Write Your, um, Our Own Cookbook


Blame it on Facebook. A few weeks ago, I posted this picture to this on my profile page. I was noodling around with the new iPhone app Instagr.am, to which I’m becoming pathologically addicted, and wanted to see if all this brouhaha over one-button photo publishing really worked. (Yes, it does, and, yes, David Lebovitz, Ree Drummond, and Deb Perelman, I’m still in the Dark Ages when it comes to mobile technology.)

These particularly sublime lovelies are gougeres–small cheese puffs, my version filled with prosciutto and herbs. They’re scheduled to appear in the glossy, full-color pages of my next book–a Leite’s Culinaria cookbook–of which I’m only in the proposal-writing stage. ‘Tis true, I’m one of those writers who takes a millennium to put together a book. All I can say is bless the hearts of those writers who can knock out one terrific tome after another.

Now, what I didn’t expect from my expérience sociale was the reaction of readers. Within seconds of posting, I started getting everything from requests for the recipe (can’t give it out just yet, folks) to some serious wrist slapping for not having started the proposal sooner.

And that got me thinking. While I have my idea of what I humbly believe to be a star-studded, headliner-only cross section of recipes, you might have a very different perspective. So I’d like to hear from you: What dishes do you want to have killer, to-die-for versions of–all placed in your hot little hands as soon as the book is published? Slam-dunk shrimp and grits? Never-fail Parmesan-crusted chicken breasts? Or brownies that will once and for all shut up your cantankerous braggart of a mother-in-law? Tell me. This is your chance to write your own cookbook by proxy. Who knows, your suggestions might just be one of more than 150 recipes to grace the pages of our very first (and we hope the first of many) LC cookbook.

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  1. I think I would seriously consider selling my soul for a foolproof buttermilk biscuit recipe. Every time I try they come out like beautiful golden hockey pucks. If anyone can help me, it’s you! 🙂

    1. I am so sensing a Southern theme to these requests, are you? I have to admit I’m not a big biscuit maker, but we have several Southern cooks who are testers for the book and on whom I can lean. Karen? Beth? To the rescue.

        1. Never Fear FL. Your Southern Belles are here. We dream in Southernese and talk with our hands full of okra, grits, biscuits, and SOUTHERN fried chicken!!

  2. I’m sure all the recipes will be yummy, and would like suggested ingredient substitutions and shopping tips

  3. I cannot buy that you’re more clueless about mobile technology than I am when I hadn’t even heard of Flipboard before you told me!

    Your pumpkin layer cake is fantastic–light and pumpkin-y, where most are heavy and more spice than pumpkin flavor. I am the only person on the internet who hasn’t made your white gazpacho yet, but I think you’ll need a riff on it in every cookbook going forward. And I know, I know, you want to hear about new recipes, not ones you’ve already written, but you must find a home for the chocolate chip cookies you made the NYT so famous for in your book as well.

    Now, can you please tell me what to put in my cookbook? And soon, it’s due, like, any day now. 🙂

    1. Well, Miss Smitten Kitchen, as I live and breathe! I am always, always a block behind you when it comes to technology. You’re cutting edge.

      Regarding the pumpkin cake, that was a good one. And, strangely enough, that was the first version. (Unlike my orange olive-oil cake, which took 13 tries to get right.) You must try the white gazpacho, it’s wonderful (if I do say so myself!). And the cookies will be in the book…but in a different form…

      As far as your book–anything you do will be great. How can it not be? Best of luck with it, and make sure we get a copy.

  4. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’d love a chapter on substitutes for things like dairy. And/Or tell me for which recipes I CAN’T use substitutes. Obviously, some are straight-forward, but many are not.

    Similarly, please don’t assume we have access or funds to exotic/exclusive/hard-to-find “dairy-free” alternatives. And make sure to list ingredients and allergens in each recipe (eg, this recipe contains x, which has milk ingredients, etc.) as well as nutritional info such as low GI, high fiber, etc. (This could be done by simply stating at the very beginning how much sugar is “high” sugar and then label your recipes as low/mid/high sugar, and the same with fiber). And I so love recipes that make measurements logical. Not just 50g or 1/2 cup but “a bunch” or “small can” so that we can eyeball it and adapt when needed.

    Also, please don’t stuff your cookbook with pork/bacon/lard recipes! So many are books full of recipes that many (Muslims, Jews, etc) can’t use, and it makes a lot of books more or less useless!

    Thanks so much! I love that you’re asking for feedback!

      1. Oh, and one more?

        Please don’t assume we have fancy appliances like stand mixers or even super high end blenders. Unless that’s your audience, of course!

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