If you have had a conversation with me in the last year, you’re probably already in the know, but for everyone else: I’m publishing a cookbook with Chronicle Books, scheduled to be out in spring of 2022! It’s pretty much the one cookbook I’ve always wished existed, so I’m pretty proud of it, and I hope it’s something you’ve always wished for too.
I’ll give more details closer to the release date, but for now I’ll just say that it’s a book that works hard for you, and with it you can make just about anything with whatever ingredients you’ve got. It’ll have you thinking on your feet, using what you have, and getting creative while shopping for seasonal produce. It includes lots of ideas for improvisation, and it’s packed to the brim with all of my favorite recipes.
I’m so excited to get to share it in just about one year from now… and if you feel like a year is a long time to wait, just be glad that I didn’t announce this back when I signed on and started working on it in January 2020! 😜
Here are a few updates on where I’m at in the process, where I’ve been, and what to expect of this blog in the next year or so (including a few of the necessary details, but also lots of feeeeeelings! I’ll do an actual post with more details about the book itself further down the line. This is more just me telling you about what’s up with me, dear-diary-style):
what’s up currently:
I turned in a full draft of my manuscript a few months ago, then got right to work on the photography, which I just wrapped up earlier this week. There’s still a lot to do: we’ve got a bit of editing and probably some reshooting to be done, and the Chronicle design team is now working on creating the book’s layout and design (then comes the marketing plan, and some other behind the scenes stuff).
But it’s still an exciting moment to actually have a full draft of the manuscript and photos, and it’s been fun celebrating those little milestones along the way. I’m so glad to be working with such great editors and designers, and I feel really lucky my book found its home at Chronicle.
what’s been up:
If you’re a regular here, it’s probably no surprise that my blog has been largely neglected for the last few months while in the heart of writing and photographing my book. When you’re working under a deadline, it’s hard not to feel like every second of extra effort might make your book that little bit stronger and better, and the idea that the book is going to be printed and immutable has brought out the perfectionist in me like never before. She’s not pretty!
But I’m really proud of myself for bothering to take care of myself, and that I’ve done a more or less okay job of taking breaks and enjoying life while undertaking this project (especially in the middle of a global pandemic, which has made self care a challenge for us all). But you know… something’s gotta give! And unfortunately, my blog was that something.
It’s funny [she says, not laughing]—I actually had a rock-solid plan for blogging while book writing, but there was a little unexpected plot twist along the way.
Long story short, I had worked on a whole other proposal for about five months leading up to my move to Australia in 2019. While the first proposal I sent out was really strong, it did not get picked up (it was largely deemed too niche). But at the time, I had stockpiled months of blog content to make sure I had a good head start going into my book project.
So when that project went pear-shaped, I ended up burning through much of my stockpiled content while jumping right into the next idea (… which meant I eventually ran out of blog content toward the end of working on this book, and basically just went into radio silence for like four months, eek!). I guess it could’ve been worse—if it wasn’t for that stockpile, I would’ve been off the map for like a year and a half. But still! The best-laid plans, etc., etc.
Thanks in large part to the support of my wonderful agent, Andrianna, I jumped right into the next proposal a few days after abandoning the one that bombed. And it’s funny, one failure actually saved me from another, because I got the idea for my next proposal from yet another old proposal that didn’t pan out.
I wrote that very first baby proposal a long, long time ago, back when I had just been blogging for a year or two, and I stopped working on it to start working in a restaurant for a while. When the restaurant opportunity arose, I very eagerly abandoned the book proposal because I believed it had absolutely no shape, no perspective, and few good ideas.
Later on, I thought maybe I was just being too hard on myself, but I went back to look at it, and I can confirm: it was absolutely awful! It was not as strong as the second one (the one that bombed), and definitely not as strong as the third. But it did have this one little kernel of a good idea.
That tiny idea grew into a robust proposal surprisingly quickly, since it had been slowly percolating for years, and we got a new proposal out to publishers within a couple months of the other one not finding a home. It got picked up, I got to work, and it’s been one of the most rewarding years of my life.
what’s up next:
I’ve still got a lot of work to do on the book, but things are definitely becoming chill enough that I feel like I have time to start blogging again. There’ll probably be a little delay from now, because I like to work on a few posts at a time, but I think it’s safe to say you should start to see new recipes regularly here again by March. I’m so excited to get back to it!
Later on in 2021, I’m going to start posting some recipes here that are tangentially related to my book, and I’ll be sharing more about how the book works and what you can expect of it. My book allows you to make just about anything, with lots of possibilities for variation, so we’re going to really put that to the test here and come up with some new exciting things inspired by it next winter/spring.
So stay tuned, and thanks for sticking around. More soon!