“When so many recipes are available on the internet, recipes alone don’t make a cookbook,” wrote Holly Hughes, editor of the Best American Food Writing series, explaining that she’s looking for other material that sets a cookbook apart. “I’m focused on the words, not the photos, beautiful as they may be, and the quality of the prose, not the authenticity or originality of the recipes.”
Hughes’ quote comes from a handout provided by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) at their annual conference last week. (As an aside, I highly recommend this conference to both build skills and network with other writers.)
I didn’t attend “A Dash of Cookbook Writing,” the panel in which Hughes spoke, but this handout got me thinking about the role of voice in cookbooks, and – to take it one step further – what actually makes us buy cookbooks today.