RE: Recipes as technical writing?

Subject: RE: Recipes as technical writing?
From: "Karen L. Zorn" <k -dot- zorn -at- zorntech -dot- com>
To: "'Evans, Diane L \(Rosetta\)'" <diane_evans -at- merck -dot- com>, <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 15:13:34 -0700

I LOVE to cook and get a lot of pleasure out of making and serving wonderful
meals to friends and family. A couple of years ago as Christmas and birthday
presents, my mother-in-law gave me subscriptions to Gourmet, Bon Appetite,
and Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen). Cook's is a delight for a
technical writer-amature cook!

First, it's beautifully illustrated: pastel or oil paintings for the covers
of meats, veggies, and fruits; black and white photos of the final dish,
failures along the way; and beautiful pencil drawings.

Second, the articles are written documenting the process and procedures
followed to get to the end result. When I first started reading the
magazine, I was reminded of science fair papers documenting an experiment.
Later, thinking about it, cooking is science--you are changing the state of
food: adding chemical compounds, heat, cold, and so forth.

Third, recipes start with ingredient lists, then stepped grouped
instructions. Each step is a series of activites to complete before going on
to the next.

Fourth, no advertising (other than the publisher's products)!

The magazine is published bi-monthly and well worth the not unreasonable
price. I've used several of the methods and recipes and have been thoroughly

If this isn't technical writing, what is? For example, an article "Perfect
Potstickers" in the March-April 2006 issue included: a problem statement;
experiments with the filling, dough, wrapping process and cooking. Recipes
for the Potstickers and Scallion Dipping sauce followed. Illustrated
step-by-step writing instructions. A sidebar "Choosing the Right Wrap" was
commentary gleaned from the taste testers and a table for each wrap type.
Another sidebar illustrated the effect of getting the air out of the
potstickers before cooking.

You can find more information at:

Karen L. Zorn
Zorn Technologies, Inc.
Mesa, AZ


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RE: Recipes as technical writing?: From: Evans, Diane L (Rosetta)

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