For the past three years, Danny and I have been imagining this time, the time that is arriving within the next week.
As we cooked and took notes, talked and typed, edited and tried those recipes again, we created a cookbook for one reason: we wanted the book to be in your kitchen, flung onto the counter, food stains on the pages.
We want to inspire people to cook.
A few moments ago, the lovely Jenn Sutherland sent me a message on Twitter. “Can’t wait to get your book this week! Got the whole weekend cleared to cook with you.”
Later, someone else wrote of receiving our cookbook: “It came today and I’ve already read it (and dog eared most of the recipes). I fully expect it to be covered in sauce splotches and dustings of flour soon. It will not sit all pristine on my cookbook shelf pretty but unused.”
Already read it? I swear, Danny and I both grew a little teary when we read this.
You see, for three years this cookbook has been ours. We have the piles of dishes to show that. We have tasted and sifted pounds of gluten-free flours, talked and typed, thought about recipes and discussed them in bed late at night, started over when a recipe as written on the page didn’t work on the stove, and then hoped it all would work out.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve seen us through this process, from the announcement of the book deal to this piece about cooking the dishes when Lu was just a small baby to breakthroughs in recipes that required baking to seeing the final book for the first time. So many of you have cheered us on, through your comments and letters and messages on Twitter. You have been in our heads as we altered recipes and made sentences more clear. You have been in the kitchen with us.
You see, this book is more than a cookbook. It’s the story of a marriage, told through food. It’s the story of a chef, a day in his life, and everything it takes for him to put food on the plate that is placed before you. It’s the story of the Pacific Northwest, of meeting the man who grows potatoes and sells them at the University District Farmers’ Market, and of the place where we lived through the narrative of the book. It’s the story of a time past in our lives.
Really, for us, this cookbook is a sweet evocation of the life we once lived, before Lu, before living on the island, before looking at life differently after her surgery and tough, hilarious personality shone through. No matter what happens, we have this book to remind us of what our lives were once like.
But for you? The cookbook will be something entirely different. We don’t know what this cookbook will be for you.
We hope it will be useful. We hope that after reading you are inspired to move into the kitchen and start cooking. We hope you find your lives a little easier after making gluten-free bread that tastes soft against the teeth and pizza that puffs up in heat. We hope you think about cooking with your spouse more often, about going to farmers’ markets for the first time, about how your life might taste sweeter if you eat food in season.
And we hope you laugh. The cookbook is actually meant to be funny, in places.
It’s not a typical cookbook. It’s meant to be read cover to cover, like a novel. It’s intimate and vulnerable and filled with the real details of a working chef’s life (and his wife’s). It’s a lot more complex than a cookbook with 100 recipes and small head notes before each one and not much else.
We really, really love this book. It’s entirely possible you might hate it.
No book works for every person who reads it. (Have you read this Salon piece about scathing reviews of much-beloved books on Amazon?) We’re not hoping to please everyone.
We just hope that the book will find its way to those of you who will enjoy cooking from it.
You’ll see when you read it: this book is really about cooking to connect, instead of impressing.
Danny taught me that. (I love that he is now an author. He never expected it.)
And so, this is what we worked for, three years long. We did all this work for one reason.
It’s your book now.
* * *
We can’t wait to celebrate this with you.
In this day, traditional book tours are pretty rare. Publishers are nervous about the money it takes to send an author around the country. Independent bookstores are closing up shop. With Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy for an author to sit in front of the computer and do all this from home.
Not us. We want to meet you!
So we’re flying ourselves to New York in 9 days. (For those of you wondering, of course Lu is coming with us too.) We’re staying on friends’ couches and hopping subways to different places each days. We’re going on book tour.
We sure hope we get to eat good food with a bunch of you.
Rather than doing traditional readings in bookstores, we’ve created our own way. We want to create gatherings, lovely happenings of good people connecting over great food.
If you live in the New York City area (or anywhere close), consider adding the following events to your calendar.
Saturday, September 25th
11 a.m. to 12 noon
On the Saturday, thanks to Paige’s good work, we will be making an appearance at the Shaker Country Fair. In fact, we’ll be doing a reading/signing/appearance in the dining hall of the Brick Dwelling, from 11 to 12.
Afterward, we are admiring all the produce at the farmers’ market and judging the best in show!
“The Country Fair at Hancock Shaker Village celebrates the bounty of the harvest with agricultural demonstrations, wagon rides, a fabulous Farmers Market, and our huge tents full of the best local and regional crafters and artisans.”
We hope this is a way that those of you who live outside of New York City can come hang out with us and each other. How can you beat a country fair?
Sunday, September 26th
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 in the afternoon
We are so excited about this one.
We’re having a Sunday potluck, like the ones we have at our house every week. Open house, everyone welcome. Bring a dish of great gluten-free food, something non-alcoholic to drink, a blanket to sit on, and your friends.
The only difference is that this potluck will be on the island of Manhattan, not on our small island here.
We’re not telling you where, at least not on this public site. We’re making this a secret picnic.
Can you imagine how much fun this will be if there are a big bunch of us eating together?
If you want to come to the potluck, and hear all the details, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, September 28th
2 pm — Danny and I will be the guests on the Living Today radio show on the Martha Stewart Sirius Network.
Tune in! Call in. Say something interesting.
6 pm to 7:30 — Gluten-Free Cooking Demo at the Whole Foods in Union Square
We’ll be making black rice with chickpeas, bok choy, and tamari sauce, as well as a frisee salad with almonds, oranges, and garlic dressing. Plus, we’ll be talking. And signing books.
This is a free demo, but space is limited, so you must reserve your spot in advance by emailing Elizabeth.email@example.com. Make the subject of your email g-free guest chef.
Wednesday, September 29th
10 am — Food Blogger Meet-Up at Union Square Greenmarket
We are eager to meet our fellow food bloggers. Come join us at the Greenmarket in the morning, when the produce is still there. Let’s meet on the south entrance of the market.
We’ll buy lovely fruits and vegetables. I’m sure we’ll all take photographs. And perhaps we can join our food forces for a picnic in lovely Union Square. (well, we’ll be able to find a spot, right?)
We’ll probably be having a small pizza party for only gluten-free folks, in Manhattan. Watch this spot for more details.
(We’re also having quite a few private events, with friends, in celebration.)
And, if you live in New York City, and you follow me on Twitter (@glutenfreegirl) watch for special contests each day we are in New York. You might have to ride the subway for it, but you could walk away with a free book.
We can’t wait to see you in New York City.
(For those of you will ask, we’ll be in a few other cities too, such as San Francisco, Boulder, and Portland. More details on those, later.)