When I was young, my mum subscribed to the Time Life Foods of the World series – a new cookbook would arrive every six weeks or so. I’d pore over the book and accompanying spiral-bound recipe booklet, imagining what new recipes we could make. We would hunt for the “exotic” ingredients now commonly found in grocery stores – hoisin sauce, filo pastry (we watched it being made by hand), pomegranate syrup, tahini. We made the gingerbread house on the cover of the Cooking of Germany cookbook, Scandinavian gravlax, cabbage rolls from American Melting Pot, and other delicious recipes – many, I still use today.
Those early experiences fostered my love of cooking, reading and design. I’m working on a new cookbook – all about cooking with herbs – for Fitzhenry & Whiteside. There are many considerations when designing a cookbook – fonts, colours, photos and illustrations, how the book will be used, how to list the ingredients, what type of fractions to use, and where to put the serving size … just for a start.
Designing and laying out cookbooks is finicky and demanding – ah, but at least I can drool over the recipes while I’m working.