Thursday, August 08, 2013

Summer Bucket List: Make a cookbook


It's August. That sticky month where summer exhales in a warm breath on your neck, smelling of freshly mowed grass and rich dark compost.

Normally I'd be writing about the latest backyard barbecue or late night canning session, but this summer is scripted completely differently than the last, oh, thirty-four or so. Social events, garden work and home preserving have taken a backseat to my latest occupation: book writing.

I've been so busy and completely immersed in this project, that I've neglected to share with you just exactly what ate up part of June and most of July.

It's called Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and is slated for release in Spring of 2015 by Penguin Random House. You can read more about the cookbook on Simple Bites - and even sign up for a nifty newsletter of sorts.

 Image by Tim Chin

While book-writing sounds like I am ensconced all day at a private (and tidy) desk in my sunny loft, dreamily tapping out my food memoirs, what actually is happening is much more frantic.

Any given week could involve pages and pages of list-making-recipe-scribbling-ingredient-brainstorming-headnote-musing, dashing all over the city sourcing ingredients, recipe testing with three kids around and underfoot, eating and testing again, dishesdishesdishes, hurried antique prop shopping with very unhurried shop owners, more dishes, more eating, and then writing, some, but never enough.

Then there are the weekends of the photo shoots, which we are doing one chapter at a time, to capture our family food life directly amid the seasons of this produce-driven cookbook. Again, lists and more lists. Staying up late to iron the linens, buff the props, and clean up my gardening nails - if I'm lucky.

The morning of the shoot comes quickly and I am in the kitchen preparing each dish for its turn in the spotlight, looking for the heroes among the ingredients - that ruby red tomato, a perfect cluster of radishes, the evenly browned bun, and the diamond-shaped grill marks on the featured protein.


Image by Tim Chin

At some point in the day, I'll rush out of the kitchen, round up my kids, dig feverishly through their drawers for something- anything- that doesn't clash terribly or have Ninjago on the front (pre-laid out outfits for the whole family? Haha, I wish), scrub their faces, and march them outside to the garden, or wherever we are shooting that day.

I'll draw a curtain at what happens after that, but lets be honest and admit that a small amount of bribery is offered and a good number of stern words are emitted before the shoot is half over. They'll thank me later.

I had big plans to hire a virtual assistant, send my kids to day-camps and recruit guest bloggers for Simple Bites, but of course none of that happened. Instead I am fitting this new project into our life, weaving it into the day to day, and giving up other time consuming things.

I've relinquished my garden to nature (not entirely by choice, though that is another story completely), I won't watch another minute of TV until Downton Abbey returns, and I have a tidy set of auto responses written to ship out to inquiries, invitations and opportunities that come into my inbox.

No more. Not now. This is my season to put my head down and write this book. 

It could very well be Christmas before I post here again. It is yet another area where I am giving myself grace to lay aside until time permits. You know where to find me in the meantime.

41 comments:

Amber | Bluebonnets and Brownies said...

I am so beyond happy, proud, and a myriad of other joyful emotions with regards to this book. The kids really *will* thank you later, friend. In the meantime, is it worth seeing if the local media college has an intern to offer that wants to learn about publishing and would be willing to wash dishes? It feels like you need an intern for the menial tasks that you don't *have* to do yourself, girl!

Jennifer Jo said...

Love the candor!

Breanne said...

This sounds amazing and overwhelming and so real. Thanks for sharing the real-life that happens behind the magic that will be the book.
And, if we lived closer, I would love to help out, even just washing up dishes.
And the pictures I've seen thus far would make me want to buy the book. =)

Cheri | Kitchen Simplicity said...

I love this real look of what it's like to create a cookbook. I know you're going to rock it! And, I'm so happy for you to have this opportunity. I can't wait to get it in my hands!

Kaitlin Jenkins said...

Good for you!

steph chows said...

LOL. You are going to rock this book! I can't wait to see it!!! and how funny would it be if you say a little head peaking out in the background of a shot. :)

Michelle said...

Is it horrible that this post brings me some measure of relief? It feels like everything I do beyond "motherhood" requires this level of barely-sanity and I secretly wonder/sometimes imagine that everyone else is blissfully serene as they accomplish breathtaking feats... So excited for you and your cookbook. Happy to hear that you're human too. Eschet Chayil!!

Tiffany Rieder said...

Wow usually a team is involved! 1 photographer, a prop stylist, a food stylist, their assistant and an art director. Tight budgets sometimes mean loosing the prop stylist and art director, but that's the way it usually goes. If you have a big day in September when you could use free help I can offer you a day(if I am not booked of course). I am no diva and do dishes gladly. I probably should mention I am a food stylist, but I just love anything to do with food, and like assisting because the pressures is off and I can put down my head and cook. Always like your sight and recipes.

Tiffany Rieder said...

Always liked your site and recipes! Sheesh...

Daniel said...

Sounds like a busy schedule. Remember to take care of yourself. I work on a number of creative projects at any given time (my website, for example) and some days just can't get any inspiration. An hour at the gym, trip to the bookstore or walk through the park fixes this.

Aisle 24 Food said...

I wish you all the luck and hope that we will see the book soon.

Thalia @ butter and brioche said...

thanks for another great post.. really enjoyed the read. love that you are creating a cookbook - i definitely will be returning to your blog to follow your progression. thanks for sharing!

Karen Reimer said...

When are you gonna blog here again, or do you blog somewhere else?

Aimée said...

Hi Karen,
I am so glad you asked. I've transitioned blogs and now blog regularly over at Simple Bites. http://www.simplebites.net/

Please come stalk me over there!

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