Love and Olive Oil

The Making of a Cookbook

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The Making of "Breakfast for Dinner"

I thought you all might like a little behind the scenes look at the making of our new book. You know, just in case you thought writing a cookbook was glamorous or something.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

I promise you, it’s not.

Pajamas? What pajamas?

Pajamas? What pajamas?

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

The entire book (all 58+ recipes) were developed and tested in our kitchen and shot in our living room. From pancakes to margaritas, we did it all.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

And oh boy, did we make a mess.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

We have three cats, you know. Not that you’d know from these shots. One of them was much more involved in this whole process than the other two. And by involved I mean usually in the way.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook Banana Bread Bundt Cake

Kind of cool to see the process and the final product. The beautiful final product. The book is a sturdy hard-cover book with embossed lettering and thick matte pages, a real testament to the quality and thought that Quirk puts into their books. I can’t stop touching it.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

Cover shot, take two. Those burgers were not fun. Although they were delicious.

The Making of the "Breakfast for Dinner" Cookbook

Now who wants to come help clean up?

Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More! officially hits stores February 12th. That’s like, less than a month away (eep!) And if you’re in Nashville, San Fran, Napa, and Memphis: get your frying pans ready, because we’ve got book signing events planned in your area during the month of February. We’d love to meet you! You can also buy a super special autographed copy directly from us. Signed by the two of us. Not Sgt. Pepper though. Because he can’t hold a pen.

And uh, don’t miss tomorrow’s post. You may (just may) get an opportunity to win one before the publication date. But shh, you didn’t hear that from me.

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  1. Thanks so much for the behind-the-scenes look at shooting your book. I think I need to work on my technique of standing with one foot on a window ledge and the other on an old blanket box for my shots from above!

  2. Love seeing the behind the scenes!
    People keep telling me that I need to do a cookbook and I groan inside and think about all the work involved. Maybe I should say, “Hey, will do you all the clean up?” :P

  3. super cool to see this process! well done. burgers. want.
    Heidi xo

  4. Great shots and inspiration! I, too, am challenged each time a dish is ready to be memorialized by the camera….take ten – or twenty…keep one or two. My kitty also shows up to assist. The visual rewards are all worth the time and effort, as is clearly shown in your fun – and wonderful work. Congrats on publishing your book…hopefully there’s one in my future!

  5. Love this post! The cat pictures crack me up…because I live with that on a daily basis. One cat, couldn’t care. Other cat, always wanting to know what I’m doing (and sneak a taste).

    See the behind-the-scenes also gives me some good ideas for my own photography! Very helpful, really. :-)

  6. This is so fun! Love the behind-the-scenes! So glamorous! It must be especially exciting to see your own pictures in the book, as well as the recipes! Can’t wait to get a copy!

  7. Love this behind the scenes look!! Gorgeous photos. Gorgeous food. Loving all of the colors!

  8. You two impress me, greatly! What a cool behind the scenes look. Thanks!

  9. I am so excited to see you are coming to Napa for a signing! I can’t wait to get the book!! See you there!!!

  10. Oh my gosh, Lindsay, I LOVED this behind-the-scenes look! I am so glad you shared this. It is so encouraging to know that you do not need a “perfect” kitchen/photography area to take beautiful pictures. I loved seeing how you guys make it work so well!

    It was fun to meet you on Saturday! Thank you again for being such a sweet, encouraging, positive voice on the panel! Loved hearing from you in person!

  11. I came from the Le Creuset site. Apparently you have developed a chicken/goat cheese/fig recipe for 2 for them, yum. Thanks for the peak behind the scenes. I have enjoyed this post. And the cat pictures made me laugh out loud.

  12. I loved getting the back story on these gorgeous shots! It makes me smile because I realize I’m not the only one photographing on my floor. :) And you’ve convinced me I need to get a remote clicker for my camera! That is awesome!

  13. Thank you for all the behind the scenes photos! I love seeing your setup. One question: what kind of materials are the black background and the bright blue background? Paper? Posterboard? Something else?

    • The black one is a piece of wood I painted with chalkboard paint. The blue one is a piece of illustration board (found at art supply stores).

  14. So fun to see behind the scenes! Congrats on the new book!

  15. What a cool-looking process! I love all the in-action shots. Plus, your prop cupboard looks incredible….I’ll take some of those bowls :)

    Congrats on the book!

  16. You’re so full of talent. It’s cool seeing the behind the scenes. Thank you for sharing this with us!!

  17. Inspiring to get a little behind the scenes look. I’m considering to write a cook book as well some day.

  18. I’m ready for the recipe for the banana bread bundt cake. Your picture makes it look so yummy!

  19. Can’t wait to see this book! It looks beautiful! Loved your cookie dough one! My kitchen looked awfully similar while writing my book. I don’t think there is a way to write one without making a mess. Congrats!

  20. Love the behind the scenes! The pictures look amazing! was wondering where you got that table? It is perfect for taking pictures!

  21. Beautiful photos and great food…thanks!

  22. I LOVE breakfast for dinner -can’t wait to see all your great ideas! Also loved the cat shots – yes, food photography with a pet around is always interesting. My dog maggie is ‘helpful’ too. Best of luck with the new book!

  23. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to make a cookbook. And I’ve always been amazed of in how many different environments they shoot their pictures! I guess I’ve gotten my answer now :) It’s all about the accessories :)

  24. I loved seeing these pics! You gave me so many wonderful ideas for upcoming food shoots! { And I’m glad to know my post-photoshoot food frenzy is normal. } Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait for the book.

  25. Congratulations on the new book! You both should be so proud of yourselves – you’re an inspiration to so many of us bloggers! I love the photos you took of the book in progress with the messy kitchen – it shows how real everything is that goes into creating pristine recipes and photos. Gorgeous!

  26. I love seeing all these behind the scenes shots! Especially love your collection of styling props and the set-up you use to take the photos…very inspiring!


  27. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!!

  28. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my “Chocolate Lover’s Cookie Dough Book” (I make recipes from it ALL THE TIME) and I can’t wait to get your new cookbook!!! I adore your website and love the Cookie Dough book even more! You are extremely gifted and talented! Congrats on your success!

  29. I love your apartment. What awesome natural light! It also must be nice to have a partner in crime for this. I’m currently working solo for my book and i’m going a bit…. what’s the word… INSANE. :)

    • I don’t know how you’re doing it! Even for the first book, which I technically wrote by myself, I still had a ton of help from Taylor with photo shoots and especially all the dishes.

      Maybe you should get an intern. A dishwashing intern. Haha. :)

  30. Hahahaha! I look forward to your book.
    Howard? iPhone auto correct is so weird.

  31. I was seriously smiling this entire post. Thank you for sharing behind the scenes. You just gave me tons of ideas and inspiration. And the cars, well they only make me like you more! I love my kitties and I find it humorous when they get all up in my business when I’m trying to cook or photograph. I especially LOVE when the kitty is smiling and looking up at you. So cute! Congratulations and I look Howard to your book.

  32. Thanks for taking us inside the process of taking the pictures for your book, they are beautiful and I enjoyed seeing all of the setups.

  33. If the shots for the behind the scenes are that great, I can’t wait to see the ones for the book!
    We also have a helper cat. At least that is my rationale for his behavior.

  34. I am looking forward to starting my cooking journey! I am always looking for cool and interesting recipe ideas and this place is awesome! Thanks so much for your vivid and informative posts! Congratulations!

  35. Bwahahahaaa!!! Your cat cracks me up and is so exactly like ours. Our cats get into everything. I seriously can’t make the bed without them getting in my way. I love, love, love your set up and the fact that I’m not the only one who tears my kitchen apart when blogging! I also can’t wait for your book. So excited!

  36. Lindsay, congratulations on your new book, Breakfast for Dinner is a keeper! Can’t to see it, just entered your giveaway, but if I don’t win (which I’m crossing my fingers), I’ll go and pre-order, because we love breakfast for dinner. It’s a our favorite menu to make and the girls just love those days when we do have them (which is quite often). So very excited for you!!!!

  37. Congrats on your new book! I love that you were able to do your own photos. Question: What are your favorite lenses to use for food photography?

    • Also, what is the make of the tripod you used? It looks like a really good one!

    • The majority of the shots for the book (and on the blog!) were done with a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens, although I did break out the 50mm for some. Do note I have a Canon 5D camera which is full frame – so the 100mm is more like a 70mm on a crop-sensor camera. Just for reference. ;)

      My tripod is a Slik Pro 700DX. Love it and it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other brands:

  38. I love reading your post and looking at the things you make and create. I am a fanatic when it comes to cookbooks and recipes. I did make the Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles over Thanksgiving and they were a big hit! Trying to get my daughter who lives on her own now to cook and eat healthy and so I send her some of your recipes that look so healthy and delicious. Keep up the great work . Cant wait for the cookbook.:)

  39. I would love to get your book!!!!

  40. I love behind the scenes looks like this! You are so talented, and I really like seeing your photo set-up. Can’t wait to see the new book! :)

  41. Very nice to see the behind the scenes photos, and congratulations on your cooking book! Must say, love the cat pictures too! Have two kittens myself since last September and I recognize the ‘involvement’ :)

  42. This is such a wonderful post! I’ve always flipped through beautiful cookbooks and wondered about how they were put together- This was such a helpful and insightful look. Great work and can’t wait to check your book out!


  43. thanks much for sharing this!! I truly enjoy the “behind the scenes” process!! now i can’t wait to get my hands on that book!

  44. omg lovin’ this post! the behind the scene glimpses you share…WOW the work…congrats!!!

  45. It’s really cool to see the behind the scenes of a cookbook photo shoot, thanks for sharing :). I just pre-ordered the new book, it looks amazing, can’t wait!

  46. Thanks so much for sharing this! I love this behind the scenes look and am so intrigued about the 3 cats! Can’t wait to see the cookbook in print now! Congratulations!

  47. These are such fun photos! The clean-up, well that sounds like another story. The tools are especially interesting. Did you use a lot of food styling techniques with unconventional substitutes? Or did you use fresh batches of food items throughout?

    Thank you for sharing this behind-the-scenes sneak peak.



    P.S. Your mitten-wearing kitteh is adorable.

    • With the exception of a few egg and meat dishes that sat out too long for us to feel comfortable eating, we ate everything we made. No fake-food-styling tricks here, everything is pictured as is and completely edible. :)

  48. Congratulations and well done. This sneek peek looks amazing and totally fun. xx

  49. Oh my god! food photography is something so difficult for me. Im trying to improve myself, but as im living in doorms, with no window outside, I have to take my pictures in the dark or downstairs in the kitchen, where everyone is looking at you, so i dont like taking pictures there.
    Because admit it, we look really weird with our cameras shooting food instead of eating it ;)

  50. Lindsay, you and Taylor are so cute!

    … but Sgt Pepper is impossibly cuter. I hope he makes a cameo!! Can’t wait for the new book.

  51. this is so inspiring! cannot believe you guys did this all from your own home. fantastic job will be so cool to see the new book. thanks for sharing this behind the scene. I am so impressed!

  52. I’m so excited that you have a second book coming out! Breakfast for Dinner was one of my mom’s favorite things to make us when we were little, so I am really looking forward to the new book. Also, I’m a complete behind-the-scenes-photo junky. I love to see how everything works. Congrats on your new book!

  53. How long did the photography portion take you? SO impressed with your gorgeous photos. I am a complete beginner when it comes to food photography so I love seeing behind-the-scenes views. Congrats on your accomplishment!

    • Each shot took a good 3-4 hours to prep, shoot, and clean up. We were still working a somewhat regular schedule, so we’d only do 1 or 2 shots per day as we were able to fit them in, all over the course of a few months.

      Needless to say, we didn’t get out much during that time. Ha!

  54. Very cool to see the process behind the book. I especially like the cat’s involvement. :)

  55. Lindsay, this is so wonderful to see. I didn’t know you had a new cookbook coming out. Cookie Dough Lover’s is front and center on my cookbook shelf. Thank you so much for posting this. I am longing for a publishing deal for my own dream cookbook someday. Need to get my feet a little more wet in the blogging world for now. Thank you for this Lindsay and I can’t wait to buy!

  56. I love this post! It’s also helpful for me. I need to get out my tripod and my stool!

  57. I love that you show all the WORK behind creating tasty photos. The new book looks beautiful!

    We have two cats, but it’s the tuxedo cat who gets into everything. Maybe there’s something about the breed :p

  58. I am in love with this post! Thanks for sharing it, Lindsay. And all that food, photography, work!!! Not only developing the recipes and writing about them, and writing the book, but just the photography alone is an epic task. And I love seeing the cake from ‘real shoot’ to page in a book. And I also love that gray backdrop (and the cake!)

    Congrats on a major!!!!!!! accomplishment and the book itself sounds like a gorgeous high-quality book to be cherished for ages!

  59. Congrats on your second book. Breakfast for dinner is totally my jam — I’m completely excited to dive into it.

    Also, loved the behind the scenes feature :)

  60. How nice! I love this posts! And the pictures of how you take the pictures are going to be extremely helpful for our blog! Thanks!

  61. Well I sure am glad to see it’s not just my kitchen that looks like a tornado came through after making a meal.

    And I love that little clip idea on the white board!

  62. Congrats! I love seeing the behind the scenes pictures. I really need a little footstool like that – I am so damn short and always standing on something different when trying to get overhead shots!

  63. This was such a fun post! Thank you so much for sharing!

    xx Kait

  64. I pre-ordered mine last week! :) I love these behind the scenes shots… SO much fun! And I’m completely obsessed with the table you shoot on. What a fabulous find.

  65. I love that you showed us the behind the scenes. Everything looks so good and I can’t wait to get the cookbook.

  66. this is so cool! did you have your camera set up with a cord to send the pics directly over to photoshop? it looks like a very helpful tool.

  67. I love seeing the behind the scenes of this! I am always interested in photo set-ups, so I think a trip to the hardware and craft stores are on the docket this weekend : ) Thanks for sharing!

  68. Yay, congrats!! So excited for your second book!! Sgt Pepper may not be able to hold a pen, but he could leave a paw print. :)

  69. I’m completely jealous of the big windows and natural light. Can’t wait for the new cookbook to come out. Congrats.

  70. WOW, thanks so much for sharing what it is truly like behind the scenes of making a cookbook. This process looks super cool though I am sure it is TONS of work. I can’t wait for the cookbook!

  71. What an absolutely fantastic post! I love it!!! Congrats!

  72. It’s great to see behind the scenes of making a cookbook. The pictures are looking very promising.
    Also what I always wonder and I want to ask you that… did you eat all the stuff you cooked for the cookbook?

    • Indeed we did! With the exception of a few things (like the second batch of burgers) that sat out a bit too long while we were photographing. We didn’t want to waste anything but didn’t want to poison ourselves either, haha.

  73. I love this!!! And ok, you’ve seriously inspired me to buy a step stool. For years I have been teetering on the edge of a chair — crazy! A step stool would be completely, um, logical. :)

    Can’t wait for the new book!!

  74. Looks fun to me! I definitely help you cleaning those mess, but in the meantime, let me pre-order it. Can’t wait to give your recipes a try!

  75. Wow, thank you! I’ve always wondered what studio setup looks like, ideas for backdrops, etc.

    Your little table is awesome. And I need a tripod.

  76. Seriously awesome looking behind the scenes…cannot wait for this book!! And the kitty cone of shame slays me :)

  77. This is so wonderful, thank you for sharing! My dream is to write my own cookbook so this is extremely exciting for me to see :) I do have a quick question, what materials do you use as backgrounds in your photos? I saw cloth but I couldn’t make out what the other two boards are made out of. What do you recommend using?

    • I’ve got assorted fabric, placemats, wood slats, marble, vintage cutting boards… all about variety. Any texture/surface can make for an interesting photo!

  78. omg this is such a neat post – I am constantly trying to improve my food photography and it’s so intriguing to see how you set up for your photos. And I can’t wait to see this new book! Brinner is the best :D

  79. Wow a lot of work, but looking great. And poor kitty with the cone of shame :-(

  80. Your cat is about as bad as my dogs, who live through their nose and which makes it into about half of my shots. What a great view for all of us to get the chance to peek into your process. Your talents reach far beyond those of mere mortals. And that bundt cake is inspiring. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and tell everyone about it. Congratulations!

  81. Congratulations! I went through this process this last year too, and I wish I had taken pictures of the insanity! It is so hard and crazy, and there are lots of pajamas and dish soap involved :)

  82. Love the behind-the-scenes look, plus your cat is adorable! :)


  83. Wow, so nice to see that I am not the only one without a photo-room to shoot in, recognize homemade props I also use, beloved animals trying to help, and let’s not forget – the messy kitchen, that somehow always appears form the now-where!
    Congratulations on your cookbook!

  84. I love seeing these posts from you. Can’t wait to get my hand on this book. :)

  85. Such a great post! Love the mess…I mean, I love looking at the mess through the computer screen ;)
    Can’t wait for the book!

  86. Congrats!!! So thrilled for you!

  87. SO AWESOME! I can’t wait to get a copy of the book – everything looks beautiful! My mini doxie loves when I’m in the kitchen, so I totally understand the fuzzy helpers!

  88. Agree those burgers are amazing!! :) Sgt P totally looks like he’s supervising you. Haha cannot wait for this book! Congrats again!

  89. Congratulations on the new cookbook. Love seeing how you took your shots.

  90. What a great peek behind the cookbook. My favorite picture is the one of Taylor washing the dishes, ha.

  91. Love this bts look!

    xo Jennifer

  92. I remember similar scenes shooting my own book – it’s such hard work but so rewarding seeing all the wondeful pictures build up. You really get a sense for what the finished book will look like. Well done!

  93. I cannot wait to get this book!

    I love the behind the scenes shots – I have two dachshunds over here that like to get involved also…

  94. I can’t wait to see the cookbook! I have been a huge fan of love and olive oil ever since I made your chocolate chip cookie dough truffles a few years ago as part of my Christmas gifting and got rave reviews from all that received them (and myself!) Congrats on the book!

  95. Love your new book! My hubby would adore your book, since breakfast is his favorite meal and he could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Love the behind the scenes look – you two were super busy! The photo of the cat napping on the table is precious! Congrats!!!!

  96. I am dying over the cat photos. I WANT this book,Lindsay! But please can Sgt Pepper sign mine?

  97. i just pre-ordered it! i can’t wait to get it :) these posts are so fun to see, too. i love watching the process. oh, and sgt. pepper is way too cute ;)

  98. I loved seeing these shots – it’s incredible to see the amount of work that goes into a cookbook and the finished article is something that you can be very proud of by the looks of it. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  99. Love the kitty photos! It’s always nice to have some help in the kitchen… can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this lovely book!

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