Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2019.06.16 - Fast 800 Recipes

It's here! Arrived in the post on Friday morning, the new Fast 800 Recipe book. It's full of really great looking food, indexed by name and by calorie range, has lots of photographs and suggestions for non-fast days and lots of cook's tips. A really good cookbook.

However, as a recipe book it's pretty much useless.

Why, I hear you ask and I'm glad you asked that. The problem is that is that it is a fairly large paperback and as such will not lie flat to the recipe you want to use. Using it in the kitchen would be impossible. One could even argue that, as a kitchen recipe book, it is not fit for purpose. But perhaps that would be going just a little too far. Apart from this problem, the book is beautifully laid out, well presented, has great photos of most of the dishes, the instructions, ingredients, hints and tips are all clear, readable and understandable, although the mixture of measuring units does irritate me somewhat, for the majority of criteria, it is a great book. It's just not possible to use it I the kitchen without two house bricks to hold the book open to the page you are currently using.

Here is the new book. Nice eh? So what do I do when I stop rummaging through it for the first time?

I clamp it into my newly made book press and...

...cut the spine completely off. My new book now consists of two covers and a whole lot of sheets of paper. But there is method in my seeming madness.

A little while later the stack of papers looks like this. They are back in the book press but the spine has been glued up with what is known as the double-fan method. Just search for 'double fan bookbinding' in your favourite search engine or see here for a video tutorial and here for part 2. I am just waiting for the glue to set up a little before doing the next part.

The next part is to glue a piece of fabric on the spine and round onto the outside page by about a quarter of an Inch. You can see the fabric on the spine here. Again I am waiting for the glue to set up before the next stage.

The next stage is the glueing of the covers back onto the text block. They are glued to the fabric put on the the previous step and again, I am waiting for the glue to set up only this time overnight.

This is the result, a spineless paperback.

The difference is that the book now opens flat.

Another page.

And another. As you can see, the book has been improved by the removal of the paper and rigid glue spine and is fit for purpose as a recipe book. It can be used in the kitchen now without having to rest bricks on the pages to keep the book open.

Instead it has this flexible PVA glue and cloth spine.

Now for some coking.