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The Right Ingredients for a Winning Cookbook

All-Day Program

Full Day Lecture/Seminar

Saturday, May 21, 2016 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2844
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You want to document your family’s recipes, or help your church collect recipes from the congregation, or create a showcase for your own restaurant’s dishes, but you’re not sure how to begin. Cookbook author and writer Monica Bhide provides the ingredients for a good cookbook—and suggestions for starting to write one. She focuses on the main steps, from collecting recipes and developing your own, to writing tempting recipe backstories and compiling a cookbook. The last step, of course, is how to tempt people to buy your book when it’s done.

9:30 to 10:45 a.m.  The Vast World of Cookbooks

The many varieties of cookbooks: restaurant, single-ingredients, fund-raising, and personal cookbooks, among others. What a good cookbook includes, from recipes, stories, and history to tips and technique sections.

11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  The Nuts and Bolts

The art of writing recipes. Testing recipes, and why head-notes can make or break a recipe. Finding a good food photographer or how to take your own photos. Free or fee-based stock photography and where to find it.

12:15 to 1:30 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own) 

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.  Publishing Your Cookbook           

The pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. How to write proposals and find agents. Cookbook editors: Why we need them and what they do.

3 to 4:30 p.m.  A Discussion with the Experts

In a question-and-answer session, noted cookbook authors share insights and experiences, and discuss the practical considerations, challenges, and components of cookbook writing.

The panelists are: Joan Nathan, award-winning cookbook author and frequent New York Times contributor; Domenica Marchetti, cookbook author and contributor to the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, and Food and Wine; Nevin Martell, food, travel, and lifestyle writer and author of The Founding Farmers Cookbook and It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids; Bonnie Benwick, Washington Post food section deputy editor and writer of the “Dinner in Minutes” column and cookbook reviews.

Bhide has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Food & Wine, Savuer, Bon Appetit, and many other magazines and newspapers. She is a frequent guest on NPR.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)