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Written by Barny Luxmoore

The Toastie Construction Manual is a recipe book that focuses on toasted sandwiches. This is the first book I have written and hopefully will be the first in series of Kitchen Operator Handbooks.

The Jabberwocky

The Jabberwocky Food Van, Barny Luxmoore, The Table Read
The Jabberwocky

In 2011 I started a street food business with my wife Flic and so The Jabberwocky was born. This started out as a hobby for us to do together, in between her job in marketing and my job as a chef in a restaurant. After 18 months we realised we no longer had time for real jobs and both quit to work for ourselves full time.

By this point we had decided that Toasties were our food and we were doing everything we could to improve our sandwiches and ingredients. We got obsessed with trying new ingredients and new combinations so soon we had dozens of toasted creations to sell to the public.

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The Idea Of A Cookbook

I started writing a cookbook back in 2015; quickly it became clear that I didn’t really know what to write about. I was just collecting various recipes that I had developed over my years in kitchens. So without focus the obvious choice of food to concentrate on was toasties. This is the food I know most about (to date I think I have made/sold around 100,000) and the food I eat most often (about 3 times a week when I’m not working).

Writing the book kept me busy while Flic was writing her own book (Street Food Soliloquy: Starting and running a UK street food business) and when I was bored at slow events. However, later that year our first child was born and free time became a thing of the past.

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Toastie Construction Manual, Barny Luxmoore, The Table Read
Toastie Construction Manual Diagram

Diagram Design

Then in 2020 with lockdown in full swing. I decided it was time to look again at my book. By this time I had written most of the words and recipes out. I gave it a good polish changed the bits that I now disagreed with and started thinking about images. This is the part of the book that had always stumped me. A good cook book is defined by the images it uses, I am not great at photography or at art, plus pretty pictures don’t help you make a good toastie and so from a basic level they didn’t sit right with me.

On top of these problems it was clear that a full colour print would probably make the book too expensive to print and self-publish. Right back in 2015 I had the notion of stylised or exploded diagrams for each toastie. With the words done and nothing else holding me back I started some experiments on the free illustrator program I had on the lap top ( and after a few iterations I had something I was no longer embarrassed to show another human. This is when the name Toastie Construction Manual was applied to the book. With some no-nonsense writing and exploded diagrams all over the place it soon looked very different form a standard cook book.

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Toastie Construction Manual Publication

Toastie Construction Manual, Barny Luxmoore, The Table Read
Toastie Construction Manual by Barny Luxmoore

Unfortunately with the arrival of late summer and the steady opening of society, I had to return to work. By his time Flic had found a job so between childcare and selling food again, the book had to take a back seat. I did continue to work on it at a camping retreat that I was catering as there would be hours at a time with nothing to do. 

By September I had started putting everything together in a manuscript, but my deadline of the end of September flew past as work took priority. Then cases of COVID-19 went up again and November we were back to lockdown. Here was my chance. With the support of Flic I got the time I needed to finish the manuscript.

I hadn’t got round to making my own profile for Kindle Direct Publishing and somewhere along the way I had got the standard size of book wrong. I had finished the book, but made it the wrong size. The size I had chosen would be a custom trim so would be far too expensive to print at the sale price I wanted. In the days that followed there were some frantic rearranging of the manuscript to fit a new size book (in the end it looks better as it is a bit bigger).

I was very nervous when I ordered my proof copy and showed it to Flic for the first time. In the end she didn’t hate it or laugh at me. Then she did the necessary work of proof reading it for me. I should point out that I am dyslexic so proof reading is almost impossible for me to do myself. Flic found lots of errors and then my parents helped by finding many more. There was a sticky moment when my wife and mother disagreed about the correct grammar for a particular phrase.

More To Come

Finally nearly 6 years since I started the book on 13th November I put the Toastie Construction Manual live on Amazon. As this is so closely related to the business we could use some of our contacts in media and events to help promote the book. With these pushes and social media I was very pleased to get better sales than I expected. Honestly I would have been happy with 100 copies selling in total. I even got into the top 1% of books on amazon for a few hours.

It was also great to get some reviews, people not only bought my book, but they actually enjoyed enough to tell other people about it!

I am currently working on the second book in the Kitchen Operator Handbook Series. I am hopeful it will be done by Christmas but once again the business of going out and selling food is getting in the way. Also the lockdown this year involved a lot more home schooling than the first, thus much less time to spend writing.

More From Barny Luxmoore:

Interview on The Table Read:

Toastie Construction Manual on Amazon

The Jabberwocky website


Twitter @jabberwockyfood

Facebook @jabberwockyfood

Instagram @jabberwockyfood

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