If you have lived for a while on this earth you will notice that there is very little new under the sun, with the exception of perhaps technology, which we're not talking about here. There are creative and interesting ways to use sugar, chocolate, spices and herbs in baking. There are fascinating ways to decorate cakes, cookies and all things sweet and edible. If you are a seasoned cook/baker you probably already know about this little jewel of a book, but if you are not this may be something you will want to look into. Originally written in 1997 by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane L.Baker The Recipe Writer's Handbook is something all bakers should have on their cookbook shelf. Why? Because one day you will be (perhaps not a "baby-boomer") but a generation "X" boomer or generation "Y" boomer and you will be passing on knowledge to the next generation of bakers. This sort of information is helpful.

This little book is designed to teach you to "think" your way through a recipe to make important decisions and trouble shoot problems concerning format, syntax, spelling, cooking terminology etc." Those who attended at professional culinary art program probably already know this, but trust and believe if you live long enough it will escape your memory.

You may not think you will, but one day you may want to put all your recipes to pen or in today's case "Word," and publish all those dynamic dishes that have made you famous or not so...famous. Publishers are always looking for ways to take a bigger piece of your pie, so this book can assist you in structuring your recipes in such a manner that publishers will think you had help...well you did it just didn't cost you an arm and a leg.

The more you know, the more you can deliver and you won't have to rely on the publisher finding culinary writers to "clean up" your recipes.

I have the old copy (original 1997) and plan of purchase the revised and expanded copy soon. The chapters in my copy are well written and the information is invaluable. Here's a hint of what's in the book (1997 version).

Chapter 1 The Philosophy of Recipe Writing
Chapter 2 Recipe Writing Style
Chapter 3 The Style Sheet
Chapter 4 Recipe Testing
Chapter 5 Cooking Terminology
Chapter 6 Preferred Spelling of Commonly Used Food Words
Chapter 7 Generic Terms for Brand Names and Trademarks
Chapter 8 Metrics
Chapter 9 Nutrition Analysis of Recipes
Chapter 10 Copyright, Plagiarism and the Ethics of Recipe Writing and more (15 Chapters in all).

The new revised book is on Amazon for under $10 (used) and I have emailed the authors to see if they might be revising it again (it's 2009). As I mention before if this is old news, no sweat, but for those baby bakers out there, just another resource for your baking arsenal.

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Comment by Denay Davis on February 25, 2009 at 8:34am
Hi Kelly,

It is my resource for writing articles, books all things dealing with food and recipes. Enjoy!
Comment by Kelly Lance on February 25, 2009 at 2:06am
Thanks for the heads up on the good book. I have been bothering my mentor to write a book soon and this just might come in really handy - I`m gonna look it up.



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