Thanks to Gather in Sewickley, PA for hosting my “official” cookbook launch party. We ate, we drank, we toasted and celebrated!
Recently, at age 35, I heard Tony Robbins say most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten. The timing of his message was perfect, and his words continued ringing in my ears.
When I was 25 I went through a major quarter-life crises. Why wasn’t I winning design awards? Why did the bottom drop out from me in architecture school? What the hell was my passion? How the hell do you even find your passion anyway?!
I didn’t know, so I played. I played with food. I played with languages. I read and read. I traveled. I wrote and wrote. I observed people, and slowly, my passions took shape and gripped me. Now, sitting atop this ten-year perch, the fragmented paths and pieces finally make sense. They’ve taken shape, and most recently, they’ve become a quite tangible shape:
On April 9th, I celebrated the “pub date” of my very first cookbook, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook, and I set about planning an “official” launch party. In the weeks between the release and the launch, I stressed myself, hovering consistently on the verge of tears and on one occasion, an actual, head-in-my-arms fit of tears. All my stresses had come to a head. That moment was anything but pretty, but it was a turning point.
Yes, people wait until the very last minute to buy tickets. Yes, throwing ticketed events is nerve-wracking because people wait until the very last minute to buy tickets. Yes, paying for catering is scary. Yes, a bar is beyond my normal budget.
BUT, people were waiting to buy tickets to the launch party for MY VERY FIRST COOKBOOK! I was paying a caterer to cook recipes that I had developed because a PUBLISHER liked my work. I was stretching my budget to pay for a bar to toast my new title of AUTHOR!
In short, I finally removed my bowed head from my arms and saw the light.
Regardless of the costs or the anxieties of a ticketed event, this was the ONLY time in my life I would celebrate my very first book. Hopefully, there will be other books. Hopefully, there will be other book launch parties, but there will never be a first one again. I was blessed with a poof of clarity that changed everything.
Recipe: Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Millet Dip (pgs. 134-135)
I was able to enjoy all the elements I had put in place precisely so I would be able to enjoy this launch. I had an amazing caterer bring the recipes to life, so I wasn’t exhausted or stuck in a kitchen. I had a themed bar, so I could toast my friends, family and new readers with cocktails of personal significance. I even had my friend do my hair, so I could just feel confident and not wonder whether I had properly curled the back of my head- that struggle is too real!
So as hard as I laughed at my launch party, I also teared up because The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook was so long in the making (but so very short in the physical making). This book really does feel like a decade in the works, and sharing that experience with a room full of enthusiastic people meant the world to me. Thank you to everyone who made the event come to life, attended, and celebrated!
Special Thanks: Angie Melhorn Hair & Makeup
Thank you to Angie who always makes me look and feel my best, so I can feel comfortable and confident in front of the lens for a change. Angie is one of the hardest working ladies I know!
Recipe: Teff Polenta Triangles with Peach Ceviche (pgs. 128-129)
Special Thanks: Paper Greats
Thanks to Paper Greats, a company founded by two busy women, for the cute, recyclable trays that had all my launch party guests sampling in style. Paper Greats makes recyclable and compostable trays, cups and party wares with an eye on design because life is messy and complicated but design and recycling shouldn’t be.
Recipe: Creamy Amaranth Corn Chowder with Fresh Tarragon (pgs. 146-147)
Special Thanks: Fabled Table Catering
Lisa Ferguson, founder of Fabled Table Catering, brought my recipes to life and made my life 1000% easier and more enjoyable. She encouraged me and reminded me to be proud and excited. She plated the food beautifully and made the sampling component seamless. Lisa is a businesswoman with so much skill and so much heart. If you’re a local Pittsburgher, book Fabled Table for everything!
Recipe: Watermelon Sorghum Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette (pgs. 160-161)
Special Thanks: Aurochs Brewing
Aurochs Brewing believes you shouldn’t have to choose between great taste and gluten free. As a girl who doesn’t like beer (Kyle jokes it’s my biggest flaw), I legitimately like Aurochs’ beer, which is really saying something!
Special Thanks: Porter Tours
Porter Tours parked their short bus in front of the party and invited guests to hang, sip Aurochs beer and learn more about their tour offerings. You can join Porter for a 3-hour tour of some of the best breweries in the city. In their words, “It’s like speed dating… with more beer and fewer awkward exchanges.” Stay tuned, as I’ll be giving away a free tour with Porter, including a visit to Aurochs!
Special Thanks: Frankferd Farms
Frankferd Farms is a family-owned operation in western Pennsylvania that specializes in organic, local, bulk, and specialty foods. They started out as a flour mill and grew to be the distributorship and retail store that they are now. The whole family came to the launch party to showcase the gluten-free grains they mill and make available in the region. From one grain nerd to another, thank you for sharing your enthusiasm!
Special Thanks: Christina Neumann of Apoidea Apiary
Honey plays such a huge part in my life, whether I’m reminiscing about my grandparents’ farm, watching Kyle tend to his bees, baking with spoonfuls of the liquid gold, or sweetening cocktails with honey syrups. To bring the book to life, I invited beekeeper Christina Neumann to bring her award-winning, local honey and educate attendees on beekeepers with integrity and the nuances of the flavors in honey.
Related Honey Recipes from The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook:
The Beekeeper’s Breakfast Bowl (pgs. 28-29)
Iced Oat Milk Lattes with Honey Simple Syrup (pgs. 46-47)
Cheddar Jalapeño Waffles with Honey (pgs. 58-59)
Special Thanks: Pisarcik Flower Farm
I’ve come to appreciate the way flowers can transform a space, and especially, a table. Styling a table is one of my favorite elements of hosting guests at my table, which is the heart of this cookbook. I invited Mary from Pisarcik Flower Farm to show off their local blooms and demonstrate some how little bouquets make the perfect place setting accent.
Flowers in The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook:
Be sure to check out the introduction for the “Sunday Suppers” section (pgs. 110-111) with its table spread of locally grown florals.
Special Thanks: Pennsylvania Libations (& Dana Dolney!)
Using all Pennsylvania-distilled spirits, Pennsylvania Libations and my close friend/bartender extraordinaire, Dana Dolney, created a completely gluten-free bar with three signature cocktails inspired by my book:
The Wild Rose Fizz
The Lavender Latte
Related Recipes in The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook
Rose-Colored Roasted Beet & Rose Water Granola (pg. 34-35)
Iced Oat Milk Lattes with Honey Simple Syrup (pgs. 46-47)
Derby Day Mint Julep Cake (pgs. 172-173)
**Stay tuned for the signature cocktail recipes in subsequent posts!
Psst… that last rosy cocktail was also inspired by my latest endeavor- The Wild Rose Collective.
Special Thanks to Denise Shirley, the owner of Gather
Denise generously shared her space and her support for this book and for me. Her beautiful Sewickley, PA shop, with its rustic tables, hanging florals and everything you need for your table, was an ideal backdrop to bring this book to life. I’m immensely grateful to Denise and her staff for the extra work they put in to make the book launch party such a success.
Special Thanks: Noah Purdy
My photographer and my friend, I am immensely grateful he agreed to go on this insane journey with me and lent his expertise and skill to the visuals of the book. Most importantly though, I’m grateful for the constant encouragement he offered during the process, reminding me to breathe, reminding me to be exited. Thank you barely cuts it.
Special Thanks: Sharif Rasheed & Power Bites
Sharif sampled his new product, which will be available very soon! Made with oats, almond butter, raw cacao, maple and dark chocolate, Power Bites are a healthy go-to gluten-free snack I turn to on repeat.
Through laughter and tears, I told the story of how this book came to be and attempted to thank everyone who made the launch party such a success!
There are barely words to thank this guy! My number one taste tester. The front seat to my stress, fears, and anxiety-raddled meltdowns. The one who picks me up and makes me feel more confidence than anyone in the world. To Kyle, thank you for your unwavering loyalty and love.
This woman! Terri, the mom I gained through love. She is generous, energetic and so unconditionally supportive, as is the whole Pattison crew. I am so lucky to have become one of this family!
Special thanks to Christopher Sprowls Photography for documenting my book launch party!
… and I’m surely missing someone, but thank you to everyone who made my launch party extra special and thank you to everyone who helped me make this book dream come true, including you, dear reader!