Standardizing food writing

One of the greatest things about style is that every writer has his or her unique sound. However, in publishing, there has to be some kind of authority that ensures a certain level of uniformity. For food writing, there wasn’t much beyond the standards of each specific publication, until 2011, when the AP Stylebook introduced a Food Guidelines section.

This Food Guidelines section includes everything from new food terms to how to write and format a recipe.

It sounds great initially, but just looking over a brief section, I see some potential problems. The AP Stylebook Food Guidelines section defines adobo sauce as “A spicy red sauce made from chilies, herbs and vinegar that is common to Mexican cooking.” But what about outside of Mexican cooking? In Filipino cuisine, adobo is made with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic.

I think that food writing may vary too much by region to allow for a unified, standard guide. But at the same time, a guide book that sets out rules for writing recipes may be extremely beneficial for food writers from all disciplines. What do you think?


One thought on “Standardizing food writing

  1. rdomitz April 19, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    What about breakout writers who excel at finding new ways to challenge a uniformity in a particular field? A cookie cutter formula for any style of writing may in fact diminish the effects of certain eccentricities a writer might apply to be more engaging to the readers or a narrower, more specific audience. Essentially what I mean is; Don’t we encourage writers to find new innovative ways to break the mold?


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