MealFilter April 25, 2016 3:54 PM   Subscribe

This thread has made me think: who's interested in putting together a MeFi cookbook?

Between a lot of comments about saving granny's recipes, and the approximately eleventy bajillion recipes shared on AskMe and our in-depth conversations about e.g. grilled cheese sandwiches, seems to me like Food is a Thing About Which We Have Opinions And Like Sharing.

Perhaps publish through lulu or similar, and split proceeds between Mefi (as in, the mefi general fund not individual users) and some food-related charity? List on the MeFi store?

Who's interested?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering to MetaFilter-Related at 3:54 PM (211 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

I think the idea of a cookbook collection is fun!

The fundraiser suggestion is a lovely thought but, from the site perspective, anything involving money immediately gets a lot more complicated and with more potential for bad fallout of various kinds, bad feelings among members, and so on. I think it will be a lot simpler and preservative of good feelings to keep it a just-for-fun thing where nobody's collecting money.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:58 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm in.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:01 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am definitely up for contributing a recipe, or several! FWIW my recipes tend to skew toward the dessert end of the cookbook: bars, cookies, ice cream.
posted by duffell at 4:13 PM on April 25, 2016


I think that would be a great project.
Title idea:
MetaFilter : Can I Eat This?
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:15 PM on April 25, 2016 [94 favorites]


Finally, a MeTa in which we can post recipes again.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:15 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter : Can I Eat This?

BEST. TITLE. EVER.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:16 PM on April 25, 2016 [21 favorites]


That sounds like fun!
posted by Lyn Never at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2016


I would like to contribute a recipe for disaster.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 4:19 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


sign me uuuuppppp
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2016


I am so riding this pony.
posted by Sophie1 at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2016


Perhaps we could both offer a free PDF and set it up so that people could order a printed-on-demand hard copy at cost.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:25 PM on April 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Love this idea. Very willing to participate and promote this.
posted by Fizz at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2016


Yeah I'm pretty sure it's possible to self-publish both an eBook version and a print-on-demand hard copy via Amazon.

If this ends up being done as a fundraiser for MetaFilter instead of a just-for-fun thing then I volunteer to help copyedit. (I'd like to help fund the site but I'm broke.) I already have a couple of reference books on editing and formatting cookbooks and other published recipes so it would be pretty easy to get up to speed on the conventions of the genre.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2016


When I organized my church's cookbook a few years ago for our 150th anniversary, I pulled recipes from earlier church cookbooks for some "flashback" recipes. One was First Lady Florence Harding's waffle recipe (the church is in DC, the Hardings attended when they inhabited the White House, and Warren G was famously a waffle lover). I got the recipe from the church's 1922 cookbook; cyanide was not on the ingredient list.
posted by duffell at 4:51 PM on April 25, 2016


cyanide was not on the ingredient list.

This would also serve as a more than satisfactory MetaFilter cook-book title.
posted by Fizz at 4:53 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm in to contribute a recipe or two. Maybe my grandma's cranberry nut bread.

But not her recipe for hermits because ain't NOBODY gettin' that
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would certainly be willing to share, even if a lot of my recipes are of the meat curing/sausage making kind. I have a decent number of really tasty sauces (bbq and other) that I would happily share.

also quite possibly the best fried chicken recipe ever
posted by Ghidorah at 5:17 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm in for sure!
posted by sallybrown at 5:25 PM on April 25, 2016


I came up with a vegetarian "beef" stew and a vegetarian Wellington that I'd be happy to contribute.
posted by Beti at 5:37 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'd love to contribute and would definitely want a copy-- free or at a cost! Great idea!
(I'd also be willing to help proofread, etc if needed)
posted by bookmammal at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2016


You can count on me, fffm.
posted by valkane at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2016


ColdChef's Gumbo.
posted by ColdChef at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'll contribute my deep-dish pizza recipe.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:47 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love this idea! I would definitely both contribute & consume.

I insist that it have a chapter on Plates of Beans. Footnoted. With appendices.

(As a practical matter: do we need to worry about copyright issues, should it turn out that someone's family recipe bears more than a passing resemblance to Rombauer's or some such?)
posted by Westringia F. at 5:49 PM on April 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


I LOVE THIS IDEA.

All of my recipes are from other sources, but I would buy the heck out of this cookbook, and donate time and energy to help put it together.
posted by Fig at 5:59 PM on April 25, 2016


i never liked your spinach puffs
posted by poffin boffin at 5:59 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hmm. CookMe? MeEats? ReciMe?
posted by quinndexter at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2016


"(As a practical matter: do we need to worry about copyright issues, should it turn out that someone's family recipe bears more than a passing resemblance to Rombauer's or some such?)"

Recipes aren't copyrightable -- only their presentation. Straightforward lists of ingredients and straightforward instructions, without creative literary expression, are fine. (Instructions written in haiku? Copyrightable.) It's why celebrity cookbooks always include narrative about the recipes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:13 PM on April 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


MealFilter: Yes, eat it.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:15 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


yea! I could totally contribute some recipes!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2016


Hmm. CookMe? MeEats? ReciMe?

EatMe
posted by Daily Alice at 6:29 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Will there be a MeatFilter section?
posted by duffell at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would love to contribute.

(Eyebrows McGee has given the copyright law. It's also fine to include a recipe based on a published recipe, which is done by crediting the original. How to credit recipe sources outlines the way that is usually done - this is aimed more at professional cookbook writers, but it lays out ways of crediting fairly clearly and it's a nice thing to give credit if someone inspired you, to my mind.)
posted by gudrun at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am totally in.

And if the cover could be a picture of the cake with the bees with the scooped out frosting I am even more in
posted by Mchelly at 6:33 PM on April 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


We already have this, it is called meatlifter. That being said yes I will play and so will my lover, she made the cupcakes in new york that time, and avgolemono and there should be a cocktail appendix and a saucy glossary.
posted by vrakatar at 6:37 PM on April 25, 2016


I'd be up for adding a recipe from Clan Nog!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:42 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh my god yes
posted by chococat at 6:43 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter, the Cookbook: Yes, Have Some
posted by Ghidorah at 7:06 PM on April 25, 2016


Proposal for cover.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2016 [19 favorites]


If there's any interest, I'd happily contribute my low carb flour mix recipe. It is pretty damn good, also wheat-free (though not necessarily up to celiac level gluten-free standards).

I have a few excellent wheat-full, high sugar, and very tasty cookie and dessert recipes, too.
posted by monopas at 7:38 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Vegan cake recipes from me. Also maple coconut pudding.
posted by Frowner at 7:43 PM on April 25, 2016


oh man i just realized i could actually submit my recipe for nog

eponylicious
posted by Greg Nog at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


oh man i just realized i could actually submit my recipe for nog
eponylicious
posted by Greg Nog


I propose an eponylicious section! lobstermitten can do lobster claws, mrs pterodactyl can do BBQ pterodactyl wings, and well, prize bull octorok's contribution is obvious.
posted by duffell at 7:55 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I haven't thought of a recipe to contribute but I am so looking forward to acquiring this book and cooking all of yours.
posted by Songdog at 8:04 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Great idea....
posted by HuronBob at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2016


Fuck YES, I am in! I live for cooking and finding new recipes. We could do it like the old-timey cookbooks from churches. Count me in!!!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:33 PM on April 25, 2016


Pricing structure has got to be:

$20, same as in town.

Or, free. I would like free.
posted by bilabial at 8:34 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, I've got the macaroon recipe covered. And an anecdote about cookies where someone tells me to make a crunchy recipe chewy after I've put the cookies in the oven.
posted by bilabial at 8:35 PM on April 25, 2016


I'm in, I'm in, I'm in! I want to see everyone's recipes.

I think I have maybe one thing I made up (or modified) written down, but I am willing to retest some things to codify them.

Actually, I may have two things written down --sherry cheese spread and "English sangria." Now that I think of it, a lot of my dishes involve booze. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by zorseshoes at 8:39 PM on April 25, 2016


The only two things I make without a recipe are an onion brisket and matzoh ball soup, and they're both probably an affront to bubbes everywhere. (Lipton onion soup mix and Manichewitz soup mix, respectively, with an extra dash of laziness* for the soup.) But I'd be interested in the cookbook.

*The BEST matzoh ball soup is a product of boiling the heck out of a chicken and mirepoix, with the Manichewitz seasoning packet and a bay leaf or two, sticking the pot in the fridge for a few days, and then dealing with it at your leisure. Accidental taste explosion!
posted by Ruki at 8:44 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this idea, but I used apple sauce instead of sugar.
And when I made it, there was too much flavour and deliciousness so I halved my knowledge and substituted margarine for butter and horrifying suburban ennui for life.
Also, we pretend that we have a gluten thing, so I used some kind of expensive fake non-gluten alternative stuff and told everyone it turned out great but really everyone just ate the brownies and I ended up throwing it out.
posted by chococat at 8:48 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wait, is this going to be an any-recipe free-for-all, or is it limited to recipes that have previously appeared or been referenced somewhere on the site? Like, I'm pretty sure I have specific desires for recipes that other people have posted about but ruthlessly failed to include in their posts, or that I can't find anymore in my insanely long list of favorited answers. Random "this is yummy" recipes are always a good thing but not so MeFi-y to me.
posted by Mchelly at 8:50 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I propose an eponylicious section! lobstermitten can do lobster claws, mrs pterodactyl can do BBQ pterodactyl wings, and well, prize bull octorok's contribution is obvious.

I am going to make you regret this.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:13 PM on April 25, 2016 [29 favorites]


Me too.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:19 PM on April 25, 2016 [16 favorites]


I can cover lobsters, fwiw. We also have oysters, shrimp, and smoked salmon here. That's just one protein.

But I'm more interested in the recipes from European MeFites, and Down Under and Asian MeFites. And others that I have missed.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:25 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to pull up most-favorited recipes in Ask MeFi and start there?
posted by sleeping bear at 9:28 PM on April 25, 2016


If you're going to repost recipes from the site then you need to explicitly get the original poster's permission first. But it looks like you'll have more than enough recipes from submissions anyway.
posted by shelleycat at 9:40 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this idea, but I used apple sauce instead of sugar..... (etc)

THIS makes me LOL (as the kids of 10 years ago said) every time I see a recipe online. There are *always* at least two people saying A: How wonderful the recipe is, yet at the same time B: Changing it utterly beyond recognition with a 'but I (insert long list of completely different ingredients and methods) to put my own twist to it!'
posted by Brockles at 9:42 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I will happily participate, sign me up!
posted by msali at 9:44 PM on April 25, 2016


I propose an eponylicious section! lobstermitten can do lobster claws, mrs pterodactyl can do BBQ pterodactyl wings, and well, prize bull octorok's contribution is obvious.

...

I am willing to workshop and submit a takoyaki recipe, but out of respect for my sisters and brothers, it will be octopus-free.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:18 PM on April 25, 2016


this thread has reminded me that it's been almost 7 years and i still haven't baked dejah420's bee cake
posted by poffin boffin at 11:48 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a pet idea I've been kicking around: takoyaki fusion. Pancake batter with a chunk of sausage inside, drizzled with maple syrup. Takoyaki batter with pulled pork, covered in cole slaw and bbq sauce. Spicy Korean pork with sliced leeks and kimchi topping. Takoyaki po' boys. The possibilities, they are endless.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:52 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pancake batter with a chunk of sausage inside, drizzled with maple syrup

isn't that the McGriddle though
posted by poffin boffin at 11:55 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


No, because spherical. Also, encased. And eaten with a toothpick.

now I am sad
posted by Ghidorah at 12:01 AM on April 26, 2016


Ooh great idea! I've only very recently got into cooking (as opposed to heating things up) so I don't have many recipes of my own, but I could contribute my Mum's Apple Bread if you promise not to sue me for the inevitable resultant heart attack. mamabee likes butter
posted by billiebee at 12:12 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Two things come to mind:

A. no MeFi food question ever has a single correct answer, so in no way should there only be one recipe for anything ...

B. METAFILTER: anything involving money immediately gets a lot more complicated and with more potential for bad fallout of various kinds, bad feelings among members, and so on.
posted by philip-random at 12:35 AM on April 26, 2016


I do a mean kangaroo pie if you foreign people want something exotic. I'm not sure the international availability of kanagaroo makes it all that useful though.
posted by deadwax at 2:14 AM on April 26, 2016


1. This is a great idea and I'm surprised it hasn't already been done.
2. I have a recipe for the 'pastry/baking' section.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:32 AM on April 26, 2016


Up until a year ago I'd never had a proper grilled cheese sandwich. It's not really a thing around here in Estonia. When I mentioned this in chat, people quickly and vehemently convinced me that I'm objectively wrong and I have a hole in my life that I didn't even know existed. These people were correct.

And at one point I went to the store more drunk than is wise, saw some cream cheese at a steep discount and immediately bought half a kilo of it. Arriving home, I realized it was mascarpone. At the time I didn't even have any idea what mascarpone is, let alone know what to do with it. So of course I asked metafilter. And as a result, for the next week, I put mascarpone in and on everything. It was brilliant.

(I... may have eaten a lot of it right out of the jar with a spoon, too.)

In conclusion, yes.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:38 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you need recipes for all manner of stodge, I'm your gal.
posted by h00py at 3:39 AM on April 26, 2016


What would be rather excellent is if measurements could be in both US and metric values. I realise that conversion isn't an enormous deal (you just need a reliable lookup table and a calculator) but it's just that bit easier for non-US cooks if we don't have to do a load of unit conversions when we're up to our elbows in quivering offal.
posted by pipeski at 3:45 AM on April 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


Pipeski, of its any help, most of my recipes involve dollops, chunks, and splashes. Except for the sausages. That all metric, because metric is really much better for cooking.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:59 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chapter headings:
Plate o' beans (vegan)
Buttereaters (dairy)
Hamburger (duh)
Pet Croutons (baked goods)
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:08 AM on April 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm in, if it wasn't obvious.
posted by cooker girl at 4:34 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can we put "Full Taters" in the uncensored edition?
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:36 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have a few instant noodle to actual meal recipes, although they're usually "stir fry mushrooms/bacon/bell peppers/shrimp/chinese mix, add pepper, cook noodles, throw noodles in pan/wok, add soy sauce, stir fry until everything is brown". I doubt anyone needs a recipe for that.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:39 AM on April 26, 2016


might have a few to contribute.
posted by qcubed at 4:46 AM on April 26, 2016


MetaFilter : Can I Eat This?

Surely it would be
MetaFilter : I Can Eat This!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:47 AM on April 26, 2016


I'm in! I could do recipes for bread, cheesecake, rouladin, spaetzle, clam chowder..... I also have one for 'daiquiri pie' that sometimes comes out a little runny, but since it's basically jello and rum nobody seems to mind.
posted by easily confused at 4:49 AM on April 26, 2016


BEST. TITLE. EVER.

I like feckless fecal food mongering as a title
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:54 AM on April 26, 2016


i haven't posted this on the site, but i have my own recipe for tomato pickle (maybe "relish" in usian) (developed out of desperation because it's not a thing in chile) that i'd be happy to contribute.
posted by andrewcooke at 4:58 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


What would be rather excellent is if measurements could be in both US and metric values.

Excellent point. In the past I have been tripped up by Australian (metric) cups vs US cups, and Australian vs UK tablespoons. 5 or 10 millilitres can make a world of difference when you're baking!
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 5:27 AM on April 26, 2016


This isn't necessarily a "recipe," but I'll just leave it here: Next time you make a hot dog, stuff a bunch of mac n cheese into the bun with the hot dog. Add tabasco. You'll thank me.

Chase with Rolaids.
posted by duffell at 5:47 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


If anyone knows how to make a MacArthur Park, speak up. There's a guy who's been looking for that recipe forever.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:49 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


What would be rather excellent is if measurements could be in both US and metric values.

Actual measurements in general-- a lot of MF recipe suggestions often suggest "eyeballing" or "until it seems right" amounts, which can make them difficult to recreate. I would be eternally grateful if actual measurements could be reverse engineered for these killer recipes that I have tried, and failed, to recreate via eyeballing.

Other forms of clarification for things that might seem obvious that would be useful:

-define "good" chocolate. Does this mean Baker's chocolate? Anything better than tollhouse morsels? Super fancy artisanal chocolate? Suggesting some brand names, or percentages, or ingredient lists to use as guides would be great.
-A friend from NZ recently told me that "icing sugar" available abroad and US "powdered sugar" are not the same thing. If your recipe calls for either one, maybe you could specify?
-Salted or unsalted butter, when used as an ingredient
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:51 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would happily consume and contribute to this - great idea!
posted by scrittore at 6:02 AM on April 26, 2016


Great idea! I have a couple of decent original recipes I'd be happy to share.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:32 AM on April 26, 2016


I'd definitely be interested in contributing
posted by nolnacs at 6:44 AM on April 26, 2016


Ok, practical questions:

who's volunteering to design the book?who's doing layout? Who's editing the submissions? Where should people email their submissions?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Brandon, I think it's well assumed that we'd like you to do all the work. Call us when it's done, k?
posted by heyho at 6:49 AM on April 26, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm in!
posted by saladin at 6:51 AM on April 26, 2016


BTW, I'm happy to offer my services for editing. Qualifications: culinary school, former professional chef, plus my user name.
posted by cooker girl at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, me too!
posted by Namlit at 7:00 AM on April 26, 2016


Pancakes.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:05 AM on April 26, 2016

-A friend from NZ recently told me that "icing sugar" available abroad and US "powdered sugar" are not the same thing. If your recipe calls for either one, maybe you could specify?
This person is tripping on a good sugar high. :) Icing sugars tends to use different anti-caking agents, but we're talking about mere grams of starch or chalk. You're get way more variation in grind or flavor from brand to brand than country to country. I've baked with stuff from all over and icing sugar is icing sugar.

P.S. I'd contribute a recipe!
posted by introp at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah yeah! I'm in.
In addition to the recipes mentioned in the source thread, I also have a recipe for Hardee's biscuits as they were in 1981.

My dad taught at a vocational high school and the little lady that taught commercial food services also worked at Hardee's in the mornings before school. One day he came into the office and found her in the copy room making thousands of copies of a recipe. Turns out they had fired her that morning because she was too old. She put a copy of that biscuit recipe on the desk of every teacher and child in that school. When my dad asked her if she was worried they might get mad about it, she said, "What will the bastards do? Fire me again?"

They're awesome biscuits.
posted by teleri025 at 7:20 AM on April 26, 2016 [25 favorites]


I'd contribute. I have no idea what but I must have a signature recipe somewhere.
posted by GuyZero at 7:25 AM on April 26, 2016


I'd be happy to volunteer my neurotic organizational services, like if folks wanted to send me their recipes, I could arrange the ingredients into bullet lists and break out the instructions into ordered steps, then return a copy to the creator to make sure I got everything right. Or make a template that people could fill in and forward on, to make it even easier?

All I have to offer in terms of graphic design is many years putting together photocopied zines in the 90s, and I'm not remotely familiar with metric conversions, but I could certainly take a stab at either if need be. And I'd love to share some tasty vegan recipes with you guys!
posted by amnesia and magnets at 7:30 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am totally in.
I volunteer my services as both an editor/proofreader and as a recipe tester (This is something that has to be done. Every stollen recipe my family has ever handed to me leaves out the sugar. gah.)

So, as asked above, are we talking about scraping the site to collect, collate and cull recipes that have previously been posted or are we talking about starting anew?
I really like the idea of pulling from recipes that have been posted.
Are there going to be some predefined limits (such as: no more than one recipe from any member)?
posted by Seamus at 7:48 AM on April 26, 2016


I'm the OP on the inspiration thread, so I'll obviously contribute. My most treasured recipe is for my Irish grandmother's rather non-traditional (but utterly delicious) soda bread. I have a copy of it in her handwriting, which I plan to memorialize for family members in this manner someday; at 95 years young, Grandma is still baking the bread herself, so no need for that sort of thing yet! In the meantime, I can share it with my fellow MeFites.
posted by katie at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


(My hunting group has adapted a version of Greasy Honky Pie to include game meat, bacon, fritos, AND cheetos. MeFi has changed the culinary world already.)
posted by Seamus at 7:52 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I make a mean banana bread.

Basically I use the Blue's Clues banana bread recipe as a base, then I fold in molasses and brown sugar on top. It ends up with a dark and slightly crunchy sweet crust and the usual banana bread goodness.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:53 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


who's volunteering to design the book?who's doing layout? Who's editing the submissions? Where should people email their submissions?

I have many Thoughts on these and other issues raised. Running around a bit today, will post at length probably this evening.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:56 AM on April 26, 2016


Now, I'm sure there's someone on here who is a whiz at LaTex or something, but if no one wants to lay out a cookbook for free, I am okay with Indesign and could probably put something decent together. I say this not because I want to set myself up as an amazing layer-outer of books, but because I would hate to see this derail merely because literally no one has the time to put the physical object together.
posted by Frowner at 8:07 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd love to help out with organizing and editing (and also contribute something).
posted by brilliantine at 8:44 AM on April 26, 2016


I have some amazing TexMex recipes that I have been playing around with for years (Nopalitos, Picadillo, Carne Guisada, etc). That I'd love to share. I'm in!
posted by Benway at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2016


I propose an eponylicious section! lobstermitten can do lobster claws, mrs pterodactyl can do BBQ pterodactyl wings, and well, prize bull octorok's contribution is obvious.

Mine will melt all of your silicon cookware items.

Heat-resistant. Ha!
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can we leave out the chapter six volume set on how to brew coffee correctly?
posted by furnace.heart at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2016


I think we're all in agreement: Folgers crystals in a french press full of Four Loko
posted by Greg Nog at 9:20 AM on April 26, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think we're all in agreement: Folgers crystals in a french press full of Four Loko

How many times is it acceptable to re-use the grounds? And do I just stick the whole french press in the microwave, or...
posted by duffell at 9:22 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Microwave???? What are we, savages? You don't heat high cuisine in a microwave! You get those little single-use chemical hand-warmer packets and dump 'em in
posted by Greg Nog at 9:25 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just swaddle the french press in electric blankets, turn on high, and leave the house for several hours.
posted by duffell at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's the technique Nathan Myhrvold refers to as "the Caffeine Baby"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:32 AM on April 26, 2016


Actually, I'm realizing that a single MeTa I posted references four cocktails and a condiment:

* the sidecars I was drinking
* The dilly beans I sent to deezil
* the thing that Deezil said in-thread that he made up, and someone else in-thread suggested it be named "The Golden God"
* the "EmpressCallipgyos Cocktail," which I still think should involve peach in some way

And if you want the recipe for the brandied cherries which lead to the sidecars, then that's five recipes alone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2016


So, as asked above, are we talking about scraping the site to collect, collate and cull recipes that have previously been posted or are we talking about starting anew?

I would like to never again have anything like the Thread of Betrayal we had when the emotional labor pdf thing happened so maybe let's not ever compile stuff that people posted on the site even if it seems like in theory recipe scraping would be totally uncontroversial.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:38 AM on April 26, 2016 [13 favorites]


Ya, I would want this to be entirely opt-in only.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love community cookbooks. I have a box of my grandmother's recipes, some good canning/pickles/jam recipes, and some good ones for preparing wild game. I'd be in for contributing something, I'd have to narrow it down first.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 10:05 AM on April 26, 2016


are you kidding me, give us soups
posted by poffin boffin at 10:19 AM on April 26, 2016 [14 favorites]


You can't handle the soups
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 10:48 AM on April 26, 2016 [17 favorites]


I mean, really. You go bragging about uncomplicated soups and then you want to give us game recipes?

Pffft.
posted by cooker girl at 10:50 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I will share my husband's nana's meatball recipe and my zucchini bread recipe. If I am feeling really, really generous, I might be persuaded to share my brunch casserole recipe that is the best brunch food EVER. It's really pretty awesome.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:18 AM on April 26, 2016


I love this idea, and I would love to contribute!

Among other things, I have a recipe for yummy and healthy-ish* breakfast cookies that is a personal recipe of mine. (I don't know if it counts as 100% original since I started off by reading a bunch of different recipes for breakfast cookies online and then used those as inspiration while I experimented until I got the right balance of healthy and tasty.)

*The "ish" is mostly due to the chocolate chips. Chocolate is the only thing other than nicotine that will get me out of bed first thing in the morning, and since I don't smoke any more, I've got to make do with baked goods.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I propose that each recipe include guidelines on how long the finished dish will keep under various degrees of refrigeration.
posted by contraption at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


> I propose that each recipe include guidelines on how long the finished dish will keep under various degrees of refrigeration.

Hey, any molecular/microbiologists want to do some profiling of my vegetarian dishes at t=0,1,8,24h post preparation by taking a sample to grow in media?

What I'm saying is: is there anyone who could plate my beans?
posted by Westringia F. at 1:17 PM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm in.
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on April 26, 2016


I'm in too; the hard part will be deciding what recipe to contribute. Borscht or lazy perogies.
posted by Mitheral at 4:34 PM on April 26, 2016


me too! me too!
posted by key_of_z at 4:36 PM on April 26, 2016


I'd love to see a version or section with quick and easy-to-throw-together stuff that barely qualifies as "recipes."
posted by moira at 5:48 PM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


RECIPE FOR: A BANANA

1. Buy banana (long yellow fruit)
2. peel and eat the squishy part, throw away the peel
3. digest and later defecate the unusable portions
posted by Greg Nog at 6:53 PM on April 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


There are no unusable portions of a banana of you're doing it right.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2016


I'm a reasonably good cook and could probably put in a few recipes, but honestly, my entire reputation rests on my (chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal) no-bake cookies, the kind that we fought over in elementary school.
posted by sapere aude at 8:37 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wait, which end of the banana do I start peeling from?
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, and then there's my favorite dish to make/eat, a simple beef and snow peas stir fry. You can throw in other veggies or different protein, of course, but meat + sauce + rice + enough vegetables not to make me feel like a heathen is more or less my idea of heaven. Actually, I've been known to have meals that are literally just meat...no sides, no veggies. Just meat. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. It's one step above just having a bar of chocolate for breakfast. Not that I would do that.*

But anyway, the point is I finally got the right ingredients ratios to make it delicious.

And now I'm desperately craving this stir fry. I guess I know what I'm making for dinner this weekend.

*Okay, fine, I may have done that once or twice.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2016


Also, I'd like thrown in my support for having a free ebook and a print on demand hard copy that costs some reasonable amount of money. It might be nice if there were a way to set up an optional mefi donation when we distribute the ebook, but since this is going to be a mefite driven project and no one is getting paid to do it, it only seems right to offer it up to mefites for free in an ebook format.

Anyway, this is a great idea, and I'm super excited to see other mefites recipes!
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:14 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is delightful. Count me in. I have a good recipe for spam and kimchi fried rice....
I also have gotten better at the Korean pantry staples.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:05 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also chiming in about the ebook/real book divide, in that I'd definitely like to see a print-on-demand thing but would prioritize actually putting the recipes together.
posted by solarion at 10:07 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


my entire reputation rests on my ... no-bake cookies

My father was really into cooking food fresh from the garden, but a no-bake processed food recipe was always what got him the most thanks. We lived on a small farm and grew enough things for it to be worth selling at the farmer's market or by the roadside or whatnot every year, and what he took from that occasionally turned into some dish that guests would enjoy pretty well. But the only recipe I remember other folks asking for year after year originally came off the side of a box of Dream Whip: No-Bake Pumpkin Dream Pie. He would make like six of them every Thanksgiving because it was easy and it earned him so much praise. I haven't had it since he passed away, so I dunno if it holds up as well as the memory, but that's the one thing I'd call a family recipe.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:22 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is an awesome idea and one I've thought a few times we should have yet never thought to suggest.
posted by Jubey at 2:21 AM on April 27, 2016


RECIPE FOR: A BANANA

1. Buy banana (long yellow fruit)
2. peel and eat the squishy part, throw away the peel
3. digest and later defecate the unusable portions


I can't believe you, Greg Nog. Throwing away perfectly "good" banana peels.
posted by cooker girl at 5:50 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm in. Awaiting instructions for submitting recipes.
posted by beagle at 6:24 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


This sounds amazing. I don't know that I have recipes to contribute, but I definitely want the finished product!
posted by needlegrrl at 7:12 AM on April 27, 2016


Me, me, me! I'm a baker mostly, but I can cook, too, and how many recipes would you like?

Probably my key lime pie and the peanut butter and nutella frosting. Or the candied-bacon cayenne-cream cheese-frosted buttermilk chocolate cupcakes. I've already shared my apple pie recipe.
posted by PearlRose at 7:41 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have some Mexican recipes I'd like to contribute!

Also, I second the need for tasters - maybe we can vote on what recipes make it in and we can prepare the recipes to test them before they go in the final thing?
posted by cobain_angel at 9:36 AM on April 27, 2016


So okay, it seems like there's enough interest in this to make it go. What's the next step?

Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. If we want to make a physical book, we're going to end up with more recipes than will fit, unless we want to do The Joy of Mefite Cooking or Mefi Gastronomique or something. How will we select?

2. We could easily end up with lots of great recipes that still don't fit. Could we make an online home for them?

3. Who actually wants to be part of the select group of mefites who makes such a thing happen? I'm in.
posted by Frowner at 10:47 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay so a few things:

Title: Can I Eat It? (perhaps subtitled 'The MetaFilter Cookbook') is the BEST I think. Thoughts?

eBook (free) + POD hardcover seems like the best solution. Is it possible with POD services to set the price at cost only? If not, extra money needs to go somewhere.

Opt-in only. Scrape your own recipes sure, but nobody else's.

Attribution: I think it seems wise for people to be able to choose:
- real name
- username
- real + user
- anonymous

I think perhaps people can submit three recipes each, and as we compile we can winnow down to one recipe per person. (Although that said I kinda like MetaFilter Gastronomique). Personally I'd love for everyone to include a little anecdote with their recipes. Makes cookbooks much more approachable.

Getting all the recipes into a usable format will likely take software to make conversions simple. I think there are two potential approaches:
- two versions, one metric/weight, one Imperial
- one version with both for each recipe.

TESTING YES THIS IS AN IMPORTANT THING. So many recipes are written so terrifically badly.

Photography would also be a) cool, and b) useful. How to do?

Beyond that, I think trying to sort all this stuff out in a MeTa post will get unwieldy quickly. Can we use the wiki for this? Which could then become a repository for the recipes that don't end up in the book.

Oh and I LOVE the idea of a whole section devoted to quick/weeknight/etc meals. Perhaps as the first chapter really.

Thoughts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


3. Who actually wants to be part of the select group of mefites who makes such a thing happen?

Me me me! Pick me!

Thoughts?

Those are all good thoughts and I like them.
posted by cooker girl at 11:50 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thoughts?

Break down the process of putting the book together into concrete steps and then try to get several volunteers for each step. Putting a book together can be hard, even when its your main job. Having several people allows folks to spread things out, so no one gets overwhelmed.

Style Sheets are your best friend within Indesign.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2016


Also once we iron out exactly how we're going to manage the process, could there be a dismissable site banner for a little while inviting people to submit recipes?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, you definitely want to develop workflow so that each recipe and be tagged or sorted based on where they are in the workflow. Cheapest way, off the top of my head, is to set up a Wordpress site with custom statuses (you can probably do this with a wiki or some otherway, this is just the though process). This has the bonus of setting up a web presence for publishing all or selected items.

So your statuses might be like so:
Received
Initial Edit
Selected for book
Sent to Testing
Tested
Flowed to Indesign
Ok'd by proofer(s)
Approved by Editor in Chief
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on April 27, 2016


I'm willing to help out with this project - whether it be recipe testing or something more administrative.
posted by nolnacs at 12:18 PM on April 27, 2016


based on prior askme questions, I think it may be useful to have a section on basics.
incuding but not limited to:
holding a knife
how to measure
cutting boards
using a knife
using a peeler
types of pots and their uses
types of pans and their uses
a glossary
handwashing
cutting, slicing, dicing, mincing
peeling garlic, carrots, potatoes, apples
oils and their uses

etc. etc.
I volunteer myself to write and act as hand model a la Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:48 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would like to help out with this, too.
posted by Ruki at 1:10 PM on April 27, 2016


Photography would also be a) cool, and b) useful. How to do?

Could people just take photos of their own dish and submit them with the recipe? I like the idea of seeing all the different pots and tablecloths and background cats of my fellow MeFites because I'm so very nosy

Can I put in a request to keep the discussion here for a while? At least until it's decided how the recipes will be submitted? I'm more likely to read it here - sorry if that's just me, ignore me at will.
posted by billiebee at 1:46 PM on April 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Me too! Do recipes for Sangria count?
posted by chaoticgood at 1:52 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm happy to help with proofing and copy editing -- I was a typesetter and all other pre-press stuff for over 20 years. Cook? I mean, I can, but I don't. I do, however, collect recipes, so this would of interest. Can we not do an e-book? I prefer a pdf as I don't do e-books in any way, shape, or form. And POD is good. Let me know if I can help.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:21 PM on April 27, 2016


Could people just take photos of their own dish and submit them with the recipe? I like the idea of seeing all the different pots and tablecloths and background cats of my fellow MeFites because I'm so very nosy

This is a pretty great idea.

Can I put in a request to keep the discussion here for a while? At least until it's decided how the recipes will be submitted?

Oh yes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:26 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm in for testing.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2016


I'm in! I will definitely submit a recipe or three once that process is sorted.

I also tentatively volunteer to design and typeset. (Qualifications: book design is literally my day job. Reason for tentativeness: This could easily turn to into a hell-job without lots of editors and organization.)
posted by (Over) Thinking at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seeing as I think I've mentioned shakshuka in about fifty different "what should I cook" ask threads at this point, I'm kind of honor bound to provide a recipe.
posted by Itaxpica at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


If I may request: could the recipe authors please try to be as precise as possible in the listing of ingredients?

While I know a lot of times precise amounts aren't necessary (a "handful" of parsley in a batch of hummus, for example), they can leave an unfamiliar reader kind of stymied (is a handful a cup? a half a cup? how big is this person's hand?). Even if it requires that the author guess as to the precise amount, I submit that a guess of "1/8 tsp" is more useful than something nebulous like "a smidge".

For the record, this will likely be difficult for me to adhere to also, as most of my recipes are in my head and rely on selfwritten rules like "a reasonable clodgin of paprika right here", but I think this attempt at author precision would go a long way towards making the final book a useable and well-loved member of all our kitchens.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:52 PM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty much worthless at actually making a cookbook happen, but I'd be happy to help test recipes, if that's something that would help y'all. And I have a few to submit, and I'd pay real dollars to own such a thing (I also like the free PDF idea).
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:05 PM on April 27, 2016


greg i am 100% sure that you have multiple recipes featuring "all the garlic you have in the house right now" as an ingredient
posted by poffin boffin at 7:06 PM on April 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


greg i am 100% sure that you have multiple recipes featuring "all the garlic you have in the house right now" as an ingredient

Wait, there are other measurements for garlic?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:12 PM on April 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well, there's all the garlic you have in the house, there's "you don't have nearly enough garlic in the house, what were you thinking when you started this recipe, I hope you haven't put the chicken in the oil yet" and the venerable "Dracula is coming over for dinner" amount.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:19 PM on April 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Yay! Time for sexyrobot's 5-bean, 4-star, 3-alarm, 2-hot-to-handle, 1-of-a-kind vegetarian chili! :D

Photography would also be a) cool, and b) useful. How to do?

I would suggest some simple guidelines for if you choose to include a photo:
1) a minimum file size like 1500x2000px, for clarity.
2) photo must include at least 1 white object (plate, background, prop, etc) so that colors can be balanced in post.
3) include a link to full-sized image with your recipe

Should this project get the rare non-link fpp (so the majority of the user base can participate) with maybe the header bar used as a heads-up for when it goes live?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:34 AM on April 28, 2016


the venerable "Dracula is coming over for dinner" amount.

Which even here, could be open to interpretation, depending on whether you welcome Dracula as a dinner guest (in which case the amount would be "none") or whether you don't (in which case it would be "infinity and beyond").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on April 28, 2016


i taste just like chicken
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:06 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


BBQ or fried? Asking for a friend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:25 AM on April 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


depending on whether you welcome Dracula as a dinner guest

Wouldn't you have to?
posted by Etrigan at 10:29 AM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Thirding the suggestion that a wiki might be the best way to put this together.
posted by beagle at 11:52 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


So there should be fights between every recipe.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:10 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not in the main section of the book. That's what the MetaBook appendix is for, you gormless wanker.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:26 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have two satisfying and simple recipes I can contribute. One is a vegetarian dish of mine own invention and the other, a gift from a friend years ago, has some tuna in it. And if you want we could have them fight.

I have a food story. I used to do a solo show years ago, a tabletop puppetry thing with characters played by real food and omnipotent me handling them. An onion and a banana went out for dinner. Things happened, not fighting, not fucking and not much eating, but several very messy and untidy things. The entire cast - the onion, the banana, a steak, a carrot, a potato, an egg (raw), a quantity of peas and some black coffee - travelled in an esky. After one show I forgot to empty the esky for a few days. It was summer. I had never seen nor smelt a potato gone completely liquid before.

But even if it doesn't have odorous stories or recipe fights, I think this cookbook project is a great idea and MetaFilter: Can I Eat This? gets my vote for title.
posted by valetta at 8:43 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are DK cookbooks which show photos of every ingredient and every step. While this sort of thing doesn't scale well, it is SOOPER helpful when dealing with vague quantities or instructions.

Will there be the possibility of making a corpus of all the raw inputs, in case someone is curious?

Can we also get a Rosetta Stone of conversions among various units? That would be a sweet download (or kitchen art infographic) on its own!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:52 PM on April 29, 2016


I think vague quantities/instructions will likely get tidied up in the testing process.

Ideally, it seems to me that the recipes will need to be printed with both metric and imperial, either volumetric or weight (depending on how submitted) with as you say a Rosetta Stone table of conversions elsewhere in the book.

Who administers the actual wiki?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:53 AM on April 30, 2016


[crickets]

the simplest solution might be to use the mefi wiki, but with subpages enabled (it's disabled by default). then you could create a page like Recipes, and "underneath" people could create "Recipes/SausagePie" or whatever. i think that would only require that someone enables subpages, which might be possible even sans pb. iiuc.

(personally i don't have much faith in wikis or groups. i suspect the only way this has a chance of working is if some saint says "mail me your recipes" and does all the work of collating (with little formatting, no testing, no units conversion, no photos, no ... heck, the best cookbook in our house was something similar from my old school, made on a photocopier from people's notes). but since i am not volunteering for that i'll shut up now.)
posted by andrewcooke at 10:23 AM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am inclined to agree with that assessment, and also would be a jerk if I even tried to volunteer because I don't have the time or most of the necessary skills.

I do not understand wikis as a communication device, since to me they are non-linear and non-chronological. They have no workflow engine, as far as I can tell, to move a recipe from stage to stage.

And in any case, yes, I think an actually-attainable goal here would be more Fort Worth Junior League Cookbook 1979 , less Ottolenghi. No testing, no conversion, one or two photos provided by author since those are now easy to include in a document. Since we all come from the internet, conversions and substitutions can be easily obtained by the end-user.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:30 AM on May 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well there's already people volunteering to test, so it would be a shame to squander that resource.

I'm working on some ideas to make submission easier as a workflow thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:59 AM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


"no units conversion"
...well we could of course work out a catalogue of minimum requirements...

Conversions are so easy to make these days, so why not have measurements etc. in both litres/grams/°C etc. and cups/tablespoons/pounds/°F etc.
Or at the very least the temperatures in both C and F; makes life so much easier when you're there with your greasy iPad in the kitchen.

Other possible pre-arranged conventions: minimum: 'serves two,' ideal: 'serves four.'

Shall there also be a background musings section? I like cooking-related background musings.
posted by Namlit at 1:32 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yup I would absolutely want everyone to submit a short anecdote (say 100 words max?) about the recipe. Funny, poignant, w/e. Cooking time and serving numbers/sizes, absolutely. For me the ideal submission would look like

fffm's foodular item
serves 4
1hr prep, 1 hr cooking

1 kg / 2 lbs extruded starch product
225 ml / 1c liquid

(etc)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:39 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


mmmmmm ... foodular itemmmmmm ...

I'm coming in late on this, but I hereby volunteer my services as graphic designer (25 years experience, including many books, some of which were of the cookery type) and PDF/POD production. I enjoy cocktails, long walks on the beach and highly specialized InDesign style sheets.

I also could be persuaded to provide a recipe or two. It sounds like we're not limiting ourselves to just "Grammy's Super Secret Fabulous Foodular Item"-type recipes?

If we're also at the point of specifying formatting (per your post above, fffm), how should partial increments be handled? Decimals or fractions? 1.5 cups? 1 1/2 cups? I have actually seen recipes that call for 1/8 of something — do enough people know that's 0.125?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:57 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Highly specialized InDesign style sheets

*gasps*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 PM on May 2, 2016


mon-ma-tron: " I have actually seen recipes that call for 1/8 of something — do enough people know that's 0.125?"

No. Actually I'd bet the majority of people don't know that without resorting to calculation.
posted by Mitheral at 1:24 AM on May 3, 2016


1.5 cups? 1 1/2 cups? I have actually seen recipes that call for 1/8 of something — do enough people know that's 0.125?

I'd say go with what the measurement device would commonly show. Cups usually say "1/2 cup" not "0.5 cup" and measuring spoons say "1/4 tsp" not "0.25 tsp", whereas a measuring jug will likely say "500ml" rather than "1/2 litre" and scales would say "100g" not "1/10kg".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:45 AM on May 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Cups - and teaspoons, tablespoons and so forth - vary between measurement regimes and IMO have no place in a cookbook. If we absolutely have to use them, please also specify standardised weights/volumes in every single recipe. I.e., "One 225ml cup of shaving cream, a 20ml tablespoon of goat saliva, and a 5ml teaspoon of spinal fluid."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:00 AM on May 3, 2016


Huh, I thought cups where standardised (abeit only used in the US), but turns out there's metric cups too!

If we absolutely have to use them

US-centrism, blah blah, I know, but be fair - most people here are American and cups are how they do measurements. I believe I'm right in saying most Americans don't even own weighing scales.

I think you could put whatever measurements you want as long as it specifies somewhere what region the units pertain too - I have US cup measures so a recipe that used those would be fine, for example.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:58 AM on May 3, 2016


one or two photos provided by author since those are now easy to include in a document.

If you do photos in color, the printed cookbook costs more. If you do 'em in black and white, they don't look good unless you're a really good photographer. Something to keep in mind. Some people would probably want to pay for the photo version and some people probably wouldn't. This might also be a good chance for people who like to draw to contribute.

Having just written most of a cookbook, in my opinion it might save a lot of time editing later if you establish a detailed recipe format at the beginning of the process. Since it's collaborative, it might not be too hard to ask everyone to optionally pre-format their recipe and then whoever does editing will have an easier job with the formatting later.

When I say detailed recipe format, I mean a checklist. Off the top of my head:
- Are all your ingredients listed in the order they appear?
- If several ingredients appear in the same step, are they listed from largest to smallest?
- Are all the ingredients in your list in your instructions and vice versa?
- Does every ingredient (except salt and pepper or similar) have a quantity?
- Makes [quantity] is a little more accurate than serves [number of people]. Case in point: how many servings are there in a pint of icecream? (the carton says four)
-Is this ingredient dry, fresh, etc?
- "to taste" doesn't get written in the ingredients list; just the ingredient.
- Spell out teaspoon/tablespoon etc?
- "1 teaspoon grated whatnots" is 1 teaspoon full of whatnot that has been grated. (this of course also applies to other verbs as well) "1 teaspoon whatnot, grated" is one teaspoon of whatnot, then you grate it.
- Include the degree symbol and specify fahrenheit or celcius.
- Is there any other recipe that needs attribution?
- If so, compare this recipe against the recipe that inspired it. Is it really a new recipe?
- No bullet points for the ingredients lists.
- Numbered instructions or not?
- Minimum/maximum recipe length?
- It's conventional to tell people to preheat the oven in the very first step, even if that isn't the place it most makes sense for "preheat the oven to temp" to go.
- Et cetera.
posted by aniola at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


aniola you are the very best

Are you interested in volunteering your skills in some capacity?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:58 AM on May 3, 2016


I cannot favorite aniola's post enough.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:31 PM on May 3, 2016


Other things that come to mind, triggered by aniola's post:
  • Measurements (especially if abbreviating): decide on consistent form, including capitalization tsp, Tsp, Tb, tbs, Tbs, C, cup, Cup, Ml, mls, mgs, L, &c ad infinitum.
  • Baked goods: The Weight/Volume War. I would agree that many people will not have a recipe that uses weights, especially if they're making Great-Nana Foo's Delicious Secret Recipe Biscuits. But, if a recipe does use one form, is it necessary to include the other(s)? Will we be required to submit/format recipes with ounces, milligrams, AND volume measurements? Who does that conversion/testing? The submitter? There are lots of conversion calculators online. If I don't have a scale and cook by volume (yes, I'm a philistine), and I want to make a recipe where the amounts are given in weights, is it my job to convert? Or the recipe submitter's?
  • Recipe headnotes: yes or no? Before the ingredients, right? What about other notes, like substitutions, or where to find exotic/regional ingredients? (Answer: Amazon and/or Google?)
  • Printing and/or electronic distribution: Lulu was mentioned above, are there other PoD providers that are better/cheaper? What size for the finished book? Bleed or no? Those especially need to be nailed down before design begins. Letter size would be most convenient for people who want the electronic version to print out themselves. Electronic format? PDF is definitely going to be better for keeping the design and any intricate formatting intact. How about bindery? Lulu offers a plasti-coil binding — great for laying flat while, say, cooking. Not super swanky-looking, though. Make sure the PoD vendor offers all the size/binding/file distribution format(s) we want.
It's been a long day and my brain is approaching mush, I'll probably think of more things later.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 6:01 PM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


As I said above re: measurements:

Ideally, it seems to me that the recipes will need to be printed with both metric and imperial, either volumetric or weight (depending on how submitted) with as you say a Rosetta Stone table of conversions elsewhere in the book.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:50 PM on May 3, 2016


We just checked out "Recipes Into Type: A Handbook for Cookbook Writers and Editors" through interlibrary loan and I recommend it. When I say "we" I mean we both saw something, probably via metafilter, that led us both to beeline to check this book out within minutes of each other. It's like a whole book full of information in the same line as my comment above. Some of the information is a little dated (1993) but it's still a solid reference book.
posted by aniola at 5:14 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am so in, with both recipes and time!

To anioloa's great suggestions, a bajillion years ago my mom took a cookbook writing class. I'm going to her place tomorrow and I'll see if she's got anything interesting that we can use or repurpose that isn't copyrighted.

I also like the free-form Junior League direction, like Lyn Never mentioned but if we do the former, I have a lot of professional experiences with web site editing and QA so I'd be a good set of eyes on the formatting end of things. (I also have a print design background but my skills would be more useful if we were making a tablet version. A stone tablet.

I hope marylynne is out there and will submit her bacon jam recipe.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:58 PM on May 8, 2016


I just want to speak up for a really simple cookbook. Not as in, simple recipes necessarily. But as in Junior League. I have many excellent recipes I would love to share. I do not have by any stretch the ability to join in on something that requires me to take pictures or do multiple conversions or format my recipe in a regal manner. This sounded like a lighthearted project that now seems to have grown to such a scale that enthusiasm has dropped off. Because now it seems like so much work it's a little overwhelming.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


1: Fetch bottle from refrigerator.
2: Lift top with bottle opener
3: Sit and sip tasty beery beverage.

End of recipe.
posted by Brockles at 9:53 AM on May 17, 2016


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah the Sriracha it burns this was not a tasty beery beverage at all abort abort
posted by Going To Maine at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm in for testing.

And contributing a recipe for butternut squash soup topped with tofu croutons.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd be happy to volunteer as an editor/proofreader, along with the recipe for a tomato-meat sauce that makes for incredible lasagna. Also one for roast chicken, since apparently nobody realizes how cheap and easy and satisfying it can be.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:22 PM on May 17, 2016


* for some value of "nobody"; present company excepted.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:23 PM on May 17, 2016


I have a particular sandwich recipe in mind. It's top secret.
posted by bologna on wry at 6:13 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm in--even if it means breaking out the kitchen scale to figure out exactly how many beans go into my bean and rice cakes.
posted by thecaddy at 8:28 AM on May 18, 2016


I'd be interested in making the index for this. I haven't done much since I took an indexing class in library school and it would be nice to do some again.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:19 AM on May 18, 2016


stoneweaver: pictures optional, conversions can be automated. Formatting of some sort is going to need to be standard for ease of compiling and for the end user.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:37 PM on May 18, 2016


Margalo Epps, do you happen to have a book recommendation on indexing? I'd like to read up on it for my own cookbook.
posted by aniola at 5:01 PM on May 18, 2016


I'm an art director, so if you need anyone to hover over a designer and point, let me know.
posted by culfinglin at 2:21 PM on May 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Aniola --
ANSI/NISO Z39.19 - Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies is the (more recently updated) version of what I have . It's extremely dry & technical. Handbook of Indexing Techniques would probably be more readable, if not quite as authoritative.

Joy of Cooking has a great index, if you're looking for examples.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:11 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, can we include a section of meals that do not require cooking? Or practically no cooking? Because I love all those recipes that have been posted for people like me who love to eat but are not fond of cooking. (I'm more of a baker and have a muffin recipe to contribute.) Example:

Speedy Trader Joe Sliders
Serves 1
1. Buy TJ BBQ pulled pork, chicken, brisket, or vegetarian pre-made protein chunks of your choice (which may not come in a BBQ sauce, I can't remember).
2. Buy TJ sesame-seed-studded mini burger buns.
3. Buy bag of arugula or other greens you enjoy plus appropriate no-cook sides and/or chips.
4. Open bag of buns and place 3 bottom buns on a microwave-safe plate. Cover each with 2 heaping tablespoons of BBQ protein mix of your choice. Add top bun to each slider.
5. Nuke plate for 30 seconds (or more, depending on microwave).
6. Remove tops of buns to add arugula or other greens, then replace. Add sides and/or chips and eat your sliders. Yum!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, I know MetaFilter is a hotbed of professionals but can we make this less work rather than more work somehow because volunteers?
posted by Bella Donna at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2016


Less work for who? The writers or the editors or the readers?
posted by aniola at 10:22 PM on May 20, 2016


The designers
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:14 PM on May 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I believe a couple of people have mentioned wanting to contribute their editing skills.
We could match them up with the people who feel overwhelmed by the formalities of recipe contributions.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:57 AM on May 24, 2016


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