There is nothing as disappointing as having your family cookbook completed, printed, bound, and distributed to all your family members, and then finding a blaring typographical error on the first page. Your confidence can be shattered from such an experience.
Never mind that you can correct the error (and any others lurking in the other pages) with the next round of changes you will no doubt do eventually (if you are using Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software). The fact is, spellcheck or not, you didn’t proofread the family cookbook pages well enough to avoid the embarrassment.
Proofreading is one of the critical steps in finalizing a family cookbook, yet so many of us have trouble concentrating on this all-important task. Here are 10 quick proofreading tips for getting the best possible, most accurate family cookbook that you can be proud of:
1. Proofread during your peak hours, when you are most awake, refreshed, and relaxed.
2. Use a comfortable chair, have good lighting, and keep your reference materials within reach (such as a dictionary, other cookbooks, or your computer to do online research for checking recipes and spellings).
3. Have No. 2 pencils (or a red pen or marker) available to note corrections, as well as sticky notes and paper clips handy to mark pages that need attention.
4. Plan to spend at least one hour per proofreading session to carefully read through the recipes and biographical stories that you’ve included in the family cookbook.
5. Proofread each page as if you’ve never seen it before. This disassociation allows you to find mistakes more efficiently.
6. Have someone other than yourself spend time proofreading your family cookbook.
7. Read all the lines out loud, which will invariably magnify an error in spelling or word choice, and make it easier to identify and change them.
8. Verify measurements and ingredients by going back to the original recipe card, or handwritten note, or computer printout.
9. Double check to make sure all the recipes are consistent in the use of similar words and measurements. For example, make sure the word “teaspoon” is spelled out in all recipes instead of using “tsp” in some of them.
10. Set a deadline for completing the proofreading task.
Proofreading is really a professional skill, however, you can endeavor to make your family cookbook the best it can be by following the above proofreading suggestions.