The Generosity of Friends
When I had a big life change, people stepped up
As you might have seen on social media, I broke my ankle, just before Thanksgiving last year, right after a move to a new house. Yeah, it’s been hard, but the heartwarming response from my community amazed me. So here goes:
Cameron Stauch suggested I write about who’s been coming by with what:
11/5: Eva Heninwolf helped pack and brought a South Asian candy with cardamom to celebrate Diwali. She also got her brother Anthony to help us pack.
11/19: Joanne Rocklin dropped off a complete meal, bottle of wine, and a new cookbook to read. Later she dropped off a vat of homemade pureed soup, and then brought tofu and chicken banh mi sandwiches for lunch.
11/20: Renee and Ed drove up from San Jose with take-out Chinese food for dinner. Later they sent a frozen jar of chicken soup with a challah.
11/21: Faith Kramer dropped off butternut squash with date syrup and okra with tamarind, along with a challah.
11/22: Peggy and Demion Martin came by with brisket, then salmon with grilled asparagus and a salad, and then chicken and beef tamales.
11/24: David and Linda drove up from L.A. for Thanksgiving weekend. They made the side dishes, grilled salmon for dinner, and invited friends for homemade pizza.
11/30: My friend Kris stayed overnight after my ankle surgery. She brought two slices of meat pies and a reusable ice pack.
12/1: Jennie Schact and Rosemary Mark walked to nearby As Kneaded Bakery, and bought sandwiches and dessert for lunch. They helped me organize my books. Jennie also tackled my spice and baking drawers. Birdi Burish helped unpack and break down boxes.
12/3: Anna Mindess picked up pho, lemongrass tofu, and fresh rice rolls from Monster Pho. She came again with indigenous dishes from Wahpepah’s Kitchen, and custom fortune cookies from Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company.
12/4: Nadia Barhoumeh bought us local Chinese takeout for lunch.
12/5: Yen Trac delivered two kinds of chicken, mashed potatoes, split pea soup, puree of cauliflower soup and stir fried pac choi.
12/6: Eva Herzer made a homemade salad with feta cheese and walnuts.
12/7: Pam Elder brought homemade lentil soup, deviled eggs, focaccia, lentil salad and biscotti, packed in a wooden picnic basket.
12/12: Leslie picked up kimchi fried rice, two kinds of pancakes, japche and miso soup from a favorite haunt in our former neighborhood.
12/12: Faith dropped in to deliver a copy of her new, autographed cookbook and a tub of chicken plov, made from a recipe from her book.
12/14: Joe Sikoryak came for lunch with lemon semolina cookies. He picked up takeout kale salads with cranberry and orange zest.
12/15: Julia Allenby brought a vat of homemade fish chowder for later, sandwiches with homemade bread, a ripe pear, cans of grapefruit soda water, and Christmas cookies (pictured above).
12/15: Friends Mike and Kati Kauffman came to do some handyman work and picked up birria and pozole for dinner.
12/19: Sandy Gross and Paula Reinman brought homemade curried sweet potato soup and pecan thumbprint cookies.
It’s an incredible outpouring of generosity. I am filled with gratitude. I hope that you are blessed in this way if you have two big life events.
P.S. Thanks also to Laura Rubin for groceries and treating me to a quesaburria for lunch, Becky Ellis for mailing a copy of Service Included, Regina Safdie for sending California olive oil, Mary Ann Greenelsh for the gift card for a farm box, and Michal Eden, for coloring books, a pencil sharpener and colored pencils and markers.
What I’m eating:
You learned lots from what I wrote above, but there’s also this patented pizza box.
Classes and Events Coming Up
Jumpstart Your Cookbook Proposal
February 8, 15 and 22, 2021
Civic Kitchen Zoom: Three 3-hour classes
13 students maximum
If you're procrastinating about writing your cookbook proposal, you're not sure what to write, or you need accountability and support, take this class.
Writing a cookbook or book proposal is a daunting task. I’ll provide practical, strategic advice and moral support. I'll cover how the publishing industry works and what editors and agents look for in a proposal. Then I'll discuss what goes in each section. You will write first drafts in class. At the end, you'll have the start of a proposal, with the knowledge of how to make it irresistible to an agent or editor.
Book proposals have a 1 percent success rate, so it's critical to learn all you can before sending out your proposal.
It's difficult to see someone’s successful cookbook proposal. I'll share one of mine, which led to a beautiful cookbook by Rizzoli.
In person event: An interview with Faith Kramer
Author of 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen
February 6, 3 p.m. PT
Omnivore Books, San Francisco
Join me as I interview Faith, a food columnist and recipe writer for the J, the Jewish News of Northern California. She’s also a former student. I’ve had the pleasure of dining at her table, eating her flavorful global dishes.
One-hour consult: $250
For years I've had a five-hour minimum for consulting. But now, through Delicious Experiences, we can do a Zoom call for just one hour or more. If you’ve wanted to start on your dream cookbook, get your book published, or get better freelance assignments, let’s move you forward with your goals. Writers at all levels have booked me to discuss a variety of topics.
What I'm Reading
The Publishing World Is Finally Embracing Black Cookbooks. It’s this statement: “Between 1950 and 2018, 95 percent of the books published by major publishing houses, like Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House, were written by white authors…”
Alison Roman Just Can’t Help Herself. The New Yorker digs into a long profile of Roman, a year after social media cancelled her.
11 Key Publishing Trends For 2021-2024. About self publishing, the fate of independent bookstores, and the continuing mergers of publishing companies.
The 10 best cookbooks of 2021. The San Francisco Chronicle lists both local and national favorites (possible paywall.) And then there’s Our favorite cookbooks of 2021, from the Washington Post (possible paywall), The best food books of 2021, from The Guardian, and Best cookbooks of 2021 by the experts, from Eat Your Books.
Who Owns a Recipe? A Plagiarism Claim Has Cookbook Authors Asking. The New York Times covers a recent plagiarism claim and discusses how recipes can’t be copyrighted.
It’s time to apply for IACP’s annual writing awards. You can’t win unless you apply, so get up the nerve to do it.
Seven Dazzling New Cookbooks Bring the World to Your Table. The New York Times weighs in and goes for a diverse set of books.
What is cultural appropriation? Mallika Basu attempts to set the record straight once again.
3 ways to add creativity to your writing. Feeling stuck? Here’s how to get back into your writing projects.
Writing For People - The Art of Cookbooks and Food Writing According to Nigella Lawson. Nik Sharma interviews Lawson about recipe development and writing.
Millions of Followers? For Book Sales, ‘It’s Unreliable.’ In this New York Times article, publishers still want robust social media numbers for anyone who wants to publish nonfiction. A good response: Yes, Social Media Can Sell Books. But Not If Publishers Sit on Their Hands, by Jane Friedman.
5 Ways to Create Instagram Reels as a Food Blogger. Now that social media prioritizes media, Food Blogger Pro has good post about maximizing Reels.
Just Like Brandma Made. Clever title! A delightful story about professional recipe development at companies and how many famous recipes came to be.
Of Mouth Molds and Michelin Stars: Chef Finds Fame After Epic Takedown. A blogger reflects on the restaurant review she wrote that went viral, and the response from the chef.
Why do Indian recipes always have to come from some mythic grandmother? True for most every other cuisine also.
How Will Americans Eat in 2022? Read about hibiscus, Taiwanese breakfast and other trends in this New York Times article.
My next newsletter
For paid subscribers only, an interview with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen about why she’s lasted 15 years and what she tells people who want to start a food blog now.
News About Clients and Students
Julia Allenby published And Martinis, a cookbook inspired by her pandemic posts on Facebook.
Becky Diamond will write The Gilded Age Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from America’s Golden Era, to be published by Globe Pequot in the spring of 2023. She hopes to capitalize on Julian Fellowes's upcoming Gilded Age TV show on HBO.
Rebecca Lang’s Easy Holiday Coffee Cake recipe appeared in Parade magazine.
(I like to brag about your food writing accomplishments here. Just send me an email: email@example.com.)
Thanks for Reading
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Editor, Writer and Coach
Office: (510) 923-1770
Disclosures: I am an affiliate of Food Blogger Pro, Amazon and Bookshop.org.