My baby, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook hit shelves, so now what? How do I soak it in?
There are many important dates in my life:
January 21st: My birthday
April 22nd: Julep’s birthday
May 12th: the day I signed papers on my brand new Subaru Forester (I never thought I’d be in possession of a new car!)
June 12th: My Rustbelt Farmer’s birthday
June 15th: The day I brought Julep home (ie: one of THE best days of my life!)
July 4th: My anniversary
and there was a new one to add to the list:
April 9th, 2019
On Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, my book baby hit shelves everywhere!
April 9th was the “pub date” set very early in the process of working with my publisher and editor. Like an expectant mother, I marked this date in the calendar of my mind. I said it out loud so many times, disbelieving the day would ever be real. There were times I thought of this date with excited reverence, other times with dread and fear. How would I ever meet the intense deadlines necessary for April 9th to be real?
But I did! I found my why for this book (in short: sharing and caring). I found my how for this book. I created really obsessive, nerdy spreadsheets to outline the content of this book, to make sure I was evenly covering the various grains, offering enough vegetarian and vegan options, meeting various skill levels, and visually showcasing these recipes with a variety of angles and moods. My brain was constantly on the go.
I was constantly on the go. I went to multiple grocery stores daily. I cooked and baked and baked and cooked. I packed props, schlepped props, styled props, packed props, and unpacked props, then repeated everything the next day. I poured heart, soul, sweat, tears, aches and pains into this book, and then, finally, miraculously, April 9th arrived, and… I didn’t know how to feel.
But when Kyle came home with a baby bottle of champagne, I began to feel, as the millennials say, “all the feels.” I felt excited. I felt so f*&king proud of myself. I felt a surreal sense of reality, like the tipsiness of one too many whiskey drinks. We took that baby bottle of champagne, my hard-earned, baby bottle of champagne, to Barnes & Noble, and I sipped in the moment.
I sipped in all the sacrifices I made. I sipped in everything that went on a back burner to keep this book simmering. I sipped in the completion of a dream I had nurtured inside me for almost a decade. I tried to sip in the reality of this: my face was on a book, on a shelf, in a book store. MY BOOK WAS REAL!
The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook on Pittsburgh Today Live
Then it was time to start sharing my book baby with the world, so I stopped by Pittsburgh Today Live to offer inspiration for gluten-free Easter brunches:
The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook at Riverstone Books
… and right after that segment, I headed to Riverstone Books, an amazing, independent bookstore with so much heart. Right before the book was released, Robin, the events director had reached out to see if I’d be interested in promoting the book at the store. When we chatted, she suggested a lunch, and she volunteered to prep the food because, I learned, this woman is an energetic god-send!
This was a dream scenario. My goal is to bring this book to life by sharing a table with readers, to engage in conversations and just make the world a little smaller. Furthermore, as antithetical as it sounds, if someone else can cook these recipes, that leaves me with the energy to engage as well as the energy to set the table, my favorite part of the process.
Robin and Riverstone’s hands-on enthusiasm enabled me to simply enjoy my book being in the hands of readers. I’m beyond grateful for the launch/lunch they threw me, and if you’re local to Pittsburgh, please, please support their heartfelt efforts.
With spring in the air, I turned toward bulbs and fresh greens to decorate the table with a mix of jars of the gluten-free grains. These served as a beautiful reference when discussing the content of the cookbook too. Many of these grains, such as sorghum or teff, are new to most people, even avid cooks.
Riverstone Book Store + The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook Menu
Honey Simple Syrup Spritzers (a variation on the Oat Milk Iced Lattes on pg. 47)
Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Multigrain Muffins (pg. 21)
Chocolate-Quinoa Cruncher Parfaits (pg. 33)
Cranberry & Goat Cheese Swirled Sheet Pan Pancake (pg. 57)
Chocoholic’s Brunch Salad (pg. 66)
Crispy Sweet Potato “Sliders” with Quinoa Curry Chicken Salad (pg. 137)
Creamy Amaranth Corn Chowder (pg. 147)
Black & Gold Cheesecake Bars (pg. 166)
I shared my absolute favorite page in The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook, the recipe called “P.S (Pup Sweets): Peanut Butter Pupcakes,” which you can share with your favorite fur baby (or if you’re a hooman-only household, these make great on-the-go breakfast options too).
I can’t thank Chris, Robina and owner, Barbara enough for supporting me and for hosting me so enthusiastically. Everyone walked away full and happy from such a festive launch to my book, and I’m immensely grateful I had a chance to just enjoy it.
Please support your local, independent bookstores and the local purveyors you believe in. Their job is not easy! There is love, care and intention in every corner of Riverstone, and I can’t wait to return. I also owe a special thanks to my partner, Kyle, for working in the wings to document the afternoon and for just supporting this crazy process in general.
Then, something happened that truly warmed my heart, a night I will cherish until I’m old and gray and still just as crazy about dogs (and probably grains). The Saturday after my book was “born,” Kyle loaded his truck with beekeeping tools, and we drove to Threadbare Cider for a special Mead release party with his organization Burgh Bees. I thought I was going for a quick drink of mead and to help stage some of the commemorative photos.
He said, “we don’t have to stay long,” to which I replied, “you know what I want to do tonight? I want to drink that bottle of champagne we have in the fridge and really celebrate the fact that my book is real.” He smiled and said, “yeah, we haven’t really done that yet. I’m sorry, I didn’t really plan anything.” I said in fact it was me who had not planned anything.
I’d taken great care to plan celebratory moments after each step of this book (a new pair of birkenstocks, a beach day, a lobster roll & a glass of rosé), but I hadn’t planned for the biggest milestone: the actual pub date. With thoughts of champagne in my head, I grabbed his hand, and we walked into Threadbare, where my closest friends and family were waiting with copies of my books and these flowers, ready to yell SURPRISE!
I heard it said recently that women, especially, attribute too much of their success to luck. This cookbook opportunity was the result of a lot of luck (an editor reached out to me out of the blue), but the book itself is the culmination of so many choices, so many experiments, so many risks. In short, the book is the result of pushing past fears and putting in a LOT of really hard work. However, that celebration, that surprise, to be able to sit back, hug, laugh, cry and celebrate with everyone there made me feel absolutely lucky. It warmed my heart and helped this milestone to sink in, and for that, I’m ever grateful!
If you’ve read this far, if you’ve popped in from time to time, if you’ve commented, I’m grateful for you! Words need readers, and recipes need eaters. In your way, you also make this real.
P.S: I’ll be celebrating with a bigger book launch party, and I hope you can attend.
Stay tuned to other upcoming events here.