Hey, I'm a Super Judge!
...for this year's IACP annual Cookbook Awards.
Right now there are boxes of books in my laundry room. It’s heavenly!
Technically, I must have them if there are any questions. That’s because I am a super judge for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual cookbook awards.
I’ve been a member of the cookbook awards committee before. Back in 2004, the process was a little different. Once IACP announced the book finalists, they flew the judges to New York and put us up in a hotel. We argued over the Cookbook of the Year (Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet) and other awards in a conference room of Food & Wine magazine.
The next day IACP presented a half-day seminar titled “The Persona in Food Writing,” which I was lucky enough to attend. All the panelists were local superstars: New York critic Gael Greene, Serious Eats founder Ed Levine, food writer Molly O’Neill, Esquire and GQ critic Alan Richman, New York Times critic Mimi Sheraton, Vogue columnist Jeffrey Steingarten, critics and cookbook authors Jane and Michael Stern, and the New Yorker’s Calvin Trillin.
Those were the days! Now I we do our IACP administrative work remotely. I can’t complain. It’s pretty fun work. I wish I could tell you more, but IACP asks that we keep the process confidential.
Aren’t you sick of doing everything from home, though? I am. I was home for my recent panel on how to get a cookbook deal, at the Tastemaker conference in Chicago. It was due to my broken ankle and Covid. But I participated anyway, through the magic of Zoom. Note my giant head, which stared out at attendees for the entire hour. LOL.
That’s me, Sean and Mary Cressler of the blog Vindulge, and vegan cookbook author Kathy Hester. Photo courtesy of Emily of @legallyhealthyblonde.
At last, I will be live and in person at the IACP conference in Pittsburgh next month. Will I see you there? I’m teaching an optional 2-hour class called So You Want to Write a Cookbook on Friday. But from Friday through Sunday, I’ll also be roaming the halls, attending sessions and looking for people to talk with IRL. I can’t wait!
Lastly, The Well Seasoned Librarian interviewed me about my book and food writing: Dianne Jacob (Will Write for Food 4th Ed/The United States of Pizza) Season 6 Episode 7.
What I’m eating:
We went away for a long weekend with friends who are obsessed with a particular French bakery. They are on a first-name basis with the owner, for reasons that will soon be obvious. Above is a brioche bun with raisins and walnuts. Behind it is a sweet brioche slice stuffed with apple. The four of us also shared an almond croissant, a croissant stuffed with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, breakfast croissants, a blueberry marzipan tart, a Napoleon, a lemon meringue pie slice, a cinnamon bun covered with walnuts, a cinnamon twist, and a slice of chocolate layer cake. All over 2.5 days. Draw your own conclusions about my weight gain.
On My Blog
How to Write Award-Winning Cookbooks. Lebanon’s Barbara Abdeni Massaad gives us 11 insights on how she came to win several national awards for her books, including the well-received fundraiser Soup for Syria.
Classes and Events
Jumpstart Your Cookbook Proposal
May 2, 9 and 16, 2022
Civic Kitchen Zoom: Three 3-hour classes
13 students maximum
If you're procrastinating about writing your cookbook proposal, you're not sure what to write, or you need accountability and support, take this class.
I’ll provide practical, strategic advice and moral support. I'll cover how the publishing industry works and what editors and agents look for in a proposal. You will write first drafts of several sections in class. At the end of three weeks, you'll have the start of a proposal, with the knowledge of how to make it irresistible to an agent or editor.
Bonus: It's difficult to see someone’s successful cookbook proposal, but I'll share one of mine, which led to a beautiful cookbook by Rizzoli.
Here’s what Jennifer Henshall said about the class:
“I wanted to thank you, again, for the fantastic cookbook proposal writing workshop. I'm thrilled that I took your advice and registered for the class! I learned so much from you and feel as if I now have a solid foundation and plan for recipe development, proposal writing and increasing my social media numbers. It was an extremely beneficial class and I really appreciate all of the valuable insight and knowledge that you shared -- particularly the sample proposal, which I've already read through several times.
Since I enjoy your teaching style so much, I also registered for your upcoming How to Write for Food Publications and Websites class.”
One-hour consult: $250
For years I've had a five-hour minimum for consulting. But now, through Delicious Experiences, we can do a Zoom call for just one hour or more. If you’ve wanted to start on your dream cookbook, get your book published, or get better freelance assignments, let’s move you forward with your goals. Writers at all levels have booked me to discuss a variety of topics.
What I'm Reading
“I try much harder these days to acknowledge other people’s work than I did when I was at Serious Eats. Especially in the recipe space, people seem to have a difficult time saying where they got their idea from. On some level, I understand why, but also, when you think about it, there is no downside. People aren’t going to judge you worse because you’re generous with crediting other people. If I see someone use one of my recipes without citing it, that used to bother me a lot, and I would make a public thing about it. But it doesn’t really bother me anymore.”
How Emily Nunn Turned Salad Into a Soapbox. The New York Times’ Kim Severson profiles Nunn, who has one of the highest-ranked Substack newsletters on food.
Board Certified: New Cookbooks 2022. Yes, (charcuterie) board cookbooks are all the rage, officially.
Haven’t We Told Julia Child’s Story Enough? I think so, and so does this author.
What Is the Arabesque Kitchen? A look at cookbooks from the Arab world. The author hopes for “…a community of food authorities from the Arabic-speaking world and its diaspora that thinks together and learns with other communities.”
3,000 cookbooks is just the beginning. How cookbook libraries are expanding the historical picture of American cuisine. And speaking of that, here’s The Roman Museum With a Taste for Historical Cookbooks.
Our Favorite Food Sharing Sites. Food Blogger Pro shares its list of recipe aggregator sites that help amplify blogger recipes and drive traffic to your blog.
Troubling the canon of culinary brilliance. An interview with Mayukh Sen about publishing gatekeepers and the women he profiled in Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America.
Chowhound Closes After 25 Years of Food Obsession, Wisdom and Debate. An era ends for the national forum for dining and discourse. Also see Before I Became a Food Writer, I Was a Chowhound. Luke Tsai, KQED’s food editor, reminisces.
Feminine Ending/Masculine Ending. On MFK Fisher’s Gastronomical Me.
Should Cookbook Authors Employ Sensitivity/Authenticity Readers? An editor who conducts this kind of reads for a living weighs in.
‘Influencer Network’ the FeedFeed Hit With Lawsuit Alleging Workplace Racism and Sexism. It’s Bon Appetit all over again, this time with Jake Cohen.
The 22 Best Cookbooks for Spring 2022. From Food & Wine.
19 New Cookbooks and Culinary Titles for Spring 2022. A food and drink list curated by the Tatler.
The 18 Best Cookbooks of Spring 2022. Caribbean, Korean, vegan, barbecue and lox: it’s all here.
The Best Vegan Cookbooks, According to BA Editors. Interesting idea for a mainstream magazine.
I've cooked over 1,000 of Ina Garten's recipes — here's what I've learned. Blogger Trent Pheifer gives his tips on surviving the pandemic.
Renowned cookbook author Mollie Katzen selling her Berkeley Hills home for $2M. It went for way more than that, I suspect. It sure was fun to take a peek inside.
The Owner of Bold Fork Books Is a Cookbook Obsessive. Here Are Her Favorites. An interview with the Washington, D.C. cookbook store owner.
Fantasy Author Raises $15.4 Million in 24 Hours to Self-Publish. I know this is not about cookbooks, but this guy is crushing it as a self-published author. An inspiring read.
The Unsung Women of the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens. The secret to the success of Betty Crocker, says Marks, was the talent in the kitchen.
Coming up in my next paid newsletter
Chandra Ram, Food & Wine’s senior digital editor, tells us what she’s looking for in freelanced stories. And she gives out her email so you can pitch her directly. This is a big deal!
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News About Clients and Students
(I like to brag about food writing accomplishments here. Send me an email: email@example.com.)
Nancy Singleton Hachisu will write The Japanese Vegetarian Cookbook, with 275 recipes, for Phaidon.
Taste published Reem Kassis’s piece Age Your Yogurt, Open Your Mind.
Jennifer McGruther’s new cookbook is Vibrant Botanicals from Ten Speed.
Thanks for Reading
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Editor, Writer and Coach
Office: (510) 923-1770
Disclosures: I am an affiliate of Food Blogger Pro, Amazon and Bookshop.org.