“ACK!” you say. “I don’t want to write a cookbook!”
I agree. That’s never been an item on my bucket list. I have Pepperplate and Pinterest to keep track of my recipes, and they both do an excellent job of that task.
But consider: if you’re like me, you’re on a limited income, so you can’t afford to buy expensive gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christmas, or any of the many other occasions we celebrate by giving gifts.
Enter The Custom Cookbook
But wait! There is something you can give that hardly costs anything more than your time. Not only that, but it is a personal gift of your own creation.
I’m talking about gathering together all your favorite recipes and kitchen tips and creating your very own electronic cookbook! Once you’ve created it, it’s a simple task to burn it to CD or DVD and give it to your friends or loved ones on an appropriate occasion.
And again, if you’re like me, you’ve already got an extensive recipe collection in electronic form in Pepperplate. It’s just a matter of copying those recipes and combining them into a single file. That’s something I did years ago (long before Pepperplate) in Microsoft Word, but now there’s a better way.
Scrivener “is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.” That’s what the web site says, but let me try to put it into practical terms.
Scrivener is a complete writing environment. From initial research through to final publication, every single task involved in creating (in this case) a cookbook can be done within Scrivener. In fact, that’s how I write this blog. Any research I do, I file under the Research heading. Each year has a folder, inside which there is a separate folder for each month of the year. And inside each monthly folder is where I write the actual entry for a given day.
When I’m satisfied with an entry, I copy and paste it into Open Live Writer (OLW) and post it to the blog. I’ve found OLW to be the best tool available to preview the entry and then post it.
Formatting A Cookbook
In the case of a cookbook, instead of a folder for each year, you could have a folder for each recipe type. For example:
- Etc., etc., etc.
Each of those folders could, depending on how far down you wanted to break each category (”Meats,” for example, could contain “Beef,” Lamb,” “Pork,” etc.) contain sub-folders. Regardless, once you’ve got things structured as you want, you can start adding recipes, either by creating a new document and then copying & pasting from your existing recipe, or by using Scrivener’s Import function.
For details on everything Scrivener, I would address your attention to Scrivener’s support pages. They do a far better job of explaining things than I can!
For the longest time Scrivener only came in two versions: Windows or Mac OS. But this week they announced the long-awaited (and much desired) iOS version for the iPhone and iPad. Naturally, I bought my copy!
I’ve configured both my iPad and laptop versions to save their files to Dropbox, so I can access them anywhere I have an Internet connection. This will be especially handy next month, which will find me on the road (well, to be honest, the rail) to Seattle, WA. Stacey and I have finally decided the time is right to head home to the Upper Left Coast. I’ll be traveling by Amtrak, and I’m bringing my iPad, laptop, and camera to document my journey. Stacey and Fyona will follow later by car.
So I would strongly urge you to investigate Scrivener, even if you have no desire to write a cookbook. It is the perfect writing tool for all your creative endeavors. You can download an evaluation copy, which is free to use for 30 days of writing. And that’s 30 actual days. For example, if you write every day, it’s 30 days. If you only use it two days a week, that’s 15 weeks of use.
As your mother used to tell you, “You’ll thank me later.”