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Eating a Cookbook: The Weight Gain of Editing




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

** Image courtesy of jk1991 at

*** Image courtesy of everydayplus at




  • Carrie • February 8, 2016 at 9:38 am

    LOL, a different take on editing! Just reading your blog and seeing the photos makes me want to eat.

    • J. M. Levinton • February 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Then my job is done. LOL

  • jan • February 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I would be in big trouble editing a cookbook – especially Mexican food. When you get that gig editing an exercise book let me know! I’ll help! ; )

    • J. M. Levinton • February 8, 2016 at 7:15 pm


  • R.G. Emanuelle • February 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    But I’ll bet you’re doing a great job on that book. 😉

    • J. M. Levinton • February 9, 2016 at 2:24 am

      I hope so! 🙂

  • Christine • February 9, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I can empathize. .. I have been pouring through diabetic and cardiac healthy cookbooks for the last three months in search of recipes to convince my Italian hubby that dieting doesn’t have to mean sacrifice.
    There are so many recipes that get me salivating that I rush into the kitchen in search of something to satiate my psychologically induced hunger. 😰
    What has been helping is that at the start of the New Year, we made an agreement that nothing unhealthy is to enter our house without both of us agreeing to it. This keeps us in check. Perhaps you can enter a similar contract with your new furry buddy! Of course, you might have a bit of trouble convincing him that buy one get one free does not apply to catnip! 😉
    Ps. What are funny bones?

    • J. M. Levinton • February 9, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      I find it’s even worse when the book has pictures! Alas, while my cat is currently on a portions-controlled meal plan *grins* I don’t have the same restraint. And if he had a choice, I’m sure I’d have a very fat cat lolling around.

      Funny Bones by Drake is a devil’s food cake covered in chocolate frosting with peanut butter creme inside. See here: (Or maybe don’t look! LOL)

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