A week from tonight, the Chef and I will be on a plane to New York (gluten-free food in hand, thank you!).
Let the book tour begin.
We are so excited to come out of the kitchen, and behind the computer, to meet as many of you as we can.
This fall, we learned, the hard way, that publishers really don’t pay for book tours anymore. The old days of ten-city tours, and hotel room meals, are merely a dream for those of us who don’t have shows on the Food Network. I love my publishers, and especially my editor and the woman in charge of marketing (hi you two!). They have produced a beautiful book. It’s not their fault. This is simply the way of publishing these days. Money is tight, expectations are low, and in the days of the internet, it simply doesn’t make sense for a publisher to pay for an airline flight to Cleveland to read to a room of 50 people. (Thanks for that line, David.) And so, no book tour for this gluten-free girl.
The Chef and I talked about this for days. Should we listen to common sense, save our money, and let the book sell through this website and word of mouth? Should we listen to this no?
Did you just meet me? (The Chef loves to say this to me when I suggest something ludicrous.)
We believe in this book. We want to let people know, in as many ways as we can, that living gluten-free can be joyful and alive.
In each city we visit, we’ll be doing cooking demonstrations, book signings, restaurant launch parties, visits to gluten-free bakeries, and as many fascinating events that we can plan and attend. Not only because we cannot wait to meet people, but also because we want the mainstream media and middle America both to know this: living gluten-free is not deprivation.
Do you notice that I am saying we? That is intentional. In nearly every place we visit, the Chef will be coming with me. I need him there, not only to keep me grounded in this surreal, lovely experience, but also because I want to share this with him. This is bound to be one of the most singular experiences of our lives.
We cannot wait.
As much as we would love to sell lots of books, both of us feel this clearly: we are doing this for more than ourselves.
We want people to know this.…
Throughout my life, my health never matched my spirit.
Inside, I felt a natural exuberance. But I fell frequently ill, plagued with hormonal problems, so low in energy that I often wouldn’t move off the couch all afternoon. Depression settled into every crevice of my mind. I thought that this is what it meant to be alive.
When I was diagnosed with celiac disease at 38 years old, I said yes.
I said yes to my health. I listened to my body and avoided the gluten. I grew better. I said yes to the foods I had never eaten before, as long as they were gluten-free. I discovered sorghum from Africa, tamari from Asia, amaranth from Central America. I let the world into my kitchen.
I have never been so alive as I have been these past two years.
I’m not alone in this. 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease. (Some studies suggest the number may be 1 in 100.) Only 3% of us are diagnosed. It is my mission in life to help every one of those people – most of them women who are languishing in pain and depression – to be diagnosed. With my book, I want to teach people how to say yes to their lives.
If being diagnosed with celiac changed my life this much, how much joy will be released when 3 million Americans find their health?
So, money be damned, we are going on the road. We’ll be staying on friends’ couches, and cobbling together frequent flyer miles, and pinching the pennies when we are home. But don’t feel sorry for us. What a blast this is going to be!
And I have been thinking, over and over, about one of my favorite sayings: Leap and the net will appear.
We’re leaping together.
Here are the first plans. There will be many more details revealed, as we go along. I’ll be keeping you updated as new events arise. But for now, here we go.
New York City — October 12th to 16th
The book will be officially for sale (ask for it at a bookstore near you!) on the 12th, and we’re going to New York to celebrate. Have I ever told you that the Chef and I lived in New York at the same time one year, twelve blocks from each other, and never met? This will be the first time we can walk the streets together, holding hands.
We are leaving some time open for media (perhaps yet to be announced). Much will happen spontaneously. But we would love to see you at the following events.
Saturday, October 13th at 11:30 am
The Chef and I will be standing at Strawberry Fields, in Central Park (just off 72nd Street), near the Imagine sign, at 11:30 am. That is the time of day we first met. And of course, we have this John and Yoko thing. We have never been to Strawberry Fields together.
Someone recently said to us, “You know, most people when they fall in love fall into each other and shut out the world. But you two, you just seem to go outward.” That’s true. We both love humanity. And we would like to share this moment with you.
We want to make this a real celebration. A good number of you wanted to attend our wedding (we’re still blown away by this!) in July. That was, of course, a private event. But, as dear Kelly suggested to me the other day, this event could be like the east-coast extension of our wedding. Let’s have a fabulous party!
If you would like, join us at the Imagine sign in Strawberry Fields, at 11:30 in the morning. I will be there to sign books (bring yours with you!), and we will both say hello.
We would also love it if — just like at our wedding — everyone joined us in singing “Imagine.” Sure, some of you might think this is hokey, but honestly? I’m growing a little teary just writing this.
This would mean the world to us.
Sunday, October 14th — morning
On Sunday morning, we will be up in Rye, New York, gleefully taking part in the Colin Leslie walk for Celiac. This beautiful event is being arranged by a 15-year-old young man named Colin Leslie, who was diagnosed with celiac two years ago and wanted to do something to raise awareness. Last year, 700 people attended the walk! I cannot wait to meet him.
The Chef and I will be there, selling books and hoping to meet every one of the people who participates in such a heartfelt event.
Monday, October 15th — cooking demonstration at Whole Foods — 7 pm
The Chef and I are thrilled to be teaching a cooking class together, at one of the biggest Whole Foods in the country. And again, they made room for us on such short notice that we are honored.
In this two-and-a-half-hour class, we will show you how to make penne pasta with smoked salmon, dill, horseradish, and white wine; chicken thighs braised in pomegranate molasses; and fig cookies. There will be plenty of other gluten-free nibbles as well.
The class limit is 20 people, so this will fill up fast. Call 212.420.1320 to make your reservation today!
(And if you cannot get into the class, we will be signing books at 9:30, after it is done.)
Seattle in October
After we come home, there will be an exhilarating whirlwind of events, and we hope you can help us celebrate!
October 20th — at the farmers’ market
The Chef and I will be at the University District Farmers’ market from 10 am to 12, at the master chef booth at the market. Have questions about parsnips? Want a recipe for butternut squash soup? We’ll be there to answer your questions!
4:30 pm — I will be on the Tom Douglas show, talking with Tom and Thierry on the radio! Please tune in and listen to me giggle and answer questions about gluten.
October 22nd — book launch party at Osteria la Spiga
Do you think you can’t be gluten-free and eat great Italian food? Come to Osteria la Spiga and find out the truth!
The Chef and I will be there, grinning like mad. This gorgeous, soaring space of a restaurant will become a kick-ass party, with gluten-free food, wine, and wonderful people. Entrance buys you all this, plus a book. This is definitely going to be a fabulous party.
(And here a note. In almost every city, we are deliberately holding restaurant launch parties in Italian restaurants. We love every cuisine in the world. Truly. But we want to send the message — by celebrating and eating well — that people’s dire fears of living gluten-free are unfounded. You can eat great Italian food and not grow sick. Living gluten-free means living well.)
There is limited space for this event, so please call 206.323.8881 to make reservations now.
October 26th — Chef Shop party
We love the folks at ChefShop.com. Not only do they stock some of the best vinegars and honeys we can find, but they are huge supporters of gluten-free people. Over a year ago, they contacted me — noticing that I have a link to them on my site — to ask if I could come in to consult for them. They had become aware of how many of us are living gluten-free, and they wanted to know everything they could about gluten-free flours, the dangers of cross-contamination, and how to obtain great food for all of us. I was impressed and honored, and we have been working together ever since.
They believe in this so much that they have created a pantry on their website, highlighting all the ingredients I talk about in the book. They have also created one for the Chef. You can go to either one to buy the lemon olive oil I use for the lemon olive oil cookies.
You can also follow this link to make a reservation for the incredible party they are throwing in our honor on Friday, October 26th. They are decorating their warehouse like a giant swanky lounge. The theme is the honeymoon in Italy the Chef and I just experienced, and how easy it was to eat gluten-free there. I’ll be giving a slide show and a speech. There will be wonderful wine and appetizers galore. You can buy a book from Queen Anne books, who will be selling them at the party. And part of the proceeds will be donated to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
Most humbling for us, the chef who will be working for ChefShop will be making over a dozen appetizers for everyone, all based on recipes from the book. Shaved fennel salad; tomato and corona bean salad; tiny pizzas; macaroni and cheese with Manchego cheese; lemon olive oil cookies.…the list goes on and on. I have to admit, I never dreamed that people who live in good food like this would be making my recipes for a party, held in my honor.
Really, I just can’t stop smiling.
And we will be visiting five other cities as well, in a thrilling three months.
Portland — October 28th through 30th
Chicago — November 2nd through 5th
San Francisco and the Bay Area — November 8th through 12th
Los Angeles — December 1st through 4th
Denver and Boulder — just after the new year
Plans for each of these cities are still in formation, so stay tuned for more details. (And if you have any suggestions or offers, let us know!)
Believe me, we wish we could visit every city in this country. Perhaps later we can. But for now, this is an incredible start. And we are speechless, and honored.
None of this would have happened without the indefatigable efforts and intelligent enthusiasms of the dynamic women at Suzuki + Chou Communimedia. When we were flummoxed and feeling adrift in this, we found this team. Working with them has been one of the best decisions of our lives. Women, we adore you.
We want to change the lives of everyone who has to eat gluten-free, as well as the people who don’t know they need to yet. We have been blessed. We would like to share those blessings.
And mostly, we just can’t wait to meet you!
A year ago, we imagined this. Now, it is finally coming true.