Monday, January 23, 2012

Washington Food Artisans advance copy has arrived!

My editor brought me my advance copy of Washington Food Artisans today. It’s absolutely beautiful, if I don’t say so myself. It’s hardcover, with no dust jacket, so the cover is printed on the actual book. The paper inside is beautiful – thick and smooth, and it even smells wonderful! The photos are vivid, and the layout is gorgeous. Oh, and my name is on the front cover! And on the spine!

When it goes on sale on April 24, it will have been 2 ½ years since I started the project. And what a difference those years make. My kids have grown and matured, and they need me for very different reasons these days. I’ve met so many interesting people, and learned so much both from them, and from a whole lot of old-fashioned research.

I’ve always loved to do my shopping at the farmers market, and that hasn’t changed. But working on the book has changed the way I cook, and not at all in the way I thought it would, and I’m sure you can’t guess either.

You’d think that after all that recipe-testing I’d be feeling very confident in the kitchen, and just throw things together and produce fabulous food. In actual fact, I do feel confident in the kitchen, but I cook almost entirely from recipes that I follow to a fault.

I am a cookbook fanatic, and have been for more than 20 years. At this point I probably own about 400 of them. Now that I know exactly how much effort was put into each one of them, I’m even more motivated to try the recipes exactly as they were written. My food is more flavorful as a result, and almost every meal feels a bit like a celebration. No matter how long and complicated a recipe, I’m not afraid to try it. I’ve learned to prep my ingredients in the morning, after I’ve dropped the kids at school, so that the actual cooking process is as quick as I can make it.

I figure I’ve got a few hundred years’ worth of recipes on my bookshelves, so I try to avoid searching for recipes on the web. A friend told me about a website called Eat Your Books, which I adore, and use often. You enter the names of your cookbooks, and then when you want a recipe, rather than search the web, you search your own books.

Obviously, after all this cooking, I don’t need to follow a recipe, but I love to. I love to try new combinations of ingredients and new techniques. Most often, I read a recipe and it sounds delicious and I want to eat it, and so I make it. I only make something more than once if I absolutely loved it, because the list of recipes I want to make is very, very long. But I already have more than a handful of favorites from Washington Food Artisans. When I opened the book today, my first thought was remarkably pedestrian. I thought, “how convenient, to have all these wonderful recipes printed and bound together in one place. Now I can recycle all those dog-eared food-splattered printouts I’ve been keeping in a pile on my kitchen shelf.“ And then I remembered to go nuts because it was finally, really, magnificently, an actual book, in my hands!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a beautiful book, many congratulations!