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May 18, 2008



Cookbook design is super-important, so I don't think you're wrong to care so much about it.

Reading a cookbook is all about feeding your imagination, really. You want to see appetizing pictures and parse the narrative of the dish, even if it's just a straight recipe, before you can make the leap to preparing it yourself. If you're distracted by a jumbled design and poor pictures, you're much less likely to make that leap.

Baking Soda

I think you're right Lindy, I own a cookbook on which the designers have gone crazy, typeface, index, all designed to shout: hey, we're sooo today. Recipes are great, pics are very clean but yummy, still it's easy to overlook that.

Wine Blog

What a colorfull and fun stir fry!


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Recipe sounds good, your photo appealing. I want to try it once I gather ingredients. For now I have filed recipe under Food 2.0 simple stir fry. Does the recipe have a title in the book? I suspect this stir fry works well because of its classic cooking sauce -- garlic, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, palm sugar (some stir fry recipes forget this simple but powerful touch), and sesame oil (the final kiss). As to there being no index, perhaps this too was due to the copy being an ARC. If not, hopefully your comments will bring about that needed addition.


Finally got my answer from the published book. This recipe's title is Ho Chi Minh Chicken and Shrimp (the duck isn't mentioned; poor duckie, must have gotten red-inked). The final cookbook does have an index and is madly colorful, a little too much so for my browsing comfort. While most of the recipes are on a white background, a number are on colored pages. I find those hard to read, and would ban the practice in cookbook publications if I could. A good many color photos of recipes, not inspired, but they do get up close and show us how the dish looks. Though there is some wild and crazy in the final layout, most of it is mercifully confined to non-recipe pages. The recipes, almost 100 of them, do indeed look interesting. I too doubt that curiosity would have had me pulling this book off a bookstore rack, but now that I have looked it over, I am delighted to know about it. Despite the noisiness remaining in the layout, I think it's a cookbook worth some attention.

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