Despite the recent monsoon here in New York, I ventured down to SoHo to hear two of my favorite food writers talk about writing a cookbook with WNYC radio host Leonard Lopate. Joining Lopate was a frequent show guest, New York Times "A Good Appetite" columnist Melissa Clark and Smitten Kitchen blogger and cookbook author Deb Perelman.
They were a good pair--enthusiastic about their work and thoughtful in their advice. They were also self-deprecating. Clark, it turns out, is obsessed with how to cut back on the number of bowl and utensils per recipe. Perelman is a prisoner of measuring and precision.
Both talked about the necessity of finding a voice and a perspective. Agreeing that every cook should have a signature item--Perelman is quite proud of her scones--they discussed how they approached assembling a book. Perelman's cookbook is not just a rework of her blog recipes, and she Googles every recipe to be aware of what is already out there. Clark is frequently tapped as a co-author, and she has several books of her own.
Clark said a cookbook writer needs to be a good teacher. Recipes take a lot of things for granted--that you would know how to pit an avocado for instance. Both come up with a recipe a week. Clark's most recent Times recipe was Lamb with Green Tomatoes She chose green tomatoes--although it is October--because of the abundance end of season tomatoes that never get to ripen.
Perelman said it is critical to write everyday and cook everyday. Clark encouraged people to take a writing class, share their work, and take the feedback.
The talk was part of a series "Lopates and Locavores" at the The Greene Space. Click here to watch the full video and see the great recipes that were made on-site: kale, pecorino popcorn and dark chocolate bark with bacon and pomegranates.
Upcoming events include Krista Tippett Live: Discovering the Cosmology of Bach on November 4 and Jim Gaffigan in Conversation on November 6.