With all the tasks you have to do in order to style and shoot your delectable creations, you may wonder why you should take the time to document a recipe. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. So how can it possibly benefit you to write the words in addition to providing the picture?
There are numerous reasons for writing a recipe. The first and foremost is so that you can produce consistent results. Think about times you’ve made the perfect lasagna, only to have it look or taste slightly “off” the next time. By documenting ingredients and their exact amounts, as well as the steps you took to prepare a dish, you will have everything you need to make the dish the exact same the next time.
The process of writing a recipe also helps you to create a shopping list. When you take the time to record exactly what you’re using and how much, you can quickly scan your kitchen to see what’s missing, and put together a shopping list. This keeps your trips to the store to a minimum, and helps to avoid frustration.
Recipes are also a great way of preserving family history. We all have our special dishes that we prepare for ourselves, our celebrations, and our loved ones. Why not pass along the joy of the recipes and help a family member learn to cook a favorite dish of yours? Whether it’s grandma’s recipe for the special dessert that she brings to potluck gatherings, or your own updated spin on the Thanksgiving turkey, having a written record of your recipes will let your family members recreate the dishes they’ve loved at family events. And just imagine the joy of attending a family gathering where one of your relatives makes your recipe the same way you made it.
Extending beyond the family, recipes can be a way of teaching others. You can host a forum for readers of your blog, teaching them how to make and style on of your recipes. Or you can gather neighbors together for a food exchange, and exchange recipes at the same time. And, you can bring your love of cooking to children, showing them how to make a cherished food, and giving them the recipe so they can prepare it in their own home after the lesson.
And finally, but not least, documenting recipes is a great way to earn money. Food companies are always looking for ways to entice customers to buy their goodies. Providing a recipe is a great way, so food manufacturers will often hire recipe writers. These recipes can appear on the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, as well as on product packages, and in videos and appearances. If you’re in touch with a sponsor whose product you use, you can approach the brand about getting paid to write a recipe. Sponsors look for a well-written recipe because they know that anyone following the recipe will be able to cook the dish without issue, and will have a more favorable view of their brand.
So how do you even begin to write a recipe? Below, we’ve listed the steps in the process to get you started:
- Determine your audience. Who is following this recipe? Is it yourself and family members? Your blog readers? Regular customers of a brand?
- Research. Think about the cooking level, amount of time, and shopping habits of the recipe’s intended audience. Then create a recipe that will appeal to those cooks, and fit into their shopping and cooking routines.
- Create base recipe. This can be as simple as you writing down a recipe from memory, or looking at several recipes for the item you’re cooking, and creating your own unique compilation.
- Test twice. Cook the recipe, making sure you’ve got the weights and timings correct. Then cook it again, just to make sure.
- Ask for testing help. Have a friend or relative cook your “final” recipe, taking good notes, and letting you know whether they get the desired outcome.
- Proofread. Make sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all correct. Check that your wording makes sense, and that your ingredients list matches the ingredients called for in the steps.
- Style and photograph the hero. As we said earlier, a picture is worth a thousand words. Make your delicious meal, style it, and capture a picture for the world to see!
Jill is a blog contributor and mentor at The Food Styling School. Jill is a professional chef, healthy lifestyle promoter, product spokesperson, and culinary consultant. She specializes in healthy cooking, consumer engagement, recipe development, cooking instruction, and new product development.