We finished the cookbook this week.
The idea for the cookbook first popped into my head as I was finishing up the first draft of my first book. When I wrote the proposal for that book, I didn’t know Danny at all. Originally, I intended my book to end with a triumphant dinner scene at Chez Panisse, which has always been a dream.
Turned out a little different than I thought.
As we were finishing up the final draft of the proposal, I told my agent about Danny. “He’s a chef, a really talented one, so he’s going to help with the recipes. Should I put that in the proposal?”
“Shauna,” she said, laughing. “He has to be the last chapter of the book.“
Oh. Okay. (I always trust Stacey.)
I had only known him four months when I got the deal for the first book and started writing. We were engaged by then, knowing we were solid. At the time, it seemed entirely natural to write an entire chapter of a book about him.
That chapter was written urgently, and the urgency makes me love it, still. However, it’s a little sappy to me now, from this distance. Or maybe just young. We have lived so much more together now. I like the real stuff more. The cookbook is much more us, deeply in love and living the mundane details of days together.
And so, the idea for this book in January 2007 became a book proposal by March of 2008. I was four months pregnant with Lu — the perfect time to imagine writing a new book! We were offered the deal in May of 2008, just a few months before she was born.
With the exception of the time we were in the ICU with Lu, or in the hospital for her surgery, we have been actively working on this book every single day since then. (And frankly, discussing recipes during those stressful times was a relief, so we probably worked on the book then too.) Talking about it, cooking for it, writing ideas for it, refining recipes, changing our minds and cooking again — the moments of our days these past two years have been guided by working on this book.
When we first began, I had no idea how to make fresh gluten-free pasta. It seemed impossible. When we turned in the first draft of the cookbook, our pasta looked like this. On the day we had to send the last draft away, I made this batch of pasta early in the morning, to test the last little tweak. (Not only is the pasta much better now, but the recipe is easier to make, too.)
This has been an incredible journey. And now it’s done.
This week we finished the very final edits. (This is where we have been, cooking and writing and tweaking again. Thanks to those of you who wrote, concerned by our silence.) Danny drove a big box with the marked-up pages to the Country Store, here on the island, and sent it away via UPS. It left our hands. We cannot change a single word anymore.
Oh, of course, there is still work to be done. We have to start thinking about a possible book tour (we hope), maybe some television (fingers crossed), and finding the best way to get this book into your hands. The work of offering the book to the world will be just as absorbing as the writing of it has been.
But the book itself is done. It has an ISBN number already! And a publication date: September 21st. Oh! and a title. Have I told you the title?
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes
Plus, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon now. (It’s all going so fast!)
And that photo up there? That’s a photo we took of the first marketing mailer sent to us by our publishers. That’s the cover of our book.
(The bit in the middle is the cover. “Love conquers all…even food allergies” is the marketing team’s tag line. For those of you who are worried, we know that celiac is an auto-immune disorder, not a food allergy. But the marketing team wanted to include everyone, not just those of us with celiac. This is really a book for anyone who loves food. And besides, “Love conquers all…even autoimmune disorders” really doesn’t have the same ring, does it?)
We think you might enjoy this book.
We wrote it for you, after all. We could not have done this without you. Danny and I adored this process, and we can’t wait to write more cookbooks. But this book belonged to us only as long as we could change recipes and stories. We wrote it to let go of it.
It’s all yours now. We hope you enjoy it.