Sunday, March 8, 2009

Potluck on Paper

Back when this blog was only weeks old, I posted about random cookbooks. Two of the cookbooks I listed as part of my random cookbook collection are, in fact, community cookbooks, a genre I am exploring in one of the chapters of my thesis. I collected several community cookbooks, did a bit of research on their history... but still I was curious about the genre. So, being the industrious person I tend to be (maybe it's more like "biting off more than I can chew"), I decided to make my own.

And thus was born the idea for Beyond Alphabet Soup, the Honor Scholar community cookbook companion to my Honor Scholar thesis. The process was drawn-out and time-consuming, but I must say I am so proud of my final product. It's fun to flip through -- lots of good, creative recipes, as well as some fantastic illustrations by my aspiring cartoonist friend. And I had 150 copies printed so anyone in the Honor Scholar community can have one to cook from, as a memento of being at this university, etc.

And guess what? Now you can make a community cookbook, too!

Community Cookbook

recipes submitted by community members
editing skills
a working knowledge of recipe basics (e.g. soups require at least one liquid ingredient)
a computer with word processing and document formatting capabilities
food images and/or illustrations
funds to pay a printing service (unless you're going the self-publishing route)
patience (as needed throughout)

Collect your community members' submitted recipes and order them according to your liking. Read through each of the recipes for spelling, grammar, and logical errors. Once the recipes have been checked for accuracy, begin laying out the cookbook on the computer.
Assemble your images and/or illustrations and decide where they will be included in the cookbook; insert them into the cookbook layout file. Make sure your final layout file meets the specifications of your printing service, as each service may be different.
With your printing service, discuss your preferences for the cookbook's final appearance (types of paper, binding, etc.), agree on a payment plan, and submit your layout file for actual printing. Make sure the first copy comes out correctly.
Have the batch of cookbooks delivered, or pick them up on your own. Dive in.
Note: Leftovers will never go bad, so share with the community!

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