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How can I write a cookbook?

I want to write a cookbook for a family cookbook that maybe I might want to try and publish depending on how it turns out. Something that will make them want to be more healthy and eat better with tips and tricks. I've found some recipe's but when I went to ask for permission to use them, one place wanted $50. One place said I could use it in a mass email, magazine, newspaper, but not a book. If I were to change some of the ingredients (like my mashed potatoes don't have to be GARLIC mashed potatoes) and the wording of the directions - would that make it my own enough to not be copywriting?

Answer Question

Asked by augsmom at 5:16 PM on Jan. 10, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 9 (359 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • i think making ur own cookbook is good. however maybe u should ask ur family members if they have recipes that were passed down to them. i have several passed down that i have made adjustments to and now wrote in my family tree book

    Answer by knagsmom at 5:18 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • Probably. You will find the same recipe in a dozen different cookbooks and food columns written by a dozen different people. Often the ingredients are EXACTLY the same, sometimes slightly different, and usually the instructions will be worded differently. Many people have the same idea for recipes, or have made similar healthy changes to family favorites. It's very hard to prosecute people and prove that they stole a recipe from you, when you can probably find the same recipe elsewhere anyway.

    I was a food columnist for many years. I found recipes that I'd published in other books or magazines both before and after I'd written.

    Write your healthy cookbook, and talk to a publisher or editor. Good luck, and have fun. If you want to message me privately feel free.

    Answer by ohwrite at 5:22 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • HA! My sister said the same thing - here's the recipe for yams; 5 medium sweet potatoes, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 sticks butter.........I don't think if I changed any of this I would yield the same result. (Yumminess). I have a whole cookbook of family recipes - but I was looking for more day-to-day things that could get my mother-in-law into a regular routine for my father-in-law that just came out of triple bypass surgery today. I might be strung up from a tree if these southern women saw what I did to THEIR recipes. :) :) :)

    Comment by augsmom (original poster) at 5:23 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • Make your own recipes. Use influence and ideas from other people, but just changing an ingredient or two defeats the purpose. Find a niche (vegetarian, easy to cook, inexpensive, low fat - whatever) and then alter recipe IDEAS to fit this niche. For example: mashed potatoes - make them with apple sauce and veggie stock instead of butter it cuts the fat in a big way. Work on substituting ingredients in recipes to make them uniquely useful. Take they good parts of several different recipes and make them into a single dish. Try getting some ingredients that fit your niche (vegetables, low fatty foods, inexpensive ingredients) and think of a recipe that you already like, then get to cooking with what you have. Don't look at proportions, just guess and alter to perfection. Good luck!!!


    Answer by ashleyaction at 5:25 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • Augsmom, I am not trying to discourage you from writing a cookbook, however, if your only intent is to make your family members eat healthier, then it is not going to happen. People will eat what they want. If they want to eat fried southern food, then that is what they are going to eat. If they want to eat healthier, then they will eat healthier. You writing a cookbook is not going to change how they eat. If they wanted to eat healthier then they would have bought a cookbook for healthy foods.


    Answer by JeremysMom at 7:39 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • To expand on ohwrite stated, the ingredients of a recipe can't be copywritten, but the instructions or pictures with a recipe CAN. So, technically you can take any recipe you find and copy it, you just need to write your own instructions to go with it.

    But I also agree that you should try to come up with some things on your own that hasn't been done before.

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 7:58 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • PRIMARILY, I'm trying to help my mother-in-law, who just doesn't understand. I figured her husband is MUCH like my husband (her son) so - she was probably having the same problems finding yummy eats. She truly does want to help her husband. :)

    Comment by augsmom (original poster) at 8:24 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • interesting. I would write one but I never measure :)

    Answer by chefjen at 9:10 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

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