Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eggs, Milk and a Keyboard: Ingredients Needed To Write for a Food Review

By Kimberly Johnson

I’ll admit it…I’m a foodie. I watch the culinary shows (even, The Chew). I download the instructional videos. I will spend my next-to-last-dollar on a cookbook.

Last Sunday, I perused the aisles of a local mega bookstore and ooh’d and ah’d over Lidia and Ming. And just before I got hungry, I forked over the cash for Jamie’s Kitchen (Jamie Oliver) and Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible.

At home, my kitchen turned into a full production set that would rival the one on Food Network. I tried out Paula’s Tomato Pie recipe. The ingredients were simple: four tomatoes, basil leaves, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise, to name a few. The tools of the trade were modest: a deep dish pan, a grater and the oven. In Paula’s original recipe, she combined grated mozzarella, cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. I substituted plain yogurt for the mayonnaise. The result was a tasty treat that I may fix for brunch. Suddenly, I realized that I am good at cooking, eating and writing. But, I wasn’t sure about selling my two cents to an audience. So I hopped on the Internet to discover ways to write a cookbook review.

The experts offered this advice for the beginner reviewer:

#1: Select two or three recipes from your favorite cookbook and sample them. This way, you can get a feel on the author’s cooking style to write a comprehensive assessment. I cheated. I tried just one: Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding from Paula’s Just Desserts book.

#2: Explain why the book is unique. That’s what Garrett McCord (blogger with Food Blog Alliance) does with his entries. “For example, how does the author explain the use of ingredients in baking better than other authors? By setting the author and subject apart from the overcrowded world of food literature you detail their importance.”

#2: Discuss the author’s flair, presentation and photo arrangement. Let the reader discover the best (or worse) part of the book and don’t give away too much information.

#3: Identify the format. Be sure to include the title, author, and the general theme of the cookbook. Comment on the quality of the photos.

#4: Summarize your impression of the recipes and cooking style of the author. Set a rating system.

Writing a cookbook review seems like hard work. I’m going put my keyboard and taste buds to the grindstone. And hopefully, I can get someone else to spend his or her next-to-last-dollar on Paula Deen.

Sources: www.ehow.com, www.foodbloggersofcanada.com, www.foodblogalliance.com

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