Foodies are as diverse as their culinary preferences. The thought or sight of a particular recipe could be mouthwatering for some while being completely off-putting to another. The pairing or absence of certain ingredients could make others scoff at a dish.
Knowing how foodies like to enjoy their foods is vital if you want to make a cookbook. You have to understand your audience- the people who will read your book.
Doing so can help you align recipes towards the folks who will be most receptive to your work. This piece will highlight different foodie profiles and a few simple ways you can cater your recipe book to them.
Making a Recipe Book for Your Audience
Whether you’re making a cookbook for the public or a custom recipe book for your family, you’re crafting your work for an audience. That means real people with wildly varying tastes in food and different levels of culinary skills.
Of course, you can’t make everyone happy. Nevertheless, you need to understand the core group of people you’re writing your cookbook for to create something they’ll find valuable. Laura Gladwin, an editor for Food and Drink magazine, likens this to how authors tailor their books to suit a certain type of reader.
“Just as fiction authors will create a profile of their ‘ideal reader,’” she says, “you will want to answer some key questions about the kind of person who will enjoy your book most — your typical reader.”
She’s even made suggestions on questions you can ask when trying to figure out your audience including:
- How good of a cook are they?
- Where do they buy their food?
- What kind of dishes do they like?
- What might they be put off by?
- How willing are they to take risks?
- How often do they cook for friends?
- Are they more interested in eating healthily, or impressing people, or getting food on the table as quickly as possible?
- What other cookbooks do they have on their shelf?
By asking these essential questions, you will develop a better understanding of who your audience is and how you should present your cookbook to them. If you’re making a custom cookbook for your family, many of these questions will be fairly easy to answer.
If you’re making a cookbook for others, you will want to speak to them to get a sense of what their food preferences are. You can also look to social media for answers as well, by looking at trending posts and comments/reactions on foodie accounts to see what subscribers and followers are into.
It will be helpful for you to know some popular foodie distinctions when you write a recipe book that resonates with a key audience.
An Example of Foodie Groups for Cookbook Makers to Consider
- Locavore – They only eat foods that are locally produced.
- Clean Eater – They focus on foods that are free of preservatives.
- Low Carbon Eater – They consume foods that have been produced with little greenhouse gas emissions.
- Meat Eater – They consume predominantly red and white meat, eggs, fish, seafood, fowl and dairy.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – They don’t eat meat, fish, fowl or eggs but will consume dairy and egg products.
- Ovo Vegetarian – They don’t eat meat, fish, fowl or dairy but they will eat eggs.
- Lacto Vegetarian – They don’t eat meat, fish, fowl or eggs but they do consume dairy.
- Vegan – They don’t eat any foods produced by animals.
- Pollotarian – They don’t eat red meat, fish or seafood, but they do eat poultry and fowl.
- Flexitarian – They eat predominantly vegetarian meals but will occasionally eat meat.
- Pescatarian – They don’t eat red meat or poultry but they will eat fish and seafood.
And then there are foodies based on their personalities such as:
- The Food Snob – They are very particular about the authenticity of what they eat, who makes it and whether it has “real” ingredients.
- The Daredevil Foodie – These are the foodies with the “try everything once” mentality. They will undertake the outrageous food challenges, even those that may lead to temporary discomfort (ie. eating ghost peppers).
- Organivores – These foodies insist that everything they eat is organic.
- Fitbit Foodie – These foodies count every calorie and choose many of their foods based on their nutritional content.
As you can see from the list above, our eating preferences vary tremendously. Many of your friends and family members may fall into one or more of these categories, opening up opportunities for you to create a custom recipe book for them.
Tap Into Your Audience’s Foodie Presence
Once you understand your audience’s culinary tastes and preferences, you can start to plan your custom recipe book to match their interests. That means writing a cookbook that appeals not only to their diet but also, their personality traits, cultural interests and more. The more you tap into their lifestyle (not just dietary choices), the deeper you will connect with them.
Cooking Up the Perfect Recipe for Audience Connection
- Cater to them By Creating a Theme – This is a no-brainer – if you’re appealing to pescatarians, then you should create a cookbook that’s all about seafood and fish foods. If you’re catering to organivores, then your recipes should probably contain suggestions on where readers can purchase organic ingredients.
- Highlight their Preferences in Your Recipes – Remember, certain foodies are more about personality, meaning they used specific lingo and have certain attitudes. You can tap into this by making references to pop culture or using certain slang. But do this sparingly so that your book doesn’t sound cringe!
- Help them Solve Their Culinary Problems – Ultimately, your cookbook has to serve a purpose, and that’s to help people cook the meals they enjoy. For many people, they just can’t seem to get a recipe right. If you can simplify a difficult recipe, you will become the hero for many chefs without having to resort to flashy designs.
Your Audience is the Spice of Your Cookbook
If your cookbook doesn’t appeal to a dedicated audience, it will collect dust or remain unviewed no matter how pretty it is. Cookbooks are supposed to make the art of cooking relatable to people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. You can only do this by getting a more intimate understanding of them. The effort you make to do so will enable you to write a cookbook that readers will thank you for!
A cookbook can be a blank canvas that allows a chef to express their culinary creativity and expertise. However, there are some rules to follow for cookbook success. Whether it’s the content of the book itself or its aesthetic, the formatting and presentation of a recipe book can make it a hit or a dud. This guide will highlight some key elements that belong in every successful cookbook and how you can incorporate these elements if you plan to make your own cookbook.
1. Establish Your Cookbook’s Concept & Direction
Cookbooks are much more than a collection of recipes. The best ones tell stories or revolve around a theme (more on this later) to make the book feel more like an experience. The best cookbooks also are written for a specific purpose and often for a specific audience – even if that happens to be for one’s family and friends.
When you make your own cookbook, you also have to think about who will be involved in its creation since it’s a collaborative project. Also, the minutiae of its aesthetics and appearance come into play as well.
There’s a lot to consider!
However, once you figure out the concept and direction of your recipe book, the rest of the process becomes much easier to execute. We’ve put a checklist you can tick off below to keep you on track.
How to Choose a Concept & Direction When You Make Your Own Cookbook
- Pick a purpose – Are you looking to educate new cooks or are you promoting a family restaurant? Are you trying to preserve grandma’s recipes or are you trying to introduce your own new creations?
- Pick a theme – Is it a specific style of cooking (ie. Italian, Japanese)? Is it keto/gluten/paleo-friendly focused?
- Pick an audience – Is this cookbook for a beginner or experienced chefs? Are you writing it for family members or the public?
- Pick a style – Is it light-hearted and witty or straight-forward in its writing? Are you going to use photographs or will you include illustrations?
2. Choose Recipes You’re Comfortable Making and Explaining
It doesn’t matter how refined your cooking skills are, poorly selected and half-baked recipes will make your cookbook bland and uninteresting. The recipes you choose when you make your own cookbook should err on the side of clarity. That means finding a balance between including all of the essential details while removing the miscellaneous ones. Your audience needs to know the necessary ingredients and preparation instructions above all else.
Additionally, give thought to the entertainment value of your recipes. You don’t need to write prize-winning literature or comically genius material, but a joke or a cleverly named title here and there will keep your readers engaged.
Ultimately, your recipes should fit within the theme of your cookbook. That means you obviously wouldn’t put a roast chicken dinner in a vegan-focused cookbook!
Must-Have Cookbook Elements
- Ingredients listed in the order they must be used
- Serving quantity of ingredients are clearly listed (ie. serves 4 people)
- The exact name of the ingredient was used (ie. “green pepper” as opposed to just “pepper”)
- Correct serving measurements have been listed (don’t forget about differences in metric and imperial units)
- Substitutes have been listed for ingredients that might be seasonal or hard to find
- Instructions for ingredient preparation has been included (ie. grate cheese, sliced carrots)
- Preparation steps have been listed chronologically
- Cook times have been accurately listed
- Heat/temperature levels have been clearly set
- Necessary cookware has been listed
- Serving and storage instructions have been listed
3. Decide on Your Cookbook’s Structure & Format
You can fill your cookbook with the most delicious recipes but if the book is sloppy and unappealing, no one will care to read it.
Tight structure and formatting are essential. But how do you structure and format your cookbook?
First off, the cover needs to shine. Again, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece work of art, but it should draw interest from readers, even if you’re just making one for your family. People will judge your cookbook by its cover and might decide to skim it or look at in-depth based on how it looks.
Second, think about the overall structure of the cookbook – recipes, sections, chapters. To help you flesh this out, you might want to start with a table of contents and list each major section out in sequential order, like this:
- Main Course
You don’t have to follow this exact outline, but plotting out the order of chapters or sections will make your own cookbook far easier to write. To take this a bit further, you can devise a “micro” outline for each recipe itself. It may look like this:
- Recipe name
- Recipe image
- Recipe description
- Recipe ingredients
- Prep Instructions
- Serving Suggestions
The more fleshed out you can get with your outline, the easier it will be to organize your ideas to form a cohesive recipe book.
Lastly, you’ll want to think about the dimensions of your book if you plan on making physical copies. You will have to give consideration to its physical size, the type of paper and binding it’ll use, and the type of cover it will have. The size and make of your cookbook have an impact on the durability of your cookbook and the impression it leaves on readers.
4. Hone in Your Cookbook’s Style
Again, the recipes in your cookbook can be impeccable but if the book itself is a bore, then it will be ignored. Honing in on a unique style adds flair to your recipes. Think of it this way – your cookbook should be like a menu that makes your mouth water after reading and seeing an entree of interest. How so?
The Writing Style
There are many ways you can write a recipe. Take, for example, a prep instruction:
- “Cut the onions.”
- “Finely slice the onions”
- “Chop away at those onions”
They all deliver the same command – to cut onions – but in different tones. The first is one is matter-of-fact, the second, flowery, and the third, casual. There’s no right or wrong way to write your recipes. What determines how they should sound depends on your audience and the theme of your cookbook.
In addition to the tone, your writing style can be very minimal including just the bare-bone details of a recipe or it can feature lush stories about a recipe and why you chose it. Alternatively, it can be more technical, with tables and glossaries. Again, it all boils down to your audience and purpose.
The Visual Style
A recipe book without images is like a meal without seasoning – it’s bland and unappealing. Images are a must. There is a wide range of visual styles you can incorporate in your own cookbook. Just like the writing style, you will want to choose images that resonate with your audience and help you achieve the intended purpose of your cookbook.
- A kid’s cookbook would benefit from illustrations or animated drawings (if possible).
- A family heritage cookbook, on the contrary, would best be served with family photos, perhaps, black-and-white or sepia colored ones.
- A more technical cookbook may have diagrams with labels
Also, think about the graphic design and art direction of your cookbook. That means being choosy about the fonts, text size, text color, icons, and table designs you will put in your recipe book. They’re not to be chosen haphazardly!
The ideal blend of unique writing and visual style will keep your readers hooked on your cookbook and coming back for more.
5. Publish Your Cookbook With Professional Guidance
Unless you’ve published cookbooks before, your first run through is going to be overwhelming if you go about it alone. You will want to rely on professional help for the tasks you don’t have the skills or time to do.
That could apply to any part of the cookbook creation process, such as working with a writer to help you “pretty up” your recipe descriptions and titles, or a photographer who can take more professional images than you.
Where you’ll likely need help is on the publishing front. Whether it’s getting your recipe book in the hands of the public of your loved ones, turning your ideas into a physical or even digital copy is hard work.
Traditional publishing houses can put your cookbook on the shelves (or Amazon) up there with some big names, but it will cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention the length of time it takes to get it published. Self-publishing lets you skip the waiting time, but you’ll have to fund the costs of producing the book yourself, which can quickly become exhausting.
Fortunately, Heritage Cookbook can do the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is sign-up for a membership to get started. Afterward, you can then choose some pre-designed templates and bookbinding for your book. Lastly, you simply confirm your order and your very own cookbook will be on its way for delivery!
This eliminates the need to drop huge amounts of cash and lose months of your life trying to publish a cookbook. And it’s ideal if your goal is merely to create a cookbook for friends or family members, whether that be a shared copy or multiple.
Make Your Recipe Book a Hit
There are hundreds of ways to make your own cookbook. The way it looks, the way it reads, and even the way it feels (if it’s a physical copy), can enhance or detract how your readers respond to it. Treat your cookbook like a work of art. By paying attention to the various elements listed above, you will give your recipe book a chance of being a hit among those you share it with.
It’s unfortunate when family traditions die, especially when those traditions involve flavorful and delicious recipes that brought loved ones from previous generations together.
A lost family recipe may also be a disservice to foodies who are looking for their next culinary fix. This post will discuss how cookbook makers can preserve family recipes from previous generations for the purpose of their own book creation.
Make Digital Copies of Old Home & Family Recipes
Many of you have nostalgia inherited from your grandparents, which may be tucked away in a basement corner or in the attic somewhere. That may include a box of grandma’s old recipes written on cards. If it’s not her indelibly written recipe notes, you may have an old paperback cookbook that’s collecting dust with its pages turning yellow.
These are culinary goldmines you don’t want to lose!
The simple way to preserve these home and family recipes is to make digital copies of them. You can take pictures of them using your smartphone, tablet or a digital camera. Create folders on your computer or phone to label these recipes using apps such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Record a Family Recipe on Video
We live in an era where almost nothing can escape the lens of a camera. Of course, there are downsides to this but one of the upsides is that we can preserve our most treasured experiences and ideas. That includes a family recipe.
Whether you’re capturing grandma’s wisdom or creating a new recipe from scratch, you can record the process from start to finish. That may include everything from sorting the ingredients to providing step-by-step instructions on how to prepare it. You can record these videos on your phone or a camera and edit them later, or you can live stream them if you prefer a more spontaneous feel.
What you do with the video afterwards is up to you. It can go up on a YouTube channel or you can save it on your devices and share it mainly with your closest friends and family members.
Preserve a Family Recipe Using Social Media
Maybe you’re a bit of a show-off when it comes to cooking, a stickler for humblebrags. If that’s you, then social media platforms can be a great way to keep home and family recipes preserved. Using social media to collect recipes can do double duty:
- It allows you to show off your dishes to the world
- Your pictures will serve as a digital catalog that will only disappear if you decide to take them down
One of the best platforms to use for this is Pinterest. You can create pins and pinboards that allow you to post family recipe collections that will be visible for others to see. Pinterest also happens to be a popular destination for other foodies who are looking for culinary inspiration, so you might get quite a few people who repin your creations.
You also can use Instagram to upload your recipes as well, as long as you have high-quality photos and caption-friendly descriptions.
Create a Homemade Recipe Book to Preserve Traditional Dishes
Now we’ve arrived at our favorite method of preserving a family recipe – the creation of a homemade recipe book. All the methods mentioned above are perfectly feasible ways of keeping home and family recipes alive, but the cookbook has some clear advantages.
For one, a cookbook allows you to keep multiple recipes in one “location” – the book itself. Additionally, the cookbook format lets you tie these recipes together with themes, designs, storytelling and other elements that create a more immersive experience.
And it’s never been easier to create a homemade recipe book! For example, Heritage Cookbook can do the heavy lifting of putting the cookbook together for you. All you need to do is:
- Sign-up for an account
- Choose your bookbinding and design
- Create your book by typing or cutting and pasting your recipes, photos and stories
- Confirm your order and wait for delivery
You don’t need to run off to a fancy publishing house to make it. We take care of the production and printing work for you!
Pass Home & Family Recipes Down to Future Generations
Many of us are eager to learn about our ancestry and preserve it. We may take DNA tests to unravel our ethnic origins or we may wear traditional garb to show our pride for where we’ve come from.
But preserving home and family recipes is just as important to maintain the family heritage. The dishes that have been passed down from your ancestors should stay with you and be saved for your kids and their kids.
Pride aside, preserving a family recipe can introduce you, your relatives and your friends to flavors and aromas you never knew could be so enjoyable. Why deprive your tastebuds of such culinary bliss because of a lost recipe? It would be a crime!
And if the next generation isn’t into printed books, why not get them an ebook version of your recipe collection? It’s a new way to speak to the next generation in a language they’re sure to understand!