04: Behind the Scenes of Hot Fat
A cookbook born in lockdown, and a debut dedicated to the dark art of deep-frying
Hot Fat was a bundle conceived in lockdown, entirely over Gmail, Zoom, WeTransfer and WhatsApp. It was early 2021 and we’d all already had a year of it, 2020 upending everything and forcing us all to adapt. After a shaky Christmas where we all knew we were going into celebrations blind and there would be an inevitable nationwide intervention come January, the second year of Covid felt far more ominous than the first. We knew the beast that terrorised us all already, but didn’t quite understand the extent of the damage it could, and would, cause this time ‘round with a new variant.
But whilst the world was flung off course we never quite imagined by the other end of the pandemic’s restrictions (touch wood) that we’d have a book in our hands and the words ‘published authors’ associated with our names. Today is that day.
Writing is a solitary act by its very nature. We love being lost in the process and the prose, but writing during two lockdowns within a pandemic is a whole other beast. Sequestered inside, movements dictated, the same four walls for inspiration and respite, limitations on gathering ingredients or even sharing snippets, it was lonely, solitary and not the vision that we had for a great big, hands-on, collaborative debut cookbook. Penning a cookbook is a much visual act than a novel. It’s more design-oriented, more testing and re-testing the same pieces of content ad nauseam, more feedback on the composite parts and nitty gritty (half a teaspoon or whole? cornflour or flour? how many grams should each croquette weigh?) rather than the overall crux; far more fingers in the pie than just the sole author baking in a kitchen, quietly.
Our debut may be small and compact but was a mighty beast to bring into the world from behind a computer screen, so how did ‘the little cookbook that could’ come into the world?
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