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Old 12-11-2008, 12:24 PM   #1
terrie
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Default Custom cookbooks...

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post's Food section yesterday on creating your own custom cookbook (you may need to register to read the full article). Here are some excerpts from the article:

"I tested three popular software programs that have varying levels of flexibility and complexity: TasteBook, from a Web site that partners with recipe site Epicurious.com, and electronic publishers Lulu and Blurb."

"For fast and easy, TasteBook is your best bet. ...Now for the minuses: TasteBook automatically alphabetizes your recipes within 10 chapters. It's sensible. But it means that my recipe for Thai-spiced Watermelon Soup comes after Shrimp and Mango Salad rather than with my favorite Indonesian Carrot Soup. I'd rather be able to order the recipes myself. ... What you get:A hardcover binder with room for up to 100 recipes; $19.95 to $34.95 plus shipping, depending on how many recipes you include; at http://www.tastebook.com. "



"I had the highest hopes for Lulu, which appeared to be the Goldilocks of custom publishing: not too much flexibility, not too little. Lulu offers three templates for cookbook pages: simple, rustic and retro. It then allows you to add your own photos or select from a library of Getty images. The Flash interface requires no download and is intuitive enough for even novice computer users. ... What you get:Paperback book with 20 to 250 pages, $15.45 plus shipping; hardback book with 20 to 120 pages, $25.45 plus shipping; at http://www.lulu.com. "

With Lulu, you have to manually type in your recipies and apparently the library of images isn't all that broad.



"The welcome page on Blurb's Web site features a slide show of coffee table books, and this software is robust enough to create them. It offers by far the most flexibility: recipe layouts, picture layouts, collage layouts, chapter layouts, text layouts, plus ideas for title, dedication and copyright pages. ... Unlike with the others, you have to download Blurb's BookSmart application. But once you have it, it's easy to navigate. ...What you get:Prices vary according to the size of the book. Paperbacks of up to 40 pages start at $12.95; up to 80 pages, $15.95. Hardbacks of up to 40 pages start at $22.95; up to 80 pages, $26.95; all prices are plus shipping; at http://www.blurb.com. "

With Blurb, longer recipies (more than one page) can be a problem and you have to supply your own photos.

Of the three, the author thought the Blurb book "...was the most beautiful. The images were well printed, the binding professional".

[Quotes: © 2008 The Washington Post Company]


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Old 12-11-2008, 02:16 PM   #2
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Really interesting stuff. I have a library of hundreds of recipes on my computer, that I would love to get categorized and put together. I might give one of these a try. Blurb and Tastebook seem the easiest to deal with.

   
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:23 AM   #3
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Thanks. Our local Country Women's Group has asked me to produce a cook book they are writing so that's interesting information.

Originally they wanted it done 18 months ago but they still haven't finished writing it. As some of them are very elderly I just hope they get it finished soon.

   
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:05 AM   #4
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Perhaps I am being dim, but what would a recipe book template do for you?

I have designed cookbooks in my checkered past, and they were neither so complicated nor so similar that a template would seem to be useful.

But maybe I am missing the point here.

   
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:34 PM   #5
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kt: Perhaps I am being dim, but what would a recipe book template do for you?
For the typographicallly impaired??? '-}}

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Old 12-12-2008, 01:03 PM   #6
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For the typographicallly impaired??? '-}}
Well, maybe. But Mike isn’t impaired in that way, or at least I don’t think so.

The main tricky detail is the fractions, and they are important. Maybe these services are converting hand-typed fractions (i.e., 1/2, 1/4, etc.) into built typographic fractions? Maybe the templates help people who are not familiar with recipes lay out the list and instructions in one of the common formats?

Other issues concern whether to abbreviate quantities (and which abbreviation to use), how to organize lists of ingredients, how to provide the instructions, and so on. Hard to see how these issues could be dealt with in a template.

Just scratching my noggin to figure out what service(s) is/are provided.

By the way — Recipes Into Type: A handbook for cookbook writers and editors is a good resource for anyone trying to typeset recipes. There are

   
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:54 PM   #7
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kt: Well, maybe. But Mike isn’t impaired in that way, or at least I don’t think so.
No...not at all...'-}}

Given that I can't imagine that I'd ever want to do this, what I thought was interesting was that anyone even thought of creating templates for something like this and more importantly, was the info on the final product--if Blurb does a good job on something like a cookbook, then they probably would do a good job on some other kind of book...

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Old 12-12-2008, 03:19 PM   #8
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KT:

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The main tricky detail is the fractions, and they are important
Fractions aren't usual if the quantities being given are in grams and millilitres; Welsh countrywomen are acquainted with such things!

   
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:57 PM   #9
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KT:

Fractions aren't usual if the quantities being given are in grams and millilitres
Most recipes written for cooks in countries using the metric system still use fractions of cups and teaspoons, often with the ml equivalent in brackets. Cooks know the appearance of the half cup measure and don't want to be forever turning it upside down to see if it's 250ml or not.

   
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:47 AM   #10
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Ann:

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Most recipes written for cooks in countries using the metric system still use fractions of cups and teaspoons
You surprise me: I've never heard of anyone giving quantities of ingredients in cupfuls, apart from the USA (and possibly Canada, but I've never seen a Canadian cookery book).

   
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