Dana Harrison and Joel MacCharles’s blog, WellPreserved, began eight years ago as a means of sharing personal recipes. Harrison, an art director and graphic designer by trade, pursuaded MacCharles, an avid home cook, to write down the steps behind his one-off dishes, and she would take care of the artwork. MacCharles agreed to the challenge, writing 1,500 consecutive daily articles.
Since then, the blog has expanded both its audience and content to include broader topics, such as sustainability and food security. Their debut cookbook, Batch (Appetite by Random House), focuses on food preservation techniques, supported by Harrison’s illustrations and original photography from friends Reena Newman and Margaret Mulligan.
Here, Harrison talks about the book’s design, and the journey from blog to print.
“It’s very different to do a recipe for a blog versus print. Blogging, especially when we started, was really loose. It’s still very on the fly for us – when we make something we think people will like, we just write it down. With a book, you have to go much more into testing.”
“The preserving topic was a challenge because it is seasonal. We had to really plan. We negotiated a year – I know that’s longer than a lot of people get to write cookbooks – so that we could have a full growing season. It can be difficult to find some ingredients, such as rhubarb, in grocery stores out of season.”
“The chapter title pages are inspired by indie publishing. I wanted each chapter to act like its own little zine. They’re also inspired by gig posters. We geeked out a little by wanting to elevate vegetables to rock-star status.”