Many of the following points may not be new to you food bloggers, as you write recipes almost daily and make them available to your readership. At first I thought that I didn’t have to worry too much about the structure of the recipe description, until I realized that the individual recipes are quite different and do not always follow a common thread. Making and printing your own cookbook is easy when you have ‘printers for black and white photos‘ as it is cheaper than most printers nowadays.
On a blog, this is not so bad if you deviate from the pattern here and there and also bring some fresh air to your posts. Nevertheless, I always try to build certain parts the same way. Writing a cookbook is something else.
- You have limited space and can’t run a recipe over multiple pages – that makes reading difficult. Cookbooks are, after all, workbooks that are supposed to act as a guide.
- A book page is designed as a template – as a template. There will be several templates in the book for displaying recipes, but they will have all the limits: limiting the number and size of images, limiting the number of characters for ingredient lists, introductions and descriptions, and for captions and tips.
- In the book, the text should be easy to read. Everyone knows the situation: one stands with the book in the kitchen and after the first steps desperately searches for the place where one must read further in the description. A small font, small line spacing and confusingly long texts frustrate.
So your recipes in the book should have the following elements:
- A recipe title
- An introduction
- Indication of the number of people that can be served with the recipe
- A list of ingredients
- A task description
- A picture, possibly a caption
- Relevant glossary terms
THE RECIPE TITLE
- Concise and precise. The title should not be too short but not too short, but nevertheless make curious. The title sells the recipe and fuels expectations. Example: “Saltim Bocca from the scallop on porcini risotto” and not “Jacob mussels with risotto”.
- Trivialization should be avoided as these elements say nothing about the recipe. Example: “Uwe’s super delicious yummy-yummy Big Bang Burger”.
- Uniform language style. Do not switch between recipes between ultra-short two-word information and more detailed descriptions. Either I always try to write titles like “Cordon Bleu” or “Stuffed butterfly schnitzel in a breadcrumb coat”.
- Don’t laugh. No, don’t laugh. If there is no more than one precise sentence to say about a recipe, then do not artificially inflate.
- Sell the recipe. The introduction should describe what makes up the recipe. Why you absolutely need to recook it. Or why I think it is appropriate for the recipe to be in this book.
- Essential information should be provided. So if certain unusual utensils or ingredients are needed, you should mention this right at the beginning and show alternatives if necessary. The book is inspiration, guidance and solution in personal union.
THE INGREDIENTS LIST
- The correct order. All ingredients should be listed in the order in which they are used and used.
- Preparations and sub-recipes. It makes sense to list sub-recipes – such as the ingredients list for a vinaigrette – separately in the ingredients list.
- Use meaningful units of measurement. Example: A small onion. 1-2 cm ginger.
- Do not use unusual units of measurement. Stay stringent.
THE TASK DESCRIPTION
- In a brief, i.e. Do not use debauchery descriptions, but also no telegram style.
- Separate the work steps by paragraphs. Provides better readability and discoverability of the next step.
- Stringency. Always use the same terms for certain work steps or utensils. Example: Either talk of “cream” or “sweet cream”. For this purpose, a list should be created against which the finished texts can be tested later (this can also be done automatically by a small script).
- Keep the order. The task description should have a logical flow that takes into account all temporal components.
- Descriptive language. Adjectives, examples and illustrative tips help to succeed the recipe. Example: Do not write “Bake at 180°C 10 minutes” but “Bake at 180°C approx. 10min until the biscuits are golden brown.”