Would you like some warm, soft pretzels? They’re especially good dipped in strong mustard.
Gluten-free awareness is far more ubiquitous now than it was ten years ago. However, most people still can’t believe that something gluten-free could taste good. I’ve done quite a bit of press and television where I feed the interviewer something we have made. And always the same amazed expression rises to the face. “Whoa! This is good!”
Of course it’s good. We’re not baking to get close to the real thing. Gluten-free baking is not an imitation. It’s baking.
There are so many talented people out there making great gluten-free baked goods. I feel lucky to be part of a community of dedicated bakers, talented and insistent on creating something extraordinary. Danny and I have never wanted to give the impression that ours is the ONLY way to bake gluten-free. Our fellow bakers — people like Silvana Nardone, Elizabeth Barbone, Erin McKenna, Jennifer Esposito, Jenni Hulet, Nicole Hunn, Jeanne Sauvauge, Elana Amsterdam, and Tara Barker — are innovators, women in the kitchen who insist on making something most people are certain cannot exist. These are my baking sisters. (Ladies, some day, I want to get us all in the same space and bake together.) We are connected by the same extraordinary excitement. We are driven by the same sense of possibility. We are doing something that has never been done before. It’s exhilarating.
I’m a baker. I’m a writer. I create things and I try to connect people. That’s the work I love most in the world. The part of the process of being a cookbook author I love the most is the creating. Day after day, Danny and I work together to understand the heart of what ingredients and techniques it takes to make a good loaf of bread or a flaky pie crust or breaded fish. And then we play and take notes and fail hard. Then we figure out something the next day and go back at it again. That’s what my baking sisters do too. We’re all in this together. We all love the creation.
It’s only when the cookbook is done that we all have to switch to thinking about sales and marketing and letting people know every way we can that this process of creation we have loved is now in finite form. And then, suddenly, and artificially, this seems like a competition. That’s why I will admit it: the part of the process of being a cookbook author I love the least is the selling. I never want it to seem that we’re out here shilling, insisting that ours is the best or the only.
However, when I think of this as a chance to connect, I love this process again. That I get to do the work I love by offering warm soft pretzels to people is a constant wonderful absurdity. I’d like to offer some to you.
So this is what I’d like to say about our new cookbook. American Classics Reinvented is filled with recipes I could never have imagined eating 10 years ago. Apple cider doughnuts. Cornish pasties. Italian beef sandwiches. Smoked salmon eggs benedict on English muffins. Key lime pie. Danny and I had one heck of a good time re-imagining these recipes, creating them with our gluten-free flours, and making them as good as we could in the process. We weren’t thinking about sales as we created it. We were thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of people who emailed us to ask for us to do what they didn’t have time to do: make their family favorites into foods they can eat now.
We loved creating this book. We’re offering it to you now. We worked hard on it for you. And we think you might love it.