care that the entire surface is smooth as glass.  

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BTW, out of curiosity - what is it about cattails and cattail ash that makes it remarkable, or makes it the desired ingredient in a dish, over and beyond anything else?

I'll expand that question to the larger list of ingredients represented in the book.  Whether we're talking cattails, acorns, sumac, yucca, agave. algerita...etc., each has a unique flavor and texture that are simply unknown to most people. I'm focusing on the most accessible of the foraged items, but hoping to introduce folks to ingredients that are available, but mostly likely not used. And more importantly, most books in the US that have foraged foods are much too homestyle - yes, there is Manressa and a few others but then the focus isn't on foraged items - they are secondary.

Specifically, cattail has a great cucumber-like flavor that is big moisture.  Its a very versatile ingredient. The ash, like most ashes, tastes like...yes, ash, but they all have their own uniqueness that can be teased out, which is something I try to do by talking about different treatments. A great example is 4-wing salt bush which I use in place of salt throughout much of the year in my restaurant.

 

BTW, you want to know what gets me even more excited - hackberries!  I think they're one of the most perfect foraged flavors. Its like a date dancing on your tongue.

 

Hope that answers your question.  And, thanks again for these comments - so helpful!


Edited by gfron1 (log)
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I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that spreading organically means 'freeform' vs spread carefully 1/4 inch thick with an offset spatula taking care that the entire surface is smooth as glass.  

 

I think it means spreading with your licked thumb.

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Another interesting day. We're exploring relationships with publishers. Today I spoke with a small, but growing publisher. The model of my team doing all of the work (photography, design, edit) is not normal - we knew this - and it makes it more difficult for a publisher because their financial model is based on them doing much of that work.  In a traditional model she said that the royalties would typically be 12-16% but she would have to re-calculate.  Quick math runs through my head - if I sell one book at $35 I would make $5.25...split evenly among my 3 other partners equals $1.31 per book. Sell 1000 books (low end estimate) and I make $1,310. Sell 5000 books (realistic estimate) and I make $6,550.  Keeping perspective that really our team would make $26,200. 

 

She said our percentage would be higher but she has to figure out what that might look like.

 

When we were only looking self-publishing I was able to think in terms of per book profits in the $20 range after printing and distribution. The appeal of using a publisher, no matter how small, is that they have established printers and distributors, as well as some form of marketing. The exciting thing about this conversation, however, was that they had in vain been looking for a premier cookbook for next Fall and she felt it was a good fit. I'm cautious because I would think other publishers would feel the same way, but the fit isn't too bad with this one.  

I also talked to her about how many recipes, how many pages, how many photos and we're in the ballpark for a 200 page book. My mind is a bit more at ease right now!

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Here's a post from Simple Bites about the blog author's experiences with writing a cookbook. I enjoyed the background she gave on developing the cover image. 

 

 

 

Brown Eggs & Jam Jars cookbook cover reveal!

Dear readers. If you forgot about that cookbook I told you over sixteen months ago that I was writing, I wouldn’t blame you one bit.

I imagine it has felt like radio silence since the announcement from your perspective, but believe me when I say I’ve been steadily pouring my heart and soul into the recipes, tutorials, sidebars, essays, headnotes, photographs and cover of Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. At this point there are decisions made nearly every day, heaps of emails, final edits galore, and lists like you wouldn’t believe.


Edited by FauxPas (log)
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One of the things I'm most looking forward to is showing folks how to use common foraged ingredients.  I spend quite a bit of time on green walnuts in the book.  Been swamped with restaurant life - had a JBF judge come through on Thursday and a huge dinner tonight that has been sold out for months.  I'm really, really hoping to get my recipes 100% complete by Monday so I can relax and start getting some sleep again.  The irony of it all is that since I started working on the book, my foraging hikes have gone down from 6 a week to 2 a week at best.  

NocinoGreenWalnuts.jpg

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Another great photo shoot yesterday. The publisher who is courting me asked only one question - is that enough recipes? Its the question I've been struggling with for months. On one hand I'm not a Michelin starred chef who can throw out a coffee table book that world would want to devour with only a handful of recipes and a slew of ponderings. On the other hand, I'm not trying to present "150 Great Cupcake Recipes for the Holidays." I'm somewhere in between. 

 

As I said up thread, I want this book to be 75% accessible and 25% inspiration. And I also recognize that some recipes are actually a set of 3 or 4 recipes. Many people say that 100 recipes is ideal, but this book is more than a set of recipes - its a collection of food, people and place, yet I need to keep a more universal interest than my local community. Just thoughts. I'm going to dig through my old blog and see what recipes are buried away, and I'll continue to add recipes as the foraging season changes.

 

This photo is my huitlacoche butternut soup with miso soil.

Bnut.jpg


Edited by gfron1 (log)
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Perhaps sidebars with potential modifications/upgrades to some recipes will bulk-up the book?

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gfron1, your food images are amazing ... both artistic and mouth-watering. Your personality comes through in your writing. Go with your gut about how many recipes to include - believe in this and sell that belief to your publisher. I would buy your book in a heartbeat.

 

Yes, perhaps the narrative needs a bit of honing in some places for clarity or to simplify so others can more easily replicate the recipes if they desire, but could that be mostly because you are some days just 'you' in the moment while writing, and other days trying too hard to be a 'cookbook author'? I like the 'you' moments best I think. I can almost 'see' you cooking when you write that way - and that intrigues me and makes me want to do the same.

 

I read cookbooks for inspiration, not recipes. I know many others who do that as well. What I think you are going to produce in the end is an inspirational book that captures the minds and stomachs of many - and gets them into foraging and inventing their own ways to use foraged ingredients. That is a very worthwhile venture.


Edited by Deryn (log)
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Is there going to be a separate glossary section, where you list the foraged ingredients, specifics on them, botanical info, geographical range, etc; followed by uses for each ingredient with references to where in the book they were used; plus ingredients that resemble them or are substitutes for them, how they differ, where these substitutes would be found (geographical range) etc?  This is distinct from a general index or a recipe index.  Such a section would certainly bulk up the book and would be (to me anyway) one of the most useful sections in the kind of book you are intending to publish.

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Today I submitted a proposal to an agent. I hate the idea of giving a percentage away - but I'm anxious to see what doors might open. I've also been talking about paper with my designer - he's leaning 100# matte stock. My designer wants 10x10, but the publisher who is courting us wants a more standard 8.5x10.  I don't know that I care either way, its a matter of fashion v. function. What do you all think?

PigHead.jpg

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10x10 seems more special...shows off the photos better...still fits in a bookcase.  I'd pay an extra few bucks for this.

 

It might even sell better in a bookstore or restaurant.

 

maybe

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10 by 10 sticks out awkwardly from a bookcase. This might not be a problem if you're the type to keep books on your coffee table, but if I tried to do that, the table would collapse under the weight.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Please have kindle edition as well.  I love printed books but kindle versions are so convenient and coffee table will be safe!

 

Your photos are amazing.

 

Can you elaborate a little on huitlachoche soup?  I have canned huitlacoche and looking for different ways to use it.

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Based on your screen name I assume I can give you the abbreviated version. 

 

Sweat a half of an onion. Add half cup of cuitlacoche. Add a cubed butternut and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 2 qt rabbit broth (or whatever broth) (or enough to cover plus an inch). Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Blender and sieve.  Salt to taste.

 

As with most of my recipes I like pure flavor hence no other seasoning. Wouldn't it be great if I could write all recipes like this ;)

 

No vouching for canned cuitlacoche - never used it.  I have used frozen and found it to be acceptable.

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Today I submitted a proposal to an agent. I hate the idea of giving a percentage away - but I'm anxious to see what doors might open. I've also been talking about paper with my designer - he's leaning 100# matte stock. My designer wants 10x10, but the publisher who is courting us wants a more standard 8.5x10.  I don't know that I care either way, its a matter of fashion v. function. What do you all think?

Nice piggy :)

 

I like the smaller size.  Easier to keep on my shelves.

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The VOLT Ink. cookbook (which I just flip through) is 10" x 11.5'' x 1.25".  Some that I have are even larger. 

 

The Epigram Heritage Series cookbooks I've referred to before (and which I often consult) are 5 1/8" x 9" x 3/8".  (They each also have 4 long separate-color "ribbons" attached from the spine for placing between pages.)

 

((((Shrug))))

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Based on your screen name I assume I can give you the abbreviated version. 

 

Sweat a half of an onion. Add half cup of cuitlacoche. Add a cubed butternut and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 2 qt rabbit broth (or whatever broth) (or enough to cover plus an inch). Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Blender and sieve.  Salt to taste.

 

As with most of my recipes I like pure flavor hence no other seasoning. Wouldn't it be great if I could write all recipes like this ;)

 

No vouching for canned cuitlacoche - never used it.  I have used frozen and found it to be acceptable.

Thanks.  I can not find huitlacoche in any other form, only canned. 

 

My screen name is somewhat (very) ambitiously inflated but I understand your short hand recipe perfectly well.  Will report on the results, may be it will help you with substitutions.

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