Creativity and Idea Generation - Part 2

Creativity and Idea Generation - Part 2

Part 2.

How does one find out from your audience what recipes they want? Do I just start with what I think should be in the cookbook and trust my own intuition? Let's do both. I began with friends and family, setting up a Facebook page (Instagram either didn't exist or not many people knew of it in late 2016 - I didn't anyway), then via email, Facebook messenger or good old text message. I told all my friends and family that I planned to put a Gujarati Cookbook together of all the classic dishes we all eat at home and our mothers cook. They can follow my story here

typed up all the recipes I could think of into categories and approached my followers. They all got excited, and I was given some beautiful additions to my list, items like Gahri rotli, falooda and many others my tastebuds had utterly missed.

After figuring out the final list, I created a plan to start doing the recipes with mum. I split up the number of recipes per day that I thought it would take, taking into account what ingredients we could use on the same days, like potato curry (pateta nu saark), eggplant and potato curry (bataka ne vangereh nu saark) etc. If you're Gujarati; you'll notice I've used bateka and pateta - oh Gawd, another problem to work out, just like patra and ok, well, I'll worry about that later when it comes to editing (ohh, editors, quick add that to the list).

Photography, could I just do them on my phone? Mum seemed to think so, but as a Graphic Designer, I knew good imagery makes your tastebuds salivate. So I better find some photographers. I quickly found out I needed a specialist food stylist and food photographer. WOW - these guys do excellent jobs, though at starting rates of $30k for the number of recipes I had on my list, it made me rethink.

Printing, I started locally collecting quotes; another eek moment, in New Zealand, it would cost $85 to produce 100 - 200 books with the number of recipes I wanted to do. Back to the drawing board, mum, I'm not sure I can do this, people will be paying $300 a book, and unless it is made of gold like the jewellery we wear, then it's unlikely the roads I'm taking are going to see a happy ending.

I needed to look at a new path. Ok, recipe list - decrease. Printing - I need to go higher quantity and offset print to reduce costs; I also look to create offshore instead of locally in New Zealand. Photography - can I teach myself? Mm that would be someone trying to teach themselves all that I learnt in a four-year degree at Massey University. Let's leave that to the experts to do what they do best. Mum to cook, me to design, a printer to print, and a photographer to photograph; this way, the final product will collaborate with experts and not just a way to produce a cheaper quality book.

I forgot to mention that I needed to research what's already in the world of Gujarati Recipe books. Ok, this was no easy mission. To be quite honest, I was so surprised that I only managed to find one; it was by Author Tarla Dalal, and this was a copy from 1999 - So I got online and ordered. For its time, it is an excellent book with the classics, although I was disappointed that everything has salt to taste and there are no images. A simple book with black and white text recipes documented. But it confirmed what I knew in my heart; there was a gap in the market, a problem to solve, and not just locally in new Zealand, it was a global problem. I knew mum, and I would be able to fill it with something unique that would be around for years; it would be cherished and used like a Gujarati cooking bible for so many around the world.

I couldn't wait; my brain was exploding with ideas on how it would look - it was going to be a coffee table book, one to put on display and share with guests, but not only that - it would be one that would be referred to daily to explore and recreate our mother's cooking, experiment and also for each owner to create their personalised Gujarati bible by adding a little bit of themselves or their mum (Ba's) to each recipe.