The Six Basic Cookbook Index Styles
The index to a cookbook can be usedamong other thingsto highlight a star chef's specific recipes, to stress the use and combination of ingredients, as in regional cuisines, or to make it easier for a child to look up recipes.
This index style guide is designed to help you select an indexing style to fit your book's author, audience, design, and space requirements.
These styles are used for cookbooks when you feel it is more important to index ingredients and types of dishes than titles of recipes.
The examples below for Styles 1 and 2 are recipes from Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book.
All main headings are capitalized, none of the subheadings are.
All headings, main and sub, are lowercase. Only proper names are capitalized.
Styles 1 and 2 keep ingredients and/or types of dishes grouped together in lists of subheadings. See Joy of Cooking for a good example.
Styles 1 and 2 are also useful when you want to permute (rotate) titles of recipes. Restaurant-based cookbooks lend themselves to permutation. Permuted cookbook indexes repeat the rest of the recipe name under each ingredient in the recipe title. This illustration is from my index to The Bombay Café Cookbook:
Use of all initial capitals is an alternative to using boldface type for page references of recipe titles and then posting a note at the beginning of the index explaining the significance of a special font.
Like Style 1, main headings are capitalized; subheadings are not. The difference is that all initial capitals are used for recipe names.
This example, with two recipe names, is from my index to The Wicca Cookbook.
Like Style 2, both main headings and subheadings are lowercase. The difference is that all initial capitals are used for recipe names. Ingredients, types of dishes, etc. are all lowercase.
This style makes it extremely easy to distinguish recipe names from everything else in the index. Here's The Wicca Cookbook example redone in this style.
Styles 3 and 4 are very useful for cookbooks about one type of food or main ingredient, and for cookbooks where there are two different kinds of recipes.
For example, Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book has recipes for making sausage and recipes for using sausage as an ingredient.
In Aidells' cookbook, I used Style 3 for the index. I used all initial capitals for titles of Aidells' homemade sausage recipes. I capitalized only the first word of titles for recipes that include his sausages.
Here is what Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book index looked like when published using Style 3:
Style 5 looks like Style 3, but each recipe title is given exactly as it is in the text.
For example, my Style 3 Aidells index above would look like this if full recipe names were used:
Style 6 is the same as Style 5, except that only the recipe titles are capitalized. Other entries begin with lowercase. This is a slightly more informal style, but still presents the full flavor of the recipe titles.
Here is an example from my index to Molly Katzens Honest Pretzels:
Like Styles 3 and 4, Styles 5 and 6 are also an excellent choice for a book that is about another topic but contains a few recipes. Capitalizing all words in recipe titles makes the recipes easy to spot, especially with Styles 4 and 6.