How to write from a cooking recipe?
Men have always placed food and cuisine as unifying elements of a group, a society and a country. From the beginning of the middle Ages, the preparation and consumption of dishes were therefore a matter of pleasure and reward.
If eating is indeed an act of subsistence, cooks, from the first texts, have shown their talent by accommodating food. Cooking is above all an artisanal and manual know-how, and therefore has no apparent link with the fact of mastering the written language to learn or transmit a particular process.
In this article, How to get a Wikipedia page approved it is not about describing in detail how recipes are written these days, but about writing from recipes, all the more inspiring as the end of the year celebrations approach. Big steps.
A little history
Practical and objective culinary writings have developed over the centuries, especially since the middle Ages. They are in fact real testimonies of life and are a consequence of the evolution of society. Writing cuisine, therefore, has become more of a necessity than a desire to transmit.
It turned into a new literary genre, which saw the appearance of books of ’courtesy’, that is to say, a book on good manners to be instilled in the youngest. These guides became very popular throughout Europe at the end of the middle Ages and are a source of culinary information.
The book, however rare at that time, was transformed into a medium to transmit and at the same time preserve the knowledge until then only memorized verbally.
Nevertheless, written cuisine, the primary source of historians, can be discovered in culinary manuscripts – recipes, strictly speaking. It was in the 14th century that the first collections of cooking recipes appeared. They mainly emanate from royal and seigneurial castles, of which they reflect the art of living.
It is also interesting to underline the gap which appears between the evolution of the recipes and the evolution of the language, written or oral, given the number of different languages spoken in what constituted France at that time.
The kitchen can also be seen as a means of communication between peoples. The writings disseminated are for the most part copied from one royal court to another throughout Europe, and this, for several centuries.
Let us not forget that the price of the book in the middle Ages remains very high. No recipe collection has ever been able to become a common consumer good. This is why it is preciously preserved, bequeathed in wills, kept in libraries. Books are a pledge of wealth and therefore enrich libraries. They are considered valuables. Therefore, recipe books certainly had no place in kitchens, dark and dangerous places and not necessarily clean, as we understand it in our time.
Write cooking nowadays
Cookery recipe books, gourmet press articles, culinary radio and television programs have never been so popular. The greedy reader of culinary recipes now calls for originality, sharp sectors, an adaptation to current dietary fashions or a sometimes nostalgic return to the sources.
If you intend to write a cookbook, your book must make your mouth water just by reading it, hire wiki writers but it must also learn, amaze, and open up new horizons. Clarity, sympathy, originality and gluttony are the hallmarks of this literary genre. Indeed, bookstores are full of cookbooks of all kinds, not to mention the many blogs that flourish on the web.
To start your cookbook, you need to have a pretty good idea of what type of book you want to write. There are hundreds of themes in this area; you are spoiled for choice. This can be an opportunity to challenge yourself and start writing through it, if you are passionate about cooking. It may also allow you to satisfy your taste for the French language.
Above all, as I often repeat, it is above all a question of making yourself happy and having fun writing in any form whatsoever. The dream can come true sooner or later, like Marc Levy, the worldwide popular French writer, who has sold 28 million books, translated into 45 languages. He dreams of writing a cookbook with his cousin, Julie Landrieu, culinary host on French television in “Les Carnets de Julie”.
In any case, writing a cookbook is above all a great way to pass on family recipes to your grandchildren, for example.
Write a book or become a writer?
You want to write a book because you have something to tell. Becoming a writer is a pointless desire if you don’t know which book to write. You still know that your salvation is in writing. There are writers of only one book: for example, Choderlos de Lalo’s with “Dangerous Liaisons”, one of the greatest novels in the world.
You become a writer because you have made a success of a book, and not by the number of books written. There is therefore a real difference between writer and writer, according to Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
The writer is the one who communicates with the language, as if to write a shopping list, administrative documents. The writer will consider language as a means, but also as an end. It will have a double relation to language. He will use it to talk to others. It will give language a concrete existence through the interest it will take in it, through the words, the sentences, and the narration.
The writer will deposit on paper a writing having an intrinsic value, a music, an organization, a flexibility, a narrative structure. Arthur Rimbaud in “Le dormer du Val”, makes us grasp the scale of the tragic, by contrasting the lively, sensual and happy nature with the dead man.
The characteristic of literature is the work on the sentence, the words, the setting in scene of the situation. The text says more than it claims to state. To write is therefore to give back its presence to the text. The writer gives this presence from the first sentences.
We all loved words when we were little. We vocalized them, we repeated them and we mostly laughed. As we become adults, we use words, forgetting the beautiful object we have in our mouths.
Write from a cooking recipe
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt offers, in one of his training sessions, to take a cooking recipe and transform the text to make it a writer’s text. Easier said than done!
So I chose a traditional recipe from home: beef bourguignon, all the more topical as the cold gradually sets in, as we head into winter.
Here is my text:
I invited my friends over for lunch next Sunday. It’s cold, and so I decide to cook a dish in sauce, a boeuf bourguignon, knowing that I will have left for the following days. My friend Cécile doesn’t like sauce dishes made with red wine. So I am going to transform the recipe and replace the Burgundy wine (hence the name of the dish) with blond beer, which will lighten the recipe anyway. I had seen the recipe on a television show; I kept the idea.
Here I am on Friday at my local producers. I swear by local produce and buy all the fruits, vegetables and other produce available at this store which opened last spring, much to my delight.
I who do not appreciate meat, I always look with delight at the butcher’s stall: it is only local, beautiful meats that are available to our future palates. I choose my piece of beef which I leave whole; I prefer to cut the pieces myself at home. I’m lucky, I even find craft beer made in my area. I take a few carrots, a few small onions, a clove of garlic, some mushrooms. I’m not in the habit of sticking to the amounts suggested in recipes to the letter. I always adapt the recipes offered in the books, I value my creative freedom. As I forgot the bacon, I go back to the butcher to get a piece of smoked bacon, which will give this taste, this aroma so typical to my recipe.
As dishes in sauce are always better reheated, I start preparing my beef bourguignon on Saturday afternoon, while listening to classical music on my tablet. I cut the beef into pieces, I peel the carrots, I cut the onion, I shell and I peel the onion without skinning it, I cut the carrots into not too thin slices, I melt the butter, I slice the mushrooms, I brown the pieces of meat over high heat, I reserve, I sprinkle with some spices, I let brown, I pour the meat broth, I scrape the meat juices from the bottom of the casserole dish, I salt, I pepper, I add the bouquet grain, I pour the beer, I bring to the boil, I cover the casserole dish, I let simmer gently, I bind the sauce: casually, while cooking, I go fishing for verbs and to words.
I have time to think about it because my beef bourguignon will simmer for three hours. Cooking is like playing on a theater stage, with all these precise, different gestures, with my mind which comes alive, concentrates, reflects, and applies itself so that the recipe is as successful as possible.
A cooking recipe is actually like a novel: there is a beginning, sometimes twists and turns, a journey of adventure, a conclusion that we hope will be happy. The senses are also at the rendezvous: I smell, I inhale the good smells, I always taste my little dishes, I watch the evolution, how all this will take shape before my eyes by the operation of the fire, I necessarily touch my ingredients to prepare them, I listen to the sounds of the food being transformed under the power of the fire.
Preparing a good meal is also taking pleasure in advance to please others, have a good time with them. My dish is simmering, and I simmer at the same time as him. I savor my eyes, it’s tempting to lift the lid to inhale.
The casserole purrs with the pleasure to come, the ingredients take their place, mix without distinction and cook little by little. From time to time, I lift the lid of the casserole to smell, to stir, to check that the sauce sets well. I shudder with joy along with the meat and the vegetables. The room smells of the scent that escapes during cooking.
No scent is masked, I take it all in my nostrils; my nose does not spare; the wings of my nose quiver like the sails of a ship moving in a light breeze in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, I come back to reality; I have to clean the kitchen, wash what lies around, I put my hands in the dishes, I carry on with my task thinking about the delicious day tomorrow with my friends, I roll up my sleeves, then I rest: no worry, two more hours to wait.
The kitchen light is sifted, I prepare the wood to light the fireplace tomorrow, just to create a warm atmosphere and add the smell of wood to that of my dish. I want to please, receive with dignity and share a delicious moment around a good little dish. I will serve my beef bourguignon in the cast iron casserole dish; this will add to the authentic charm of the recipe. It will be a friendly day, despite the gray and rainy skies outside. My beef is a seasonal dish that will warm the hearts and taste buds of my guests.
As a conclusion
Cooking is also a matter of sensations, of feelings: we put everything we have inside. It’s a matter of the heart, for sure. The cuisine we practice tells a lot about who we are, but also about an era, a generation. Cooking is also remembering the smells of your childhood, the dishes of your grandmother. Cooking is also a matter of transmission.
Whether you decide to write recipes handwritten, or copy recipes by hand, your writing will move those who find your notebooks after you. Your recipes will become those of happiness, of a bygone past which will evoke images to those who read them.
You can just as easily invent recipes, write stories in which the kitchen will be strongly present; in short, anything is possible, as long as it becomes a matter of imagination and pleasure!