Personal narratives among cookbook trends

collageJulie Bennett, vice president and editorial director at Ten Speed Press recently spoke with veteran food writer and editor Dianne Jacob to discuss the latest trends in cookbooks. Ten Speed Press publishes a disproportionate number of bestselling cookbooks for its size, and is set to release 70 new books this year.  Julie has edited  best selling cookbooks like  Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson and  My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.

A huge trend in today's cookbooks, Julie says, is "a personal narrative element. The trend of blogger-to-book ties into it, and there are cookbook writers who have a lot to say...They come with a story that's unique and readers are learning more about the personality of the author through their life, world, culture and food."

While the majority of Ten Speed's cookbooks come from outside, the publisher also comes up with ideas for new cookbooks. They look for rising food trends and write books covering specific topics, like Sriracha and chili, using in-house authors. These books account for about 40 percent of the cookbooks that Ten Speed publishes. 

The changing cookbook market was also a topic of discussion in the interview. The catalogue of Ten Speed Press did not used to focus on cookbooks, but now food, wine and spirits constitute the largest category for the publisher. Julie feels that we look at food differently that we used to. "I just don't think people thought about food in the same way - you went out for nice dinners for special occasions, and people cooked at home, but now it's more of an event," she says.

Continue reading on Dianne Jacob's website to find out more, including the importance of design and whether Julie thinks that full-color photographs are a requirement for a new cookbook. 

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