Writing A Cookbook, Phase 1: Props and Recipe Development

Here I am, a couple of months into writing and photographing my first cookbook. It still seems so surreal but it's been a pretty great ride so far and for the most part, I've really enjoyed the process. I've really been loving the recipes that I've developed so far and I'm feeling like I'm meeting the goals of my book - to introduce people to creative and new uses for superfoods, delivered in the easiest, most approachable and humblest of ways - the sandwich.

Linens, towels and napkins for the book

Linens, towels and napkins for the book

Since this book world is a new one to me, there are many things that I didn't expect, or rather I should say I didn't think about prior to getting into all of this. First, I didn't expect it to take so much time. I know that sounds naive but in all of the cookbooks that I've ever owned or read, I just tend to focus on the end product- the photos, the writing and the recipes. I've never really given much thought to all of the hours of work that go into it, all of those shots, words and development, and I now have a totally different thought process and a whole new level of admiration when I look at cookbooks. Writing out all of the recipes has taken the longest for me and it's a tough process, trying to be as concise as possible and making sure it's easy to understand and follow. 

Recipe development has been the most fun, I love the process of selecting ingredients and challenging myself to think about things differently and make some creative recipes. It can be a bit daunting and frustrating at times, especially when something doesn't work the way I want it to on the first, second or tenth time I make it. But that's the process and I want to get everything just right, and, lucky for me, I've got a very patient and encouraging husband. Not to mention, there's an amazing satisfaction that I get once I've got a recipe right where I want it to be. 

Plates of all sizes and colors

Plates of all sizes and colors

The second most fun part has been picking out props for the book. I want the colors to be vibrant and really pop and I want this to be a happy book and one that's approachable and inviting. I want color to be present and I want each photo to feel unique. That means I spend a lot of time at places like Home Goods, Marshall's and perusing different online websites for unique plates, placemats, tablecloths and napkins. Most importantly to me, once I finally send it all to my publisher, I want to feel so damn proud of what I've just done that I can't stand it. I've got the bar set high and I'm ready to tackle it, armed with a table full of colorful plates, linens and other assorted kitchen tools. 

Cutting boards, planks and backgrounds 

Cutting boards, planks and backgrounds 

As it stands now, the book is going to be divided into sections; superfood breads, superfood condiments and then there are spotlight recipes on certain superfoods and incorporating them into sandwiches. There will be at least 100 recipes and around 50 photos. Last week I had a conference call with my oh so amazing editor and I got to see the book starting to get laid out, page by page. It's the start of things slowly coming together and I think for the first time it hit me that I am actually doing this! It's an incredibly exciting process and I'll be sharing it with you, but for now, I'm working on some superfood bread recipes, the kitchen looks like a flour bomb went off but the house is filled with the aroma of fresh bread. Not a bad day.