How to Break in Your New Cookbook

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Breaking in your new cookbooksIn my first year of high school I was taught a very useful skill regarding new books: how to break in a book’s spine.

It’s a process of opening the pages systematically to set your book’s spine to accept wear evenly. This prevents it from cracking and letting everyone who picks up your book know where you think the good parts are.

The process only takes a mater of minutes. I’ve illustrated the steps here.

This Christmas I bought several copies of Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing for all my immediate meat fans.

Upon cracking open my first copy to gift, I got so caught up in the details within, that I realized I couldn’t simply copy down good recipes… I had to gift myself a copy of this cookbook as well.

Ruhlman’s Charcuterie served as a quite patient and understanding model for my book sketches.

Initially, I was going to just copy recipes into my sketch book. Instead, I had to devour my own copy.

This book is certainly a way to ring in the year of the pig!


posted February 5th, 2007 at 4:19 am

I haven’t even looked at it, for fear that it will be too dangerous. But when I run through my current obsession with chocolates and confectionary, maybe I’ll tackle charcuterie.

posted February 5th, 2007 at 6:05 am

cool illustration! and great blog. truly honored you felt the need to give my book to yourself. make some bacon, cure some salmon or duck breast!

have fun in the kitchen and always go back to the drawing board.

thanks for the encouragement!
I have duck breast in the freezer, a tub of duck fat in the fridge… all because of your book.

I need to get going and order some pink salt and then I’m on my merry way. Meat Club partner, John, has gotten a head start on me- his first project was duck confit. I need to get going on my show-n-tell part of it.


posted February 5th, 2007 at 6:36 am
posted February 6th, 2007 at 5:07 am

Great illustration and the perfect recipe for opening a book! I’ve never seen it described like that before, or so beautifully.

posted February 6th, 2007 at 8:04 am

I ones was taught this recipe but had forgotten all about it. Thanks for reminding me!

Greetings from Holland

posted February 6th, 2007 at 8:36 am

I’m loving Charcuterie! I’m currently curing some more salmon.

Yum- great idea. The apparent ease of curing salmon was astonishing. That one is also on my to-do list!


posted February 6th, 2007 at 7:34 pm

It’s a phenomenal book. I’m trying to convince my wife to let me hang my own meat. Let’s just say she’s a little worried I’m going to kill us both.

Oh Rob- you just gave me a favorite new phrase for the week! Hope you don’t mind if I make a euphemism out of it. :)


- rob
posted February 7th, 2007 at 9:46 am

What a neat trick! I’ll do anything to preserve the life of my books, especially my cookbooks. Thanks! :)

posted February 7th, 2007 at 7:07 pm

That is a great illustration! I bet my hubby would love that cookbook. Maybe a good V-Day present…

posted February 8th, 2007 at 7:53 am

Charcuterie is a great book. I have used part of his duck confit process in my own. Also I’m planning to confit a pork belly soon!

posted February 8th, 2007 at 7:55 am

I forgot to add , I like the tip on breaking in a cookbook! It is very useful!

posted February 16th, 2007 at 9:32 pm

[...] to break in a new book. While McAuliflower had cookbooks in mind, this is also really helpful for speed reading when you want to minimize fussing with pages. [via [...]

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