holding the book in my hands

we interrupt the honeymoon photos....

We’re back.

Words will never convey the astonishing time we shared together. I’ve been trying for the past two days to swim through the murky waters of jet lag and write something evocative of the honeymoon in Italy. This little montage is the closest to approaching it yet:

fresh buffalo mozzarella with green Umbrian olive oil; red heirloom tomatoes so fresh and bright that I started to cry when I had my first bite; cappuccinos from Caffe Sant’Eustacio in the middle of Rome, so damned good that the Chef and I went back every day for more; driving up the mountains of Umbria toward Gubbio — a little city made of stone and slate in the 1200s — and passing acres of grey-gree olive trees.

We ate well, laughed more, played Parcheesi at night in our little farm apartment while listening to the pig in the barn (!), walked five to ten miles every day, drank wine with every meal and were never drunk, had glasses of wine with friends on the piazza in Montefalco and then ambled across it for gelato. I ate gelato every day (the best was GROM in Florence), and in Rome the last day I found gluten-free cones with my Sicilian cassata gelato. We made great friends, ate at the taverna in Foligno (this amazing medieval hall only open two weeks out of the year for the Quintana), walked the streets of Norcia drunk on the smell of truffles, walked all over Rome and watched people lean against buildings built in 500 BC while they waited for their bus. We spent ten days together, eating and drinking and laughing, neither of us working, the email a deliberate stop, the cell phone not working, and we never once grew tired of each other or bored. It was the most amazing time of my life.

It’s a little hard to come back.

But it has been exhilarating to return home, jet lag and all. Last week, Newsweek magazine ran a piece about celiac, which contained a quote from me and mentioned the book. On Sunday, the Seattle Times ran a little profile of me and the Chef. And today, I had a telephone interview with someone from The New York Times. It makes my heart soar with pleasure to see living gluten-free receiving so much mainstream attention.

Someday, I hope, it will be as graciously easy to eat gluten-free in the States as it was for me in Italy.

I have so many stories. And I promise to share them, as I can. Expect pieces here about Salvatore, cooking with Judy in Florence, wandering through the streets of Norcia, and the three-hour lunch in Gubbio. Jen and Federico – my goodness, what people. Hubert and Pat – we love you. The Chef and I both returned, bedazzled and happy, and sure that we are changed by the entire experience.

But it will take me a few days to be more coherent. Rather than wait, however, I had to share this.

The first copy of my book arrived in the mail today. I held it in my hands.

When I pulled it out of the envelope, and saw a real book with my name on it, I sat on the steps of the front porch and cried. My god, I remember being eight years old, in the stacks of books at the Cal Poly library with my family, and gazing up at those shelves. “Someday,” I thought, “I’m going to write one of those.”

The book will hit the stores October 12th. I’ll tell you more about this later. I hope to meet some of you on the road. I hope that you’ll enjoy it. I hope that many people buy it, because my intention is clear: I want to help people with this book.

But right now, I have to say, I feel done. I wrote a book. It is in my hands. And it is beautiful.

73 comments on “holding the book in my hands

  1. Anonymous

    So I have checked your blog like 542 times today-awaiting all the beautiful stories that you have to share with us from Italy…And all I get is the book?!;-)Congratulations! But seriosuly-we want to hear everything from the honeymoon! I’m soooo excited for you guys!

  2. La Niรฑa

    I don’t know what word to use. Congratulations seems so pithy and trite. It’s A BOOK! It’s YOUR BOOK! The only words that seem to ring true are MAZEL TOV! (Yiddish is just so expressive.)

    And when you get the fog cleared, can’t wait to hear more about love, food and the pigs in Italy…
    Love – Nina

  3. Nabeela

    Congratulations on your book! I’m very happy for you and the Chef ๐Ÿ™‚
    (P.S: I left a comment on your earlier post…it somehow disappeared)

  4. Rachael

    Welcome home you dear, dear woman! What a summer you have had!
    I am (as always, humbly) in awe of your spirit…

    Congrats, on so many things, (many mentioned in your post) but most of all, congrats on embracing life and taking the time to share it with the world…

    All the love there is to give,

  5. shuna fish lydon

    you will help people with your book.
    you already have with your words. all wondrousness to you and the chef. I have some extra tears here if you need any. xo

  6. Livs lerreter og annet

    Congratulations to fullfilling your dream! And I am so looking forward to get my own copy!

    And I want to read more about your honeymoon …the love…the food..

  7. ljrags

    Welcome back. It is good to see you back. The book looks BEAUTIFUL. Can’ wait to hear abou the trip and the mad rush to the book’s debut!

  8. Tea

    Yippie, yippie, yay, yay!
    I can’t even imagine–and at the same time I am so glad for you! I know you’ve worked hard and harder to get here, and I know that you’re drinking in every moment. Enjoy!

  9. Lisa

    Welcome back, and congratulations on your beautiful book. What a wonderful time in your life this is — thank you so much for sharing it. Your joy is contagious.

  10. Carrie

    Shauna CONGRATS on your new book and your beautiful honeymoon! I can’t wait to read the book and I can’t wait to hear more of your stories! You have such a voice in your words. Your writing is wonderful. You truly deserved this book and many more! I can’t wait to read and it i’m glad you’re posting again! I agree with anonymous…. i checked like a 1000 times!! Glad you’re back!

  11. Liz

    While you were away, my Bean started kindergarten and one of her friends has celiac. I was delighted to be able to steer the mom to your site and to converse with a reasonable clue about the disease. I can’t tell you how happy it made the mom to have someone to talk to who at least knew what she was talking about.

    Can’t wait to read your book and hear more about your trip!!!

  12. paul

    I just love the way you write. And even though I’m not a gluten free person, your blog has inspired me to be enthusiastic about what I put in my mouth! =)

    Looking forward to the honeymoon tales!

  13. Allergic Girl

    mazel tov! mazel tov!

    welcome back, home safe and sound and it sounds like no gluten accidents! woo hoo!

    cant wait to hear all of your news!

  14. ChupieandJ'smama

    Welcome back!! Congratulations on the Newsweek mention and CONGRATULATIONS on getting your first copy of the book. I can’t imagine your excitement at the moment. Best Wishes and Blessings for continued happiness in life and in love~

  15. Debi

    I am so happy for you both I could burst! Your story is so sweet, romantic, funny & inspiring, especially for single Celiacs who wonder…will I meet someone that GETS it?

    I can not wait for your book to come out & I too hope this raises more awareness for celiac disease.

    I look forward to more posts about your amazing honeymoon.

  16. chris

    Welcome back. You have some fans here in North Carolina and we all missed your writing and photos. Congrats on the book and on the honeymoon–the pictures are lovely.

  17. sappmama

    My hat’s off to you in a big, big way. Congratulations! You’ve heard it before and it’s true — you’re an inspiration.

  18. Anonymous

    Can’t wait to hear more! I Have the book on order and am looking forward to further inspiration and beautiful writing. This Gluten-Free girl in the UK really appreciates what you have done. THANK YOU.

  19. Tara

    Oh my, oh my . . . such goodness in this post!!! Welcome back, and hurrah for the book! I can only begin to imagine the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment. You definitely deserve it! Can’t wait to hear about the honeymoon, and I’m wondering . . . will we be seeing a NYTimes article about you soon?

  20. jenmoocat


    I’m glad you are back and filled to the brim with happiness. The joy that you and the Chef take from the little things is such a wonderful way to live. And something that I am trying to emulate. I look forward to your posts and your book. And, if you swing by San Francisco, you should definitely pop by and say hello!

  21. VeggieGirl

    welcome back, Shauna!! oh my goodness your trip to Italy sounds fabulous… Italy is one of my all-time favorite countries to visit – I especially love traveling to Venice and Rome. I too find it hard to return, after visiting such picturesque cities!

    congratulations on your book – be proud!! the cover looks fantastic :0)

  22. Jodi

    Welcome home to you both, and I cannot wait to hear your stories. (I think the pig story will be very interesting).
    Congratulations on the receipt of your very first book. I know that there will be more in the future.
    You’ve been missed.

  23. Emily

    Thank You for writing this book; I feel like I don’t even have to have read it yet to say that, because you write so beautifully on here, and I know this book will be just as lovely, and inspiring. I can’t wait to buy a copy!

  24. Naomi

    Welcome back!!

    I can’t wait to get my paws on your book! Also waiting to live vicariously through your words… happy to experience Italy any way I can.

    Get some rest, drink lots of water, and soak up some sun in the daytime to help relieve the jet lag.

  25. kitchenmage

    Isn’t a book that you wrote with your very own hands and mind just the most amazing thing ever?

    Congratulations on that and Danny and whatever other delights you have up your sleeves.

  26. Cate

    I can’t imagine the excitement you must be feeling from holding your very first book in your hands … and after the euphoria of your wonderful honeymoon. Life is good.

  27. Denise

    I love coming here, i can’t wait to get the book. What a feeling that must be, to hold your own book. Very nice!

  28. So Young

    This is So Young Kim from your writing class in 2006. By the way,
    congratulations on your book!!
    I would like to get in touch with you. Could you email
    (soyoung87@gmail.com )me as soon as you read this?

  29. nika

    Darnit, you are making me cry, again. I am so very happy for you!

    I hope you come out to Massachusetts, I will drive the 70 miles to Boston, just for you.


  30. Dylan

    I do not even know what to say…you wrote a book!!!! I hope I will be as fortunate as you to be able to have my own cook book! I got to start saving my money so I can buy a copy!! Happy to have you back in the blogging world ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am happy to hear that you had a good honeymoon!!
    Talk to you soon,
    your fellow blogger,

  31. Anonymous

    I love your blog! I am a student, a celiac, and am going to be spending 3 weeks in Florence Italy this upcoming May to learn about sustainable agriculture. I’m curious to learn how it was so easy to eat gluten-free in Italy. I hear that they screen in Italy for celiac in newborns and that celiac is very prevalent amongst Italians. I’m half Italian, so maybe that’s how I was genetically predisposed to celiac. Anyhoo, congrats on the new book!

  32. Erin

    Congratulations on your honeymoon and more importantly on your marriage! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was just diagnosed with Celiac Disease last week, and my Mom was last month. Your blog has been immensely encouraging to me. Thank you so much! Oh, and I have your book on hold at the library! I am axiously awaiting it……..

  33. kimberly

    Welcome home! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your honeymoon.

    And congratulations! How marvelous it must be to hold the finished book.

  34. Melissa

    I pre-ordered several of your books months ago. Looking forward to reading it and passing out the extras to friends. You’ve had a full-tilt-boogie year, girl. Congratulations! Nice that you squeezed the honeymoon in, I have a feeling things aren’t going to slow down for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Anonymous

    May the joy in your heart and soul from the treasured time you and Chef shared together in Italy and the feel of your first published book in your hands, be with you at all times.

    You bring a sense of purpose to others’ lives through the sharing of your life. You are a unique gift to those of us blessed to read your blog.


  36. Deborah Dowd

    Congratulations are due in somany ways. For those of us who blog for the thrill of having people read our written word,I can imagine how excited you must be to see that book, and your name in print! I can’t wait to see it either!

  37. Melanie

    Congratulations on your book! Thanks also for your wonderful blog that my sister and others recommended. I also recently published a book about Celiac for kids. It is called Bagels, Buddy, and Me. Here’s the link http://www.bagelsbuddyandme.com Thanks again for work and congrats on your accomplishments!

  38. Gemma

    Yay, many many congratulations! I am looking forward to seeing the book, I am not gluten free but I enjoy your writing and your way of eating so much that I will have to buy it.

    Gemma x

  39. Sarah McColl

    your honeymoon sounds heavenly, and to return to the book and press and interviews…what an amazing time in your life! if there’s anyone who is going to be sure to breathe in and take the time to appreciate it all, i know it’s you.

  40. Gaile

    Oh Shauna, welcome home, and congratulations. I love reading this blog and watching your life blossom – you give me courage.

  41. rangiebob

    Thanks for sharing your amazing honeymoon experience with us. Looking forward to more when you have the time. Another Mazel Tov to you on your book!

  42. Nava

    Welcome back, congratulations on the book and hope you’ll recover from the jet-lag soon. Just one other thing, don’t say “I’m done”. This world is a very strange one, and somethimes takes things strangely serious. You have so much more to do, some much more to cook and eat,and so much more to write. Looking forward to them all…

  43. MasGrandeQueJesus

    Welcome back, and congratulations!

    I remember sitting in American Studies (and afterwards, in other non-class-related sitting times), wondering how it was possible that you didn’t have a book. I was always amazed by the clarity, warmth and genuineness of your words. It was always more rewarding to read your comments on papers, or to hear your stories than to (and, sorry to any Willa Cather fans out there) read My Antonia.

    The world didn’t seem quite right.

    Now, I have your book pre-ordered on Amazon, and the world feels a bit more right.

    Congratulations, and thank you.

  44. Miss Ai

    Congratulations!!!!!!! Can’t wait to pick it up from Amazon.

    PS I read the Seattle Times piece–did they print the names of the CFP???

  45. Julie

    I want to join in on the congratulations! Your book truly does look beautiful. Way to go you. I’m not gluten intolerant but I still want one as soon as it comes out. Will we see them in Canada?

  46. thattwirlgirl

    I’ve been lurking for months, loving your blog all the while. So THRILLED for you with the book in your hands. I tell your story to people all the time at my job (natural groc. store, New Seasons Market in Portland, OR) and as I show them the gluten free options in the store, encourage them to visit your blog. With the book, your joyful spirit will reach even more people. BRAVO!

    (and please come do a book signing at the Concordia location(if you get any say over such things), I would love to meet you and I’m sure our customers would respond as well.)

    blessings on your marriage, it was a joy to read about the courtship, wedding and honeymoon. I always get teary reading your blog, Shauna.

  47. fiscalini

    Now that your book is published and you have a backlog of gluten-free recipes, why not contact the Food Network about your own program? The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. I am sure with so many Americans suffering from this condition it would be a hit. I really love reading your blog. God bless you and the Chef on your life journey together!

  48. Erin

    Nice meeting you and the chef today! What a happy coincidence. Congratulations on the wonderful honeymoon and THE BOOK! I’ll see you at ChefShop! ~ Erin

  49. Katelyn

    eeeEEEE!!! The book, the book! After reading Adam Roberts’ book yesterday I am only more excited for yours to come out. And once I’ve also acquired Molly’s, and Clotilde’s… I’ll be set. I think. For awhile. Until Matthew’s book (Matthew of Roots and Grubs) comes out. It will be like having a dinner party on my bookshelf.

  50. terry

    how funny — i pre-ordered my copy of the book today, before i read this post! i can’t wait.

    and as always, you made me smile AND tear up with this post!

    welcome home.

  51. Lyrically speaking

    I stumbled upon your blog and now i’m hooked. I’ve been diagnosed with lupus so now most of my meals are gluten-free and i’m having fun with my recipes…i’m glad to have discovered you here.

  52. lesley

    You lead a beautiful life and you write with the most uplifting language. Congratulations on the book! And I join everyone who has thus far commented in anticipating your stories of food and love in Italy. Blessings to you and Chef. ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. focusforwardnow

    You are lovely. I found you from an e-mail from Scott Adams Gluten Free Mall that shows your new book. I decided to check out your site and found the article in Newsweek. Bravo. Thank you for sharing the word about Celiac Disease. You exude a wonderful beauty and gratitude in your life while living Gluten Free. Thank you for that example. Oh Ya…Congrats on your book. It sounds like you deserve this wonderful experience. Felicia …a celiac in San Diego

  54. Shauna

    Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone.

    In all honesty, this has been one of the most beautiful times in our lives. To come home from such a honeymoon, and then to find the book? And then to read all these comments? Blessedness.

    I’ve been feeling clear, through this entire process, that I’m not just doing this for myself. Whatever has lined up to get us — and the book — some attention? We do it for awareness and joy.

    For all of us.

    And it’s so much fun!

    These are crazy days, planning a book tour on the fly, but I keep coming back to these comments to remind me why are doing this. Thank you for being my community.

  55. melissa

    I bought two books in last few days: one was yours (congrats!) and one by my sister. It’s a book about her and her son’s journey to discover his celiac diagnosis. It’s for kids and it is super cute.


    check it out and pass it on. Others have passed on glutenfreegirl.com to me and i’m so thankful!


  56. Melissa

    I just received notice that my early order of several copies of your book have been shipped by Amazon.com! Just wanted to let you know.

    BTW, I just returned from the Celiac Sprue Association national conference in Tucson, AZ. Lots of good stuff on the horizon!

    Can’t wait to read the book and pass a few copies out to friends. YIPPEE! And congratulations, Shauna.

    Hope to reconnect with you one of these days.
    Take care, Melissa

  57. Trista

    I love reading about all of your gluten free adventures! You are very inspirational! Congratulations on your book!

    I am a baker with a small baking business in Oregon along with my Mom & sister in law & we have been working hard creating gluten free goodies for our customers. Check out my blog about my baking adventures at:


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