Big News: A Macaroni and Cheese Cookbook! And A Call for Recipe Testers

Macaroni and Cheese on

Update: Melt is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retails. Order your copy now!

Many freelance food writers dream of writing a cookbook, and I was one of them. For years I’ve exercised my writing muscles, honed my recipe development abilities, perfected my proposal writing technique, and of course, pitched countless stories to the magazines and websites that I love to read. I’ve met with agents and publishers to discuss trends and logistics, and pumped my published writing friends for tips and advice. And guess what? After years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, not giving up when the disbelievers around me told me my efforts would never pay off, the stars aligned.

Since it’s been officially announced in Publishers Marketplace, I can finally let you all in on the news I’ve been dying to share – we’re writing a macaroni and cheese cookbook! And by we I mean me and Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic, my BBFF (Best Blogging Friend Forever, a term I totally stole from him). Garrett and I came up with a unique idea together, worked for months on crafting a solid book proposal, and then with the help of a very generous writer friend, landed a incredibly knowledgable agent. She, in turn, found a handful of publishers that were just as excited about the topic as we were. In the end, we signed with Little, Brown and Company.

Due out in 2013, our Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese cookbook will present a variety of macaroni recipes using artisan cheeses that take this classic dish to an entirely new level. Our goal with the book is to give these small-production cheeses a few moments in the spotlight, with only a few other ingredients to compliment their flavor and texture. Melt will present a modern, distinctive approach to the art of mac and cheese, encouraging readers to think outside of the blue box and take the leap into cooking with cheese varieties they may have only encountered on cheese plates.

Check out Garrett’s post sharing the good news here.

And, to make it even more special, the book will be packed with photos of gorgeous macaroni and cheese, taken by the incomparably talented Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with Matt and Adam on this project – as both friends and culinary artists, they’ve been a huge inspiration in my life. Knowing that our dishes will be interpreted through their artistic vision seals my faith in the success of this project. We’re going to need extra-heavy paper to stand up to people licking the pages!

Want to get involved?

It’s going to be a crazy year while Garrett and I write and test recipes, and that’s where we need your help. We need a team of recipe testers to help us make this book the best it can possibly be! We’re looking for testers of all skill levels – remember, the goal is to make sure these dishes work for everyone – so if you’re interested in recipe testing, regardless of your skill level, please comment here and we’ll add you to the recipe testing list. We can’t pay you or reimburse for recipe testing expenses, but we’ll most definitely thank you by name in the book’s acknowledgement section, and you’ll get a sneak preview into the world of cooking with amazing artisan cheeses. Plus, you’ll earn our undying gratitude – and possibly a copy of our macaroni and cheese cookbook! :)

For more information, e-mail me and Garrett at

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Sarah Caron says

    Congratulations! That’s awesome news. I can’t wait to check out your cookbook. Also, I’d be happy to help with testing.

  2. Jerry (CbsoP) says

    I’m all over testing, just lemme know what you need. And a very sincere congrats. it couldn’t happen to a better pair of people.

  3. Kimberley says

    Congrats, Stephanie! So exciting. You couldn’t have a better photo/styling team than Matt & Adam either! It’s gonna be so badass!

  4. Marthalynn says

    Congratulations!! It’s wonderful to see you reap the rewards of all of your hard work. I’d be happy to test any of your recipes, seeing as I already consult your blog regularly for planning our meals. I’m excited to watch this process unfold!

  5. Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart says

    I’m so happy for you. If you have any recipes that need high-altitude testing, I’m your girl.

  6. Julie says

    Congratulations Steph!! So incredibly happy for you.

    My little people and I would love to be taste testers whenever you need us….

  7. Dianne Jacob says

    Very proud of you, young lady, for your tenaciousness. And Garrett too, of course. Just sent out a tweet too.

  8. Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi says

    Ha! I reread the post and noticed you stole my “need extra heavy paper due to licking” line-I’m flattered. Absolutely true though. Matt’s photos are divine.

  9. Linda @spiceboxtravels says

    Congratulations, saw the great news through Dianne’s tweet. I will gladly offer myself as a recipe tester– in particular if you have a white cheddar-truffle oil recipe :)

  10. Anna Mindess says

    Wooo Hooo!! You go girl! Great news and you totally deserve it. What a treat to work with those photo pros too. Can’t wait to see fruits of your labors.

  11. Stephanie Rosenbaum says

    Really? No payment and no ingredient reimbursement? You’re getting paid well to write this book–why should other people work for you for free? Recipe testers, in my experience, get their ingredients reimbursed AND get paid for their feedback and notes. You’re a professional; why would you ask people to do your work for free?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Because we can’t afford it. We’re asking for volunteers. If you don’t like, don’t volunteer.

  12. Adrienne johnson says

    Hey Stephanie! I just followed your link from facebook and love to test some recipes. It’s been a long time but congrats! The book sounds really fun.

  13. Chelsey says

    Sign me up! Mac and cheese baby!!! I am a god cook, can cook like your grandma (she’s a fab cook, right?!!). I am super excited for you.

  14. Kerry says

    congrats on the book contract, and all the best as you work through getting it done. when you have healthy Mac n cheese recipes you need tested, happy to help if I can.

  15. Susan says

    Stephanie, congrats to you and Garrett! This sounds like a fantastic idea for a book, and I know you guys will do an amazing job.

  16. Elizabeth says

    So excited for you, Stephanie!! Like Roxanne, if you need a high-altitude tester, I’ll be there for you. What a wonderful idea for a book. Can’t wait to BUY IT!!

  17. Mike Fitzgerald says

    Congratulations on your new endeavor.
    I would be happy to test your recipes and providing feedback.

  18. Darla says

    Congratulations. And a cookbook on my favorite food… right up there with bread and chocolate! Would love to attempt testing for you. Always worry about the available resources here in the wilds of the Northeast… and also the energy level of us elderly. But let’s give it a whirl! I’m experimenting with GF croissants this weekend…

  19. e says

    I would love to help test!! Seriously, could things be any cooler – Mac n Cheese, artisan cheese, AND Matt/Adam???

  20. Megan says

    I’d love to be a tester! I love macaroni & cheese! It’s a bit of an obsession, and I’d love to explore the artisan side of it. Please email me and we can discuss experience level, etc. Thank you!

  21. Brook says

    Wonderful news. What a great idea. No doubt the two of you together are gonna rock this concept.

    I’m already doing some recipe testing, which is an occupation/hobby that ties in nicely with our rainy Seattle weather. Something tells me my friends & family will be very excited at the thought of me testing your Mac and Cheese recipes on them 😉

    I’m in!

  22. Sonnda says

    Hi Stephanie, huge congrats to you and Garrett on the book deal! Great great stuff. Wd be v happy to recipe test for you both, not least because I love macaroni cheese. Just say the word.

  23. Heather Cook says

    I’d be happy to test recipes and promote your book on my blog, too. I’m all for anything that keeps kids AND mama happy at the dinner table!

  24. Vera Marie Badertscher says

    This is so exciting. Couldn’t have picked a better food! If you need a great-grandma’s test kitchen, let me know.

  25. Lori @ RecipeGirl says

    Yay!!! I thought you were already writing a cookbook… Anyhow, I love that you & Garrett joined forces. Maybe more of us need to do this! Have fun w/ it and congrats!!

  26. Brian Nietfeld says

    From a Frugal Kiwi reader: CONGRATS! I’ll be more than happy to help test recipes… in fact, I was planning on making scratch mac-n-cheese tonight 😀

  27. Louise says

    We LOVE mac n cheese, and I am a cheese-fiend. I’d love to test recipes, but please remember I am in New Zealand and might not be able to get hold of artisan American cheeses. If you’re interested though, I can look up some NZ cheese producers which I could use instead :)

  28. Amanda says

    Hello! Congratulations!! I am slightly embarrassed to say this, but I just took a knives 101 class and finally learned how to cut things! I’m as beginner as you can get, but am really enjoying learning my way around the kitchen. If you need any beginner testers, I’m in!!

  29. Merr says

    Wow! Oh WOW! I am so excited for you and for this book! Can you be a recipe tester if you are barely a cook? If so, I would do it :)

  30. Jessica Resnick says

    I would love to help test recipes! Looks like I picked the right day to follow a link to your blog :) Congratulations on the book deal!!

  31. Tanja Funk says

    I just stumbled across your blog today (looking for a cinnamon bun recipe – which is now going to be my better late than never breakfast). Mac ‘n’ Cheese is my son’s favorite but I have banned his precious KD from the house. So mac ‘n’ shredded cheddar it’s been. I would LOVE to test new inspiration!

  32. Gwen says

    I would love to help out as a taste-tester! Mac & cheese is my ultimate favorite food, ever.

    Congrats on the exciting news!! I can’t wait to see the book in print!

  33. Aaron says

    Congratulations! As a long time macaroni lover, I can’t wait for the book to come out. We just used a special, spicy cheese in our macaroni the other night and it made all the difference in the world.

  34. Heather says

    Hi! I happened to find you on pinterested and this book sounds amazing!! I have thought of doing something similar with nachos..I am going to start following you! I would love to be a recipe tester :) Please sign this girl up!!

    thank you!!!


    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Go glad you like the site! :) The book is done, coming out later this year, so we’re all done recipe testing. But I appreciate your offer! 😀


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