A fellow writer asked me to copyedit her latest cookbook. Although my editing background is in a different field, she knew I loved to cook and loved reading cookbooks. She handed me a checklist and away I went, happy to immerse myself in the world of food.
Until I realized that no matter which recipe I read, even those including ingredients I wouldn’t eat, I was constantly reaching for things that were sweet or salty or spicy. And extra portions of…well, anything. The numbers on the scale crept up.
Copyediting or editing a cookbook requires a lot of visualization. Aside from the technical parts of deconstructing a recipe to ensure the ingredients are in order and in alignment with the instructions, I had to envision the process of making each dish. How did the pastry get folded? The water was brushed on where? The minced garlic needed to be added to the frying pan after the onion?
I walked out of the supermarket with chocolate chip cookies, a box of Funny Bones, a bag of pistachios, and two bags of potato chips. (In my defense, the potato chips were buy one, get one free.) But you get the idea.
This is the power of books. They teach, inspire, and can even influence my view of the world. They offer me new ways of thinking and doing things. In this case, I hadn’t known what queso fresco was or how to cook with plantains.
I’m halfway through the pages now and plan on trying a number of these recipes when the work is done (which is a good thing—they’re much healthier than potato chips). But I also hope one day soon someone will ask me to edit an exercise book.
* Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
** Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*** Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net