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Feb 7, 2009 07:49 PM

If you could write your own cookbook...[Moved from Home Cooking]

I am trying to brainstorm ideas for writing my own cookbook but it seems as though every subject has been done already. So...any ideas? What would you choose as a subject for a new cookbook that would blow people's minds? What type of cookbook does the world need right now?

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  1. Every subject has indeed been done already, many times over, but that doesn't mean the end of the cookbook industry. What do you do best? What is special about the way you make those things? What kind of cookbook would YOU buy from you?

    I buy books if the author is a chef I respect, if at least half of the recipes look like they are new and different or have an interesting twist on the classic version, if there are lots of pictures, if the layout doesn't annoy me, if it is on good discount at Amazon, etc. If it really is a rehash of everything I already know or have in other books and by someone I've never heard of, I can resist.

    1. Junk Food Vegetarian is my cookbook. A percentage of my best cooking is kinda in that territory: chili, burgers, a concoction I call Oobleck that totally wowed a professional chef (and the ingredients are embarrassingly very processed foods (which is all I'll say)). It probably wouldn't blow people's minds but I think it's kinda fun.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MplsM ary

        I'd buy it!!! I'm all about gourmet or ethnic foods made vegetarian (i.e. subbing tofu or mushrooms appropriate for the flavors, or just omitting the meat), but I def have made vegan "pork and beans," chili dogs, "chili cheeseburgers." lol. I normally hate meat substitutes, but there is a little fun in using them to create childhood memories.

      2. I love the idea of writing a cookbook, and I've had several ideas, but they've all been done. Over and over. And I know a publisher wouldn't provide me the photography budget that a proven author would get, so why bother?

        My latest idea: One-Ingredient Recipes. I've got a few recipes, but I probably will never get enough for a whole book. So y'all are welcome to swipe my idea and publish away. (Just thank me in the acknowledgements - that's all I ask...)


        P.S. If you're looking for serious ideas, take a look at to see what's selling the most. Pick the most cutting-edge trendy idea, and do that. You'll probably hit it big, especially if you write with passion and clarity!

        6 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          One ingredient recipes got my attention. Can you eleborate?

          1. re: serious

            I've managed to think of four one-ingredient recipes so far:

            Cheese crackers (grate hard cheese, put in small clumps on silpat, and bake)

            Crockpot "roasted" chicken (put a whole chicken in the crockpot for 8-9 hours - though herbs and S+P are recommended) Recipe/idea here: .

            Dulce de leche (boil a can of sweetened condensed milk - in or out of the can, depending on your beliefs)

            - Banana ice cream (peel and freeze a banana, then eat)

            Not quite enough for a cookbook, eh? If only I could think of 20-30 more, I'd have something. But I probably never will, so I offer these ideas up as starters for someone more creative than I.


              1. re: serious

                Well, in my imaginary cookbook, the butter and thyme and mustard would all count as ingredients. (I wouldn't count the salt and pepper, though.) But it does sound delicious!

                Oh, and another idea: pureed steamed veggies - snow peas or brocolli or cauliflower or green beans or whatever - as a side dish or soup (water doesn't count as an ingredient, either). Though a big dollop of cream and/or chicken broth is a big help ... ... ... ... ... maybe I should write a *two* ingredient cookbook!.


                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  When I make that chicken (a lot), I stop at the perfectly roasted thing and never get involved with thyme or mustartd.

          2. re: AnneInMpls

            For years I given the Three Ingredient Receipes, Four Ingredient Receipes and Five Ingredient Recipes books (along with some cash) as a High School graduation/going to college gift to all of my client's children.

            One ingredient

          3. I would like to write a book based on my great grandmother's recipes. I would need to adapt her recipes for a modern cook, (avoiding such icky things such as how to dress a squirrel), whilst keeping the items anyone today might eat (best yorkshie pudding ever).

            In this new depression, perhaps we really should start looking back to the economical foods that were once normal meals.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Ginsugirl

              How would you prepare squirrel without dressing it?

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Get some other redneck to do it for me!

                1. re: Ginsugirl

                  Ah kin do it fer yuh, but I haint no rednick.

              2. re: Ginsugirl

                I would think the recipes from you GM would be perfect if you did a couple of things. As you said, look back at economical foods. Show how she got by on shoe string budget. But what I think would be really great is a story about you and her as an introduction. Perhaps talking about how she would always make this recipe for this occasion. I can always remember her doing............. She used to tell that this dish was ............


              3. Most cookbooks have recipes with 2 ingredient list and the process integrating the ingredients into an edible concoction. What one rarely sees a list of the utensils one needs to prepare the concoction. Include such a list in your book.

                Two of my favorite cookbooks are geared to cooking without recipes. I'm a kitchen experimenter, not a cook, not a chef.

                Yesterday I made a frittata with reconstituted powdered egg whites, 2 whole eggs, ricotta, cubed Chedder cheese, left over broccoli, and some leftover pasta salad that contained drained canned tomatoes that I diced along with stuffed olives, ripe olives and capers. This frittata was made in an old-fashioned cast iron skillet. This concoction was started on a cooktop and ended up under the broiler to finish it. I learned long ago that it will not slide out of the skillet like an omelet, but must be divided into at least 4 slices and lifted out with a spatula.The resulting frittata was delicious beyond my wildest expectations.

                This is the kind of creative experimental cooking that I do. I have a personal motto about culinary creativity.

                "Cook like a peasant, dine like a gourmet."

                There are not many cookbooks out there that encourage this kind of culinary creativity.

                Good luck with your endeavor...I hope that you find your niche.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChiliDude

                  This is exactly how I learned to cook. Two things in the fridge that either needed to be eaten or I couldn't decide which to have. Combine them somehow. Just start concocting things. It was fun and I really learned a lot.

                  My personal favourite type of cookbook is the ATK/CI style books. They read almost like a text book. They explain what's going on. What they tried that worked and how they ended up with the recipe they ended up with. I would often think, "What if I substituted this for that??" Well they've thought of that and will tell you why they didn't use it.