PART 1: How to create a unique cookbook

It is said that we each have a book within us. Perhaps it's a self-help book, a Mills and Boon romance saga or an anthology of poetry. But what if the book that is within you is a cookbook? What food story do you have to tell? Which recipes most connect to your life? In this first blog, I guide you along the first exciting steps towards writing your own unique cookbook.



Find your story.


To begin with, I want you to understand how important your unique experiences are. If you yearn to write a cookbook, I know you already have a deep respect for food and cooking. I also know that you know - with every fibre of your being - that food weaves through almost every aspect of our lives. It is the thing that fuels and nourishes us. It also connects and creates community. Cooking involves knowledge, skill and reward. But there is also belonging and tradition.

Knowing the depths of your food experiences will help you discover your own unique story.

You may like to grab a pen and paper. Brainstorming can be one of the most inspiring stages of writing a cookbook. Write down anything that comes to mind.

So. Let's start at the beginning, with YOU.

Time to put that pen to paper.

  • UPBRINGING

-What was your upbringing like?
-What is your heritage?
-Can you recall any specific experiences growing up around food?
-Are there any strong images that pop up?
-How did you learn to cook?
-Who influenced your love for food?
-Which dishes from your childhood do you love to recreate as an adult.

  • HOME & BELONGING

-Where are you from?
-Where do you live now?
-How does the landscape of where you live today, in your specific pocket of the world, influence the produce, the style of cooking and the cuisine?
-Does this impact the way you cook or view food?

  • YOUR COOKING STYLE

-How do you like to eat?
-What is your ideal cooking environment? (Perhaps you love an efficient, practical approach to cooking. Maybe you prefer a slow, artful experience).
-How do you most like to share your food? Who do you love to cook for?

  • YOUR CUISINE STYLE

-Have you been fascinated by a particular culture?
-What do you love the most about this culture and what are the dishes that reflect?
-Have you spent time in the culture you love?
-What is the nature and customs of its people, its environment?

.............


I hope you realise by now where I'm gently leading you.

Who you are, where you are from, how you have experienced life and why you are passionate about food is WHAT you should write about.

This cookbook will reveal your own voice. And it won't just be about recipes - it will have something to say. Something about love, about humanity. It will be a cookbook that can transcend simple directions on how to whisk and bake a cake. It will draw your reader into an experience. And that is what food is all about right?

Sure you can write a book about 100 healthy salads or 20 green smoothies - but why? What makes you passionate about this? How does your story link to this cuisine?




 


MY STORY: HOW I CREATED MY COOKBOOKS


When I first became vegan, I was excited to cook EVERYTHING. Any cuisine. I was attracted to it all as long as it was vegan, like a bee, buzzing from flower to flower. After many years, I started to connect more with my heritage. I became drawn to Italian food, the food I grew up with. After several trips to Italy in my 30s - I couldn't turn off my curiosity and sheer joy of Italian cuisine. I wanted to relive being in Italy and the memories of my youth.

The more I followed my own passion, my own story
and my heritage - the clearer I became.

But a sadness pervaded me; that being vegan meant I had to miss out on my traditions. I felt rejected from memories and flavours. So I took this lack, along with my love of eating, cooking and creativity - and started veganising my favourite Italian classics.

Soon enough, a goal materialised. I was ready to create a cookbook. One that connected my Italian heritage with my love of vegan cooking. I also wanted to create a cookbook that wasn’t filled with bright glossy photos of animal carcasses and meat. I wanted to delight in Italian cuisine without the cruelty.

For my first cookbook, Discovering Vegan Italian, I had a very clear goal. To veganise the classics. It was also important to include the food of my childhood and dishes I discovered while travelling Italy. Along with the recipes came stories and memories.

When you write recipes, you also tell a story.

So now with my second cookbook, A Vegan Summer in Southern Italy (which is now with the printer as I write!) is about a very specific personal experience, my time in southern Italy as a vegan. It includes the towns I travelled to, the food I tasted and it also includes a chapter about my family. And then, there’s the recipes.



 

Your story is what makes your cookbook truly authentic. And when you're exhausted and want to give up (because writing a book, or any big project is tough) - you'll be fuelled by a very personal motivation. To share your story and the food that lights you up. And in so doing, inspire others, reminding them of their own experiences, of food and all the beautiful sensory pleasure that comes with it.

So, are you ready to get started?

Answer me this:
What is your cookbook about? How does your personal journey connect to the food you love?

This is the cookbook you need to write.




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