During a casual chat with a Twitter friend, she asked me what helped me the most in nurturing Orgasmic Chef. It didn’t take me very long to say, “I have three books that combined are the bible for me.”
She was surprised that I would mention hard copy books rather than websites and asked what the books were that made up this 3-volume food blogging bible. The truth is, there’s no secret at all. Most accomplished food writers and even those of us who are hoping to become accomplished, all own these three books. Even Charlie wants to get into this writing business!
I bought this first book from the author at my first Eat Drink Blog conference in Adelaide a couple of years ago. Yes, I’m talking about Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob. Dianne is a writing coach, freelance writer and guest speaker who takes no prisoners when talking about writing. If she thinks you’ve written something stupid, she doesn’t sugarcoat her advice. I love that about her. We’ll never get better with advice that makes us feel good.
She has had a long career as editor-in-chief of a publishing company, editor-in-chief of a city magazine and before that she was a VP of a public relations firm specializing in print publicity. Dianne has several degrees in journalism, so we can read her book with full confidence that she knows what she’s talking about.
The second book probably sits dog-eared on many a food blogger’s bookshelf. Mine certainly looks that way. Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin is the book I turn to if I have a photography question. Helene’s writing is easy to read and even easier to understand. She was born in the mountains of Provence in France and moved to the United States in the late 90s.
She is Senior Photographer for Oxmoor House, the cookbook division of Time, Inc and blogs at the popular Tartlette. Her photographs are not only beautiful, they also tell a story. Sometimes it’s just a piece of grated cheese casually placed on a plate and I can imagine myself grating cheese over the dish.
Finally, Food Styling by Delores Custer is written for the professional food stylist but the ideas, tips and tricks really get my attention. I know I don’t do half of the things she recommends but the book is fairly new on my shelf. I’m getting there!
Food Styling is not an inexpensive book but who’s going to give away secrets they’ve worked a lifetime to develop for next to nothing? Nobody.
Delores has been a professional freelance food stylist since 1978. Her work has been seen in most of the best food magazines and she’s often asked to teach courses in food styling and recipe writing. She also does demonstrations for students at The Culinary Institute of America as well as other culinary schools around the world.
I’ve learned from Pixel to Plate to keep all my props organized and handy. Here’s what it looks like under the stairs at my house. The next photo is my stash of fabrics, napkins and tablecloths. I put them on the rods so I don’t have to keep ironing them. I need a better solution so if you have any ideas, I’m all ears.
During my conversation with Sarah, my friend on Twitter, she asked me if I’d ever shared these books on my blog and it was a ‘duh’ moment. I suppose I initially assume everyone knows more than I do so I don’t need to share. Her advice was that I should write this post. If you all own these books, terrific. If not, you might add one to your Christmas gift list.
I have linked the book titles to Bookworld here in Australia as a favour to them. When Lorraine Elliott’s book, Not Quite Nigella, came out I pre-ordered my friend’s book so I could get my sticky fingers on it first. Bookworld got the book to me within 24 hours. You might think that’s no big deal but my experience with Australian booksellers before Bookworld was that I could order from the states and get a book faster than I could from Australia.