Maybe it has an interesting name or a short, approachable ingredient list. Perhaps the thought of it brings you to another place and another time. Or maybe it just plain sounds delicious. In The Wall Street Journal recently, cookbook author Rozanne Gold explores some of her own tactics in getting readers to want to make a recipe. Sure, catchy titles are a good starting point but will only go so far. She mentions that the recipes should be intriguing yet easy to pull off. Readers want to work with what they've got and I can certainly attest to that. I hate feeling as though I need to drive to three different grocery stores to pick up each ingredient on a rather long list.
Gold mentions how action words like "double-rise" pancakes or "overnight" tabbouleh often entice readers, too. It sounds interesting and exciting -- the food is familiar but perhaps you've never approached it that way before. I chuckled reading this, remembering when I read about Alice Medrich's brownie recipe and how, after baking the brownies, she submerges the pan in cold water because it gives the edges an unbelievable crispness. I have my favorite brownie recipe. I've baked dozens upon dozens of brownies. But yes, I had to try this one.
So how about you? What really attracts you to a recipe and makes you feel as though you must come back to it?
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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