The editor at Parragon Books needed a quality check for a series of books that were to be sold under the ‘Love Food’ label for Marks & Spencer. As I’d been working as a freelance editor for them for at least 8 years by then, they trusted me to do the job.

After munching my way through a few cupcakes and cookies (well I had to check the recipes, right?), I managed to check a total of 15 books and complete the project on time.

Here is part of my checklist for ensuring recipes are consistent and accurate (I won’t bore you with the FULL list):

  • Does the style match the house style and word list?
  • Do the ingredients match the order and quantity as listed in the method?
  • Are the measurements consistent and the imperial/metric conversions correct?
  • Does the recipe match the image? For example, is there something in the image that’s not in the recipe? (Usually a garnish or side dish isn’t mentioned in the recipe but shown in the image.)
  • Are cross references to other recipes correct?
  • Do the quantities of the ingredients appear to be unusual and if so should they be queried? (I did find an ingredient that said ‘1 tbsp chilli’ instead of ‘1 tsp chilli’)
  • Are the ingredients referred to in the same way throughout the book?
  • Are the recipes referred to in the same way throughout the book? For example, is the Apple Pie recipe still called Apple Pie in the index and contents page?
  • Do the nutritional values seem appropriate for the recipe?
  • Is ‘Serves 2’ appropriate for the recipe or ‘Makes 10’?