How I Wrote the Perfect Cookbook

How I Wrote (and You Can Write) the Perfect Cookbook.


I didn’t. Not even I am that pretentious. The title is just a play on words, an oblique reference to a cookbook that I did write, and of which I am very proud—The Perfect Omelet—but which is far from perfect. Whatever “perfect” means. One of the themes of The Perfect Omelet is that “perfect” has no set meaning, especially when it comes to recipes and cooking.  There is no such thing as a perfect cookbook.

Oh, there are a very few that are near enough to perfection to make it seem dreamable. Julia’s The French Chef comes to mind, I hope we can all agree, and I’d put Tamar Adler’s’ An Everlasting Meal on my short list, along with Michael Ruhlman’s Egg, and pretty much anything by Sara Moulton. And Narcissa Chamberlain’s Omelette, which I think is the best book ever published on any subject, period. Your list, I am sure, is equally idiosyncratic.

So my ambition in this first post is not to tell you how I wrote the perfect cookbook. Nor is its purpose to tell you how to write it. But I can tell you how I wrote my cookbook, and maybe it will inspire you to write yours.