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A long slog

Well. I wanted to bring you a real winner of a recipe today. I mean, I guess that’s what I always want, but this time, I really thought it was going to work. For a couple of months now, I’ve had my eye on a salad from the beautiful book Moro East, a Libyan-style salad of pasta, Greek yogurt, garlic, cilantro, and warm spices, topped with pine nuts toasted in brown butter. Doesn’t that sound great? I couldn’t get it out of my head. And so one day last week, I made it, and though I wanted, lord knows, to love it, I didn’t. The warm spices were too warm, and the whole thing needed a swift kick of lemon juice. Then I tried this salad, which had the distinct advantage of being very, very pretty, but likewise, it wasn’t worth writing home (or to you) about. Meh.

Other than that, we’ve been eating a lot of artichokes lately, and I did manage to get myself around waaaaay too many (excellent, excellent) brownies at our friend John’s the other night. But I didn’t make them, and I didn’t take a picture, so I could hardly tell you about them today. I’m sorry. Also, I dropped gooey crumbs of them all over John’s kitchen floor when I thought no one else was looking and sneaked an extra sliver, and for that, I am even sorrier. I am hardly worthy of human company sometimes. I should be banished to someplace dark and uncomfortable. With the leftover brownies. Because they were my accomplices, obviously.

So I have no recipe today, and I apologize. But I have been meaning for a while now to write a bit about my book - a little update of sorts - and it seems to me that today is as good a time as any? It’s been a while since I wrote about it, and I didn’t mean to let so much time go by. I tend to feel a little shy about the book, I guess, and even though it is now written and on its way, it still feels fragile somehow, and sort of unreal. But a lot has changed since I last mentioned it here, and I want to tell you about it. Because whether you know it or not, you - your comments and encouragement and belief - are what made me think I could write a book in the first place. I hope you know that.

The first thing to say, I think, is that the book now has a title. It’s called A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. When I first started to work on it, I intended to write a cookbook, but what came out was more like a memoir, a collection of “food stories” and recipes. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me, since that’s how I think of this site, but still, it did. In part, it’s a book about my father, who - both in the way he lived and in the way he died - taught me about the importance of cooking and eating together. And it’s a book about my mother, who is, hands down, my favorite person to hole up with in the kitchen. [Sorry, Brandon. She was here before you were.] And it’s about Brandon, of course. And in a way, it’s also about all of you, because you’ve been at my table, or perched on my kitchen counter, or standing with me at the stove, for almost four years now. That’s a long time.

The book is now listed on Amazon.com, which, when I first found it, made my eyes pop out of my head. (It’s not yet available for pre-order, but when it is, I will let you know.) Those of you who like to read fine print may note that the release date is set for March 1, 2009, which, I know, is not what I’d told you before. The book was originally scheduled to be released this fall, but for a number of reasons - including the presidential election and the serious havoc that comes with it - we have decided to move it to March. At first, that felt like a long way away, and I was a little sad. But then I decided that this book feels like a spring baby; it didn’t want to be born in the winter. So it’s alright. But I want to thank you for your patience. I’m learning that a book is a long slog of a project, no matter how you look at it, and I’m so happy that we can pass the time together. Whew.

Last but not least, many of you have written or left comments here to ask about art for the book, about whether or not it will have photographs and whether or not they will be mine. I’ve been working for the past few months on that very issue, and it’s tricky. I love photography as much as the next guy, of course, and I always like to see an image of a dish before I start to make it. But because this book isn’t a straight-up cookbook, I wanted to give some sense of the scenes and people that comprise it, and for that, I decided that illustrations might be better. And so, with fingers tightly crossed, I approached one of my favorite illustrators, Camilla Engman. And, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, she said yes. She was a dream to work with, full of ideas and sweet, quirky ways to interpret my stories into images. And I am honored, tickled, and totally over the moon to see her drawings beside my words. Goodnight.

Thank you for listening, or reading, or whatever it is that we do here. It’s much more fun to share this stuff, it turns out, than to keep it all to myself. And next week, I promise you’ll get a recipe. Promise.


Blogger shayna said...

oh man, cannot wait for this. molly, it sounds so wonderful! gaw! yippee!!!

4:56 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger jessicah said...

I work in a used bookstore, but I might even spring for this book new. :) Congrats!

5:16 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Shauna said...

Congratulations on all the great updates, you are such a great inspiration. I will have my clicker finger ready for pre-ordering just like everyone else here. :)

5:28 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger deborah said...

dear molly, when i first read the title i immediately wanted to read your book (well, i already did, but you know ... a homemade life ... it could not be more perfect) and then to know that the stories are about the people in your life, i just cannot wait.
but i will.
congratulations molly, you deserve this.

5:33 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Casey said...

Another one here waiting for Amazon's pre-order button to appear. As to the postponed publication date, my darling 91-year-old mother would say "Pleasure deferred."

5:35 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Janelle said...

I'm counting down the weeks until your book is released. Thank you for updating us, and congratulations on the whole thing. It's such a tremendous accomplishment.

I must say that I enjoyed the photos of your kitchen in this post. I really feel much better about the state of my own sink and stovetop now. I think I'll let the dishes sit a while longer. :-)

5:35 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous Leah said...

I am the world's most impatient human being but I have no problem holding out until March 2009 because I know it will be worth every second of the wait, my friend. eeee and xo and all of it!

5:37 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous emily said...

oh molly! your stories. and your recipes. and camilla's drawings. i'll wait until march 2010 if i have to. but it won't be easy.

6:05 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger jen said...

oh, it sounds fabulous. camilla's illustrations will pair wonderfully.

6:05 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous jessie said...

your kitchen looks a lot like

i am anticipating your book.

best of luck!

happy writing,

6:28 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger ACB said...

I confess: when I read the title of your book, I cried.

I don't think I've ever pre-ordered anything, but A Homemade Life? I can't wait.

(I just teared up again typing it...) :)

6:38 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous bonnie said...

I have been a lurker for over three years — and yours is one of the few sites that I actually cook from (your 'Winning Hearts & Minds Cake' is now one of my staples!) and I cannot tell you how excited and thrilled I am for you. It made me smile when I bought the redesigned Bon Appetite just for your new column — and I can't tell you how proud I am that your book will be joining my shelves in a years time! I look forward to more of your stories and I look forward to sharing more of your recipes.

7:19 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous emily said...

Oh Molly, I'm going to burst, I'm so excited about your book. Congratulations! What a wonderful achievement and I love love love Camilla Engman. Your words and her pictures...this may be my perfect book, I will be there and waiting as soon as the pre-orders begin.

7:32 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Briana said...

Yay! I'm so excited for you and will definitely be taking note of it when it's available.

March? It can be a birthday present to me!


(oh, and I made the pots of gold for a second time -- the first they stayed soupy -- and it is the first time a custard I've made has turned out perfectly! I almost didn't want to eat them. almost.)

7:33 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger beth said...

hi there, molly. just like everyone else, i'm thrilled to hear these tidbits about your book. i'll be jumping in line as soon as it's available!

also, i have to tell you of the relief these photos brought. my (also dishwasherless) kitchen is in the same state. well, probably worse. i e-mailed this post to my boyfriend and got a reply i'd never hear about our own kitchen: "her mess looks oddly elegant."

8:11 PM, April 14, 2008  
Anonymous Lucy said...

ooooh thanks for sharing and updating :) can hardly wait for this little baby to appear.
also, is that 7th generation dish soap I spy by your sink? you go, girl.

9:11 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Caroline said...

I have never commented before, but I have been reading your blog for a while now and your recipes have become a staple in our home. We're part of a CSA and your recipes are great with all the fresh veggies we get. Aside from your recipes, I'm absolutely in love with your writing. It's a pleasure reading your pieces every week. I can't wait for your book to come out! And, Camilla Engman's illustrations are amazing. Having both of you in one book will be great!

9:14 PM, April 14, 2008  
Blogger Liz said...

Congratulations! I love your blog and I love the idea of food and life being intertwined. Some of my favorite food writers (like Ruth Reichl) do this very thing.

Cake or Death?

12:21 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Congratulations Molly! I am looking forward to reading your book! Your posts always brighten up my day and inspire me to do more of the cooking I love. Thank you for your contribution to all of us. Reading Orangette improves the quality of ones life. :)

12:53 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger lottie said...

molly, I love your kitchen shots, they are so full of life and of course your wonderful table, but as I read I broke into a grin at the thought of camilla's illustrations accompanying your words. it would be hard to find a more perfect fit. huge congratulations on such exciting times.

2:24 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Courtney said...

that's so disappointing about the salad from Moro East...I have the plain old Moro Cookbook and I've been particularly happy with the soups, hope other stuff works out better, and please, let us know!
courtney @ http://www.thedoughball.blogspot.com/

3:32 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Aran said...

I am looking forward to this Molly! You are a true inspiration. Your writing is superb and you even made a dirty kitchen sink look chic. How did you do that? Love the photo of Brandon by the window.. that natural greyish light against the white Mac... fabulous!

4:01 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger shari said...

molly, hi!

your book sounds beautiful...every little detail. i cannot wait to see it (and camilla's illustrations too!). enjoy your week. xox

4:49 AM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous amy dawn rose said...

thanks for the update on the book- it has been added to my amazon.ca wishlist! and illustrations by camilla- could it get any better?

6:35 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

A tender, lilting post, Molly. You make the world seem like a sweet and gentle place. Thank you.

7:08 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger jen j-m said...

i didn't think i could want your cookbook any more that i already do, but camilla's illustrations have just sealed it. can't wait. i'm so happy for you two to work together and that we'll get to see the lovely results!

7:15 AM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous annie @ Forest Street Kitchen said...

Another lurker "coming out." Your book sounds like the best kind of book possible - stories about food and family. I can get recipes from hundreds of sources, but what interests me most is how people come to love food, and cooking, and how they become the "grownup cooks" they turn into. I can't wait. By the way, those were the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten, and when I make them I have to hide them so that my family doesn't eat them all before they cool. Thank you!

8:05 AM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Maija said...

Oh, I agree that March is a lovely time - and all the better for book tour travel, too. I am sure you will be coming to Powell's in Portland??? I have some $$ on a Powell's gift card that I have been saving for the purchase of your book. Funny story - I had my wallet stolen (not funny, of course), but the next day at about 7:30am, a police officer showed up at my door with my driver's license, my Powell's card, my health insurance card & my Bicycle Transportation Alliance member discount card. Apparently, the thief was not a reader nor biker! So, relief - I have $ saved for your book, and really, I could not imagine it being "just" a cookbook - it has to be narrative, too, it's your style. And, the artist is new to me, so I am excited to learn more about her, too! p.s. My favorites recipes of yours are generally the ones involving chickpeas - all have been excellent!!! I now always have at least 3 cans stockpiled in the pantry.

9:00 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger big city girl said...

Yea! I also can't wait for the book.

And now for a question I've hestitated to ask for awhile-- where/what are your dishes? I love the white scalloped edges of those-- they look more modern that one would expect. Are you willing to share?

10:48 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Jenna Lee said...

What an absolutely perfect title, Molly! I simply cannot wait to read the book - I'm sure I'll blow through it just as fast as I did Shauna's.

And again, congratulations, congratulations!

12:39 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Mazal tov, Molly!!! Your book sounds delicious. Thank you for blessing the world with your gifts. I look forward to reading more of you!

1:22 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Aude said...

I am always short on words, but besides I know that next March I will be happy, reading you & looking at Camilla characters while sipping tea.
Cannot wait !

1:43 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

And it's hardcover, too! Like a few other people, I've never pre-ordered a book, but yours sounds marvellous. I can't wait to see the illustrations (and try out the recipes, and read more of your stories...). Congratulations!

3:10 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

Congratulations! It's a book!
I know you have said this before, but this book really does seem like your baby. From conception to birth, we've all had the distinct pleasure of coming along for the ride. When I think about it, I don't know why I didn't pick up on the clues sooner - the food cravings, the dishes piled high in the sink, these are all things a tired, pregnant gal does. It's been a long, joyous journey and we are all anxiously awaiting March. You will bring home the book, caress it, stare at it just like a Mom with a new baby, and then you will have to find a special place for it, for not just any old bookshelf will do. I'm warning you, between now and March you will probably experience mood swings, food cravings, and go through a terrible "nesting" phase. Just breathe slowly and it'll be here before you know it.

3:13 PM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Mandy said...

Heee! Terrific news. I can't wait to read it. I'm so happy that your writing and blog have brought you such wonderful things.

3:49 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger stacy said...

I love you blog. I just discovered it today and yes, it's great!

4:18 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Lucy said...

Camilla Engman will do all the right things with your beautiful words.

Worth the wait this book, methinks.

4:20 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Christine said...

Oh, goodness me, the book sounds wonderful (and with Camilla Engman illustrations, too)! Congratulations.

4:36 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh! You guys. Thank you for all these nice words. I'm so glad you like the title (phew!), and that you're willing to hang in there with me until March. I owe you one. For sure.

Oh, and Big City Girl, of course I'll tell you more about our dishes! They're all from thrift shops - mostly Goodwill and the like - and I love them so much. And THEY WERE CHEAP. They're English ironstone (also called stoneware, or semi-porcelain), and we have a mismatched collection of different white and off-white patterns. Most were made by Johnson Brothers or Myott. They're all pretty old, although I'm not sure how old. I especially love the ones whose finish has gotten sort of crackly...

Thanks again, everybody. Really, really.

5:12 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger andante said...

I really adore that photo at the kitchen table. a lot. I don't know why. I look forward to seeing your book one day!

6:15 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Lina said...

I'm looking forward to your book!

6:45 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Anali said...

I added your book to my Amazon wish list! ; )

7:48 AM, April 16, 2008  
Anonymous michelle @ TNS said...

food and stories AND camilla engman? awesome!

sometimes i can't decide whether i'd rather be you, or clothilde. it's a toughie.

10:50 AM, April 16, 2008  
Anonymous EB said...

Oh Molly. I am so so excited for you, and for me! Cuz I get to read it!!!

12:42 PM, April 16, 2008  
OpenID henbogle said...

I'm a lurker -- but am eagerly awaiting the book. I MUST ask, however, what is that pot? on your kitchen range's backsplash?

1:05 PM, April 16, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Henbogle, it's an anodized aluminum teapot. Kind of funny looking, I know, but yep! It's vintage, made by a company called Commercial. Like most everything in our kitchen, it's from Goodwill...

1:28 PM, April 16, 2008  
Blogger jenifer74 said...

well, i already knew i was going to be snatching up this book of yours, but now, with camilla's illustrations too? holy swoon, march IS a long way to wait for that spring baby :) can't wait!

2:08 PM, April 16, 2008  
Blogger pea & pear said...

Molly, I am wondering how you snuck into my home to take that photo of my kitchen sink! I find this photo very satisfying and comforting!! I can not wait to get your cook book. I think of you as my little secret amongst my chef peers. We are always looking for the latest "restaurant chef" book to hit the stands. I can not wait to have your's to introduce them to this lovely little world you live in. The life of a chef is so hectic, rushed, stressful and relentless. It is a real joy to see food in such a calm and glorious way. Thanks again for sharing.

7:31 PM, April 16, 2008  
Blogger aforkfulofspaghetti said...

The book sounds so much more than just a recipe book - which is a sure-fire way of getting my interest! Looking forward to seeing a copy...

12:57 AM, April 17, 2008  
Anonymous Helen said...

Hey! 'Food Stories' is my blog! Only kidding ;-) - Congratulations, I'm definitely going to be buying a copy.

5:45 AM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger Verity said...

Just discovered your blog and I love it! Cant wait to see the book.

6:46 AM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger Carolina Foodie said...

Congratulations on your book. My own "baby", my first book, arrived this morning for me to cradle and dance and sing with! THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK: Recipes & Traditions from NC's Barrier Islands. Like any good book, it's got stories as well as recipes. As the mother of 3, I can tell you that creating a book is worse than pregnancy, for it involves so much work and so much out of your control. But it is so worth it! Elizabeth Wiegand carolinafoodie.blogspot.com

9:20 AM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I found your blog through another, and I'm so happy I did. Love the format,and the picture that you have on your header made my eyes pop out!! Orange and chocolate are my favorite two things combined. Can't wait to see your book.

4:04 PM, April 17, 2008  
Anonymous AngAk said...

I can't see any of the pictures in today's post, and only a few pictures since you changed format. I wonder why?

4:16 PM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger hannah said...

i don't need to say it here, but i'm gonna say it here anyway, you KNOW i am crazy about this. yay yay yay. see you in okc in march 09 lady! (or hopefully before...)

7:08 PM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger Sonia Martín said...

I'm also waiting for your book. I live in Spain, and even here some of us are waiting for it. Congratulations!! Great stories!!!

7:12 AM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Kelly said...

Molly, a friend told me about your blog fairly recently, and I have spent hours reading your stories.

I especially like reading your blog while I'm at work, in a no-food-allowed zone. I work in a journalism library for an extremely old, bossy woman. Reading your blog makes me feel like somehow like I'm breaking the rules. It makes me feel liberated, and I love it. I love your stories.

10:17 AM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous sarah said...

camilla engman + molly = perfection. it's so natural, so right, and i can't wait to see the results.

12:17 PM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Shayla said...

I didn't even know you had written a book. It sounds like a delicious read!! Can't wait.

2:31 PM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous Juree said...

Molly, I absolutely cannot wait. I don't comment very often, but I am always reading and though it is disappointing to have to wait another year, it will be well worth it!! I love Camilla Engman's work-- what a delightful pairing!

2:47 PM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous nicole said...

claps! hi, you. I cannot wait to read your stories. I love the title you've chosen.

5:01 PM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Jess said...

I've read you for awhile but have probably never left a comment. Just seeing your messy kitchen makes me feel good - because even you, my recipe muse, have a messy kitchen. (mine is always piled high with dishes, both in the sink and on the stove)
I still have my eye on your cinnamon roll recipe, I just know it will cure me of my fear of working with yeast. And I just love your writing, it's so honest.

5:59 PM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Lulu said...

I absolutley adore your blog and have tagged you for a meme. Here is the link http://luluabroad.blogspot.com/2008/04/meme-tag-like-flashlight-tag-but-better.html

8:13 AM, April 20, 2008  
Anonymous Indie_tea said...

I'm a silent reader who adores your blog. I cannot wait for the book, and I'll be ordering (or preordering) as soon as I can.

1:21 AM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous hanne said...

i love the title.
and i can't wait to see the book! with you and camilla together, it must be perfect.

3:25 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Anne-Lise said...

I can't wait!!!!!!!!! I do wish it was coming sooner, but patience is a virtue. It will give me something to look forward to! Congrats :-)

5:09 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Annie K. Nodes said...

Congrats, Mollie! I can't wait to read your book. Whoop-whoop!

11:37 AM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous amanda said...

Oh, I'm so happy for all these book newsy updates (adore, adore, adore the title)! Huge congrats to you, my friend. When the book does come out it's going to be just the right time for it. A spring baby, indeed. xoxo.

7:19 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Christoph said...

Camilla Engman's work is beautiful. Looking forward to see the book.
Check the new Spanish cook book "1080 Recipes" illustrated by Mariscal and published by Phaidon, I have a hunch
you would like the book.


6:24 AM, April 23, 2008  
Anonymous sarah said...

You and Camilla!! I can't wait!

7:23 AM, April 25, 2008  
Blogger EnchantedMusing said...

how did you get in my house and take photos of my kitchen?? LOL

love your blog. lovin the recipes too!

8:57 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger amisha said...

oh molly! how exciting to have your book on amazon already. and camilla to illustrate it... WOW. congratulations!! xo

5:20 PM, May 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Always six degrees. I just found your blog today and was looking at some of the archived entries when I found this one. Camilla is a dear friend of a friend of mine. Now I have double the reason to get your book.
have fun!

2:15 PM, June 04, 2008  
Anonymous ellise said...

Just read your book on the plane from Dallas to Paris...loved it, dogeared it, and it's now resting on my bookshelf next to Pierre Gagnaire's "Cooking: The Quintessential Art." I've been living in Paris for two years, and every day still feels like one big culinary thrill ride.

4:44 AM, April 15, 2009  

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