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Researching Material for Your Cookbook

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Once you have figured out what content you want to include in your cookbook you will have to make sure you can write knowledgeably about all of it. Unless it is a subject you are truly an expert in already, you will have to do research to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Luckily, there are very few cooking questions that don't have answers if you search hard enough for them. Here are a few of our go-to places to do research for our cookbooks.

Other Cookbooks

One of the best places to do research about your cookbook is through other cookbooks. These can be cookbooks that either you like and respect, or are on the subject you are writing about. Purchase the most highly regarded cookbook or two in your niche and seeing how they approach the subject; it can be a great way to exam your niche from another point of view.

For more technical help you can turn to books more focused around the science and techniques of cooking. We put together a list of great books to learn about food and cooking.

Blogs and Websites

There's not many cooking subjects that someone somewhere isn't blogging about. Reading about various approaches to solving a cooking problem can help you narrow down the approach you will want to write about in your book. The comments on many articles can also provide great feedback from a wide variety of cooks.

These articles are usually pretty easy to find if you do enough different google searches. Be sure not to just copy anything you read, you can use other people's work for guidance and direction, but if you don't make it your own you should give credit where credit is due.


Wikipedia is a wonderful resource for learning about cooking techniques, ingredients, and different cuisines. It won't provide recipes for you but you can really go in depth on many different topics. This information can either be used to help inform your process and direction or it can be used to flesh out the more informational areas of your cookbook.

Online Communities

There are many online communities you can tap to try and get answers to your questions.

Message Boards and Forums

Message boards are a great resource both for finding old discussions about your topic or to ask questions on. They normally include a wide range of people answering, which helps expand your view of a topic. Each niche has it's own message boards but we highly recommend eGullet as a general resource.


Reddit is a wonderful community full of helpful, insightful people...and several jerks. If you use Reddit, you need to quickly learn to listen to the helpful people and tune out the others.

With that caveat in place, Reddit is a great place to ask questions and get feedback about various cooking issues. There are many specific niches called SubReddits you can search through for specifics. There are also generic subreddits for asking culinary questions, cooking, food, and recipes. The best way to ask questions is to do a "text post" that people can comment on.

Seasoned Advice

Seasoned Advice is a place dedicated to asking and answering culinary questions. The feedback and comments tend to be of a higher quality than those in some other communities.

Twitter and Facebook

Reaching out for help on Twitter and Facebook is another great way to get advice. The people in your network are usually very happy to help you answer any questions you might have.

Cooks and Chefs You Know

If you know great cooks or chefs in your niche they can be invaluable resources. They often can provide direct answers and if not, they can almost always point you in the right direction to find an answer.

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