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Publishing Update

What's Cooking?

Publishing Update Written by Kathy Casper

Remember your Grandma's collection of recipes? My Grandma's recipes were written on notepaper in a looseleaf binder - the "poorman's cookbook". Some of her better recipes resided in her head, entirely committed to memory, and more than a few were created on the fly, with hands that just knew "how much", "how many", "how long", and "when".

Cooks today rely on the cookbook publishing industry to document Grandma's Kitchen, as well as the artistic developments in the culinary industry. My quest this week was to find an online cookbook with hypertext links to other online resources - historical information, suppliers, a glossary of cooking terms, recipes for complementary sidedishes, etc.

What I found was a hearty pantry of recipes, quite a number of sources to purchase cookbooks, and a wealth of cooking information, including newsletters, reviews, and food-related resources.

Cookbook publishing has long been a successful fundraising venture, and one of the most extensive sites I visited was Fundcraft Publishing. Fundcraft has been publishing community cookbooks since 1941, and their website provides all the vital information a civic group or charitable organization might need to launch a successful program.

Two really neat features of the site were the Workbook, which provides a step-by-step planning guide for organizations to use in developing a cookbook as a fundraiser, and the PC program they offer to facilitate pre-press submissions. If an organization utilizes the software they offer, the project cost is reduced by $50. The $10 deposit required for the disk is refundable upon return of the disk, even if no order is placed. What a fair deal! Too bad the program is not downloadable!

A wide variety of add-on options are available, to further customize the cookbook - specific cover art, ink-color options, special information sections, advertising and coupon options.

The Fundcraft site links to Cookbooks Online, which serves as a marketing and sales vehicle. You can order a variety of cookbooks directly from Cookbooks Online in any of a dozen categories. Categories include civic groups, charity foundations, church groups, schools and many more.

Another interesting site was Thunderball Press, which publishes cookbooks on disk. They offer two formats, either Master Cook II or Microsoft Write (both printable). Once you have the disks, there will be updates available from their website - quite a revolutionary feature! They will soon offer downloadable new cookbooks, as well. In the meantime, their website provides sample recipes in a wide assortment of categories.

The Wimmer Company specializes in marketing regional and community cookbooks in an effort to preserve cultural traditions. It wasn't clear from their website whether they actually publish community cookbooks for fundraising purposes, but they most definitely distribute them. They offer a half dozen links to sample cookbooks, including interesting anecdotes or historical information about the communities they represent and scrumptious recipes.

Webhead that I am, I was fascinated by Food Tales, which you will find at Sally's Place, an excellent culinary site with much to offer. Food Tales is a continuing interactive novel by Samuel Bernstein, which of course is focused on food and cooking. The story line is quite entertaining, and there are relevant links to recipes (with photos), as well! Be forewarned however...pages on this site take a while to download at 28.8, but they're worth it.

Cookbook reviews were a new concept to me. (I'm a taste-tester, myself.) Two Don't Miss sites are the Electronic Gourmet Guide (eGG), which features cookbook reviews, plus a plethora of food related information, and Cook's Nook, a feature of Book Stacks Unlimited. In addition to cookbook reviews, Cook's Nook offers news, features, and even a message board forum to discuss food-related issues.

Rounding out my culinary tour were two unique sites quite worthy of mention. One is The Bargain Cookbook Table, offered by The Cookbook Connection in Belton, MO. If you are looking for quality discounted cookbooks, make this your first stop. They also handle "remainder" inventories of fundraiser cookbooks that can be a mother lode of classic recipes, and a Grab Bag option that could be the hit of your pot luck dinner!

If your taste runs nostalgic, you might take a look at A Sentimental Journey, a Gladewater, Texas company that specializes in old and rare cookbooks. Pricy, perhaps...but keepers, nonetheless.

Two other sites I just have to mention are The Cookbook Store, which features Canadian cookbooks and an excellent newsletter, and The Whole Health Book Company. The Whole Health Book Company specializes in vegetarian cookbooks and health related topics.

I am still looking for a hypertext cookbook or collection of recipes. Certainly, it is only a matter of time. In the meantime, I will fill the void with two of my Grandmothers' recipes: Grandma Rager's (father's side) recipe for Hot Chicken Salad, and Grandma McCanna's (mother's side) recipe for Cream Puffs.

Indulge me. Indulge you.

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