Gallery: Photo Diary: A Day in the Life of Cookbook Author and Recipe Developer Grace Parisi

A Bowl of Possibilities
A Bowl of Possibilities
What is it like to develop recipes for magazines and cookbooks? Here's a look.
Morning
Morning
"I'm a very early riser—5:00 a.m. I make a pot of coffee, have a moment of quiet reflection, then head out for a predawn run—usually 8 miles or so.
Making Granola
Making Granola
Home again, make lunch for kids, send them off to school and then have breakfast. Usually yogurt with fruit and granola.
Fruit & Granola
Fruit & Granola
Fruit & Granola
Fruit & Granola
Captured
Captured
I'm addicted to Instagram—I have to put my phone on another floor as avoidance therapy.
Garden
Garden
Then I pick up ingredients for recipe development and start cooking, writing, and photographing.
Developing
Developing
I clear my physical and mental space to make room to work. My preference is a note pad for writing recipes. Printed recipes are fine, but sometimes they hem me in and don't leave room for tangents.
Starting a Crust
Starting a Crust
What I love about the development process is the ability to create methods that reflect a true distillation in the kitchen. By that, I mean elegance of efficiency—there is no wasted movement, no wasted ingredient, no wasted effort.
Stone Fruit
Stone Fruit
I look at an ingredient and see an infinite number of things to do with it. I think it falls somewhere on the autism spectrum like card counting or calculating the square root of Pi.
Stone Fruit
Stone Fruit
If things make physical, tactile sense to me, I know my readers will appreciate it as well. They may not necessarily be aware of it, but they will appreciate it.
Rolling Crust
Rolling Crust
I've been told I'm pretty good with dough so pastry is a big favorite of mine, especially in summer when fruit is crazy delicious and cheap.
Filling
Filling
Recipe inspiration is purely self-gratifying. If I want to eat it, I want to cook it. I indulge in cravings fairly often.
Butter Wash
Butter Wash
I'm also inspired by equipment. I found a beautiful and unusual cupcake tin which I am champing at the bit to get to. I see hand pies in my future.
Galette
Galette
This galette is a free-form stone fruit galette.
At the Oven
At the Oven
The galette uses peaches, nectarines, and plums and is dead simple. Sometimes the most simple things are the most challenging and the most impressive. That knowledge comes with age and experience and it results in the "elegance of efficiency" I mentioned earlier.
Golden Crust
Golden Crust
Newcomers will throw ingredient after ingredient, step after step, sub recipe after sub recipe into a dish and then wonder why there's nothing distinct about it. I know I certainly was there once.
Finished Galette
Finished Galette
Maybe I over-identify with my readers, but I don't want to ask anyone to do something I wouldn't want to do myself.
Sampling
Sampling
What's frustrating/tedious/boring about the development process is having to create recipes for publications to fit an editorial conceit. It's tough trying to make something make sense when you don't believe the premise.
Writing
Writing

Then head up to my office (on the 4th floor) to write text. Sometimes I'll develop a recipe that gets served at dinner and then write copy the next day.

My family hates when I shoot dinner before they can dig in. I try and turn off after dinner. Occasionally I'll do some maintenance work on my website or blog. I'm working on a book proposal right now, and having a pretty tough time settling in. Once the recipes start, I'll be right as rain."

—Grace Parisi, Brooklyn, 2013
Stone Fruit Galette
Stone Fruit Galette
[Ed note: The recipe for the galette can be found here.]