How to Write a Cookbook Introduction
Recipes are a cookbook's prime ingredient, but aspiring cuisine writers should also take care not to skimp on their introduction. This important section sets the tone and flavor of your book and can make the difference between whether someone buys your book or leaves it on the shelf. Cookbooks can often sell a lifestyle alongside the recipes. Appeal to your reader's imagination. An introduction to a book promoting easy summer recipes, for example, should make your reader think of lazy summer nights dining al fresco with friends.
Introduce the primary concept. Your introduction should engage and tantalize your reader and sell the book’s main theme. If you have written a book about preparing meals for friends, expound on the joys of casual dinners and intimate suppers. Someone writing a cookbook about regional cooking could talk about the passion that is an integral ingredient of French cuisine or the earthy flavors of traditional Italian dishes.
Add personal touches. Cooking is an intimate and personal experience and readers are more likely to engage with your book if you tell them a little about yourself. Someone offering fast and easy recipes, for example, could tell her reader that she is a busy working mother who understands that fresh, delicious meals can still be created with a minimum of time and fuss. Tell the reader a little about your background and inject some humor. Someone who spent years working in a busy restaurant, for example, could add some funny anecdotes about making the perfect pavlova.
Offer information about your recipes. Someone whose recipes contain simple, easy-to-find ingredients should incorporate that into the introduction. If your recipes are easy to follow, offer substitutes for ingredients that might be hard to find and offer generous portion sizes, your reader should know.
Encourage your reader. Tell him that he shouldn’t feel nervous about experimenting with some of the ingredients or adding a few more herbs and spices, if required. Encourage him to relax and try again if he doesn’t get it right the first time around. People will feel more relaxed about trying out your recipes if they feel you are on their side.
- Nigella Express; Nigella Lawson; 2007
- Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just You); Francis Price; 1995
- Marcy Goldman's Better Baking.com: So You Want to Write a Cookbook
Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.