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Get it done. .

26 Aug

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My first cookbook came out in 2004. Since then I’ve written one more (Passover)  plus some new recipes for the second addition of Soup-A Kosher Collection.  But in in addition to the books, I’ve developed lots and lots of recipes for newspapers, magazines, my blog and recipes that haven’t been published anywhere but I use all the time at home or at work (Desserts Plus ).

I’ve been talking about the next cookbook for ages,  but life keeps delaying things.  So the other day I  decided that enough was enough. It’s time to just get it done.  I opened the program where I store most of my recipes and printed them off, organized and categorized them.

It’s going to take time to get even one done, but I have a lot of great recipes to work from for a number of books.

Between working 10+ hours a day,  the holidays fast approaching and trying to sell my condo and hopefully move,  there isn’t a lot of extra time to work on recipes,  but just know that I am.

So many people have asked me when the next book will be available.  I don’t know for sure, but I do know that I’m committing to squeezing out time to test and test and test and get the next one out there. And then the next! 

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What a week!

17 Dec

Happy Chanukah! I can’t believe the holiday is almost over and I haven’t posted anything. It’s been a crazy, exciting week, so maybe it’s not that surprising.

On Monday, the files for Passover a Kosher Collection were due at the printer, so every spare moment leading up to Monday was spent proofing and worrying and making small changes here and there. We’ve had some problems with colour management — the colours as they appear on my monitor are not the same as the colours as they print on my laser printer, which are different from the colours that print on my ink jet, which are different from the colours on the proofs from my printer (which, btw, are different depending on which printer they use – high resolution proofs versus lower resolution proofs). So I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking colours.

I knew I’d be receiving a proof of the book soon, but I wasn’t expecting it until next week. It arrived this morning! It is extremely cool to see it printed in a way that’s close to what the actual book will look like. There are a few issues — the images in the book were printed using a low-resolution printer, so the colours are still off. I’m now waiting for them to send me some copies of the pictures done with the high resolution printer. Some of the words on the cover are the wrong colours — it’s not bad as it is, but it’s not how it was designed. And the whole thing has to be proofed one more time.

The thing is, it was really exciting when it came today. It looks like a book. Obviously it was designed to look like a book, but it’s really different when it shows up on the right size paper with the pictures in the right place and looking like a book.

When the Soup book was printed, I didn’t see it until I was in a town car in Toronto at 5 AM on my way to do my first live TV demo. I wasn’t involved in the pictures and the design — my work was done after all the edits were made. This experience is completely different. I’ve been involved from start to finish and it’s amazing to see it at this point.

Enough of my excited rambling, here’s a picture of the proof on my desk:

Editing and Pictures

24 Nov

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent all my free time editing and working on photos. I mean all my free time — plus a lot of time at work, where I’ve been hiding out in my office trying to get stuff done.

I keep telling myself that I just have to get this one section done, then I’ll have some free time. Ha! What I meant is that I have to get this section done so I can get to the next one.

Anyway . . . I decided to take the pictures myself for this book. By myself, I mean with the help of my mother and sister. Lisa (the sister) helped by building the ‘studio’ for me. We got some lumber and a roll of backdrop paper, and ended up with this ‘photo studio’.

It worked well, and while I cooked and cooked and cooked, Mom and Lisa took turns as stylists/photographers (though I couldn’t help but take a couple of pictures of each dish myself — can we say control freak?). Every Sunday for a month or so, I’d prep 6-8 recipes and we’d snap dozens of pictures.

There will be 16 colour pages in the book (for those of you who have Soup, it will be the same) and we took over 1200 pictures. Do you know how long it takes to go through 1200 pictures? A long time. But I’ve eliminated close to 1000, and now I’m trying to choose the best out of the ones that are left.

The pictures are getting done in between editing the book. So far I’ve had three people (and me) editing and proofing. We’re on edit #4 now, and we keep finding things to change. We’re in the middle of this round, and I think it will take just one more. I hope.

Next up: formatting.

The next step . . . and measurment problems.

16 Oct

It’s been a busy month. The holidays kept coming and there wasn’t much time to work on the book. Holiday season starts a couple of weeks before Rosh Hashana and (this year) ended with Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. Each weekend was another holiday and it kept us hopping at the store.

Between holidays, I managed to squeak out enough time to finish testing all of the recipes. I even put everything together in a (really large) Word file. So we’ve moved on to the next step. Right now I have a couple of family members reading through the book doing a basic edit — the first of many. I’m spending my time working on some formatting and photos.

I’m trying to work out what to do with the formatting. When my first book was published I sent in the manuscript for the first round of edits and got a note back that all of the weight measurements needed to be converted to volumes. It’s not uncommon for North American publishers to say no to weights and insist on volumes — in fact, there’s a great discussion topic on this subject over at the eG Forums (click). You’ll see that many of the posts on this topic are strongly pro weight measurements.

Some of the arguments publishers give for going with volume are that most home cooks don’t have scales in their kitchens and that the North American public doesn’t want weights. I’d say the truth about what the public wants lies somewhere in the middle. Many cooks like to use weights because the results are more consistent. Many home cooks use volume. So I’m trying to include both.

The next question is metric vs. Imperial measurements. I plan on including both. The question is how do you include all of that information in a way that’s still easy to read and understand? It’s a lot of numbers to include for each ingredient and I’m trying to figure out the best way to present it.

Do you have a preference?