Call for Recipes for the December issue
As a cookbook author myself I feel very strongly that a well written recipe is literature, and we want to read that genre of literature from our Stone Soup contributors. What we are looking for are Holiday recipes that mean something to you and your family. In addition to the ingredients and the instructions. we are asking for you to write what amounts to an extra short story -- a "headnote" -- to precede the formal recipe. This introduction to the recipe should be up to 250 words. As Stone Soup is a literary magazine, in selecting recipes we are are giving a lot of weight to that introduction.
There is no rule about what that headnote should be like. At their best, headnotes bring the reader into the spirit of the recipe, make the reader understand why the recipe is important to you, its author, and make your reader want to cook it. You can sometimes be direct and say, "This is the best recipe, ever! I love it!" But more frequently, it is best to weave the dish you are writing about into a compelling narrative.
The challenge in writing a headnote is that in addition to romancing the recipe -- that is one way I think of it -- the headnote is also the place where you mention tricky parts of the recipe, an ingredient that is especially important, or a technique that can be difficult. The headnote is a very odd kind of genre. It is where story and technical manual come together. The perfect headnote is like a jewel.
As I am writing this asking you to work to a deadline, I am also working to a recipe deadline. I have an article due for a magazine I write for on Monday. The article is on holiday breads and includes three recipes. One of them is a Seed Cake. I start that headnote with a quote from The Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins loved Seed Cakes, a common cake in the 1700s. In other recipes, I have written about how the dish makes me think of my mother, who died when I was still in college. What I am trying to say to you is that the recipe headnote is a place for you to be creative -- a place to use all of your literary talents to draw your readers into your world and your imaginative space. As holidays tend to be rich in stories, memories, and imagination, our editor, Emma Wood, and I are looking forward to reading what your create for us -- and to eating the foods you love.
There are detailed instructions on the submissions page. In addition to the headnote the technical part of the recipe must be complete for us to consider the recipe -- the list of ingredients and the instructions have to be there. If you list an ingredient, then be sure it is in the instructions.
Please test your recipe more than once. My advice is that after you have written it, but before you submit it, that you make it one last time following your recipe exactly as you have written it. While I do want you to write the headnote alone, the way you write stories, it is appropriate to bring in friends or family members to test the recipe and get advice on how to write the instructions so they are clear.
We will test recipes ourselves before publishing them. We are really looking forward to tasting your words!
Until next week,
P.S. While this is a call for recipes directed at our readers under the age of fourteen, this also makes a good family project in which each family member writes one or more recipes as part of a family cookbook.