ASAIB Western Cape talk on indexing cookbooks, 17 September 2011

This talk was arranged by the Western Cape branch of the Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers (ASAIB). The venue was that treasure trove of books, the Book Lounge in Cape Town. Situated in the heart of Cape Town, the stairs to the lower level leads to a cosy sitting area ideal for informal talks. The speaker was Joy Clack, a writer and editor, and owner of Bushbaby Editorial Services.

Joy started by saying that the main points to remember when creating an index for a cookbook are: logic and user-friendliness. She urged us to put ourselves in the position of the reader: what would you look up? The other important point to consider early on, is how much space is available for the index. This might have a big impact on how you approach and compile the index. The three main ways of creating an index for a cookbook are: 1) by grouping (e.g. pastas, desserts); 2) by ingredient (e.g. apples, spinach); 3) by grouping and ingredient (e.g. cakes, chocolate cake). Other questions Joy discussed were: should people’s names be left in the entry to a recipe? (mostly not, unless it is a well-known person); should photos and illustrations be indicated? (only if the photo or illustration is on a different page than the recipe); should cross-references be included for the different names of ingredients? (yes, include terms that will be used by the audience of the book).

The talk ended with an opportunity to ask Joy questions and some interesting discussions followed. Thank you to Joy for presenting an informative and interesting talk.