So if you've seen my social feeds lately you know that the cookbook I've been working on is almost ready to go to the printer and that is a very exciting but very very scary thing.
Making things is hard. Making things that are intensely personal but also professional is doubly hard and unexpectedly emotional. The book is filled with recipes for dishes I make all the time (mostly without recipes, but not anymore, ha!). It reflects our family's food life and I want the reflection to be just so. I want parents who cook to find it relatable, but also worth their time. I want to have enough people feel enthusiastic about it to convince another editor or publisher down the road that I'm worth investing in again. Yeah. I'm asking a lot of this book.
But what I'm asking myself at this moment is to just let it go. I turned over the proof yesterday, and now I have to release my worries that the blueberry-peach crisp topping is not crisp enough, or that there is too much coriander in the rub for the whole roasted fish, or that an extra-juicy tomato might torpedo my bulgur-stuffed tomato recipe. The book will not be perfect, there's no getting around it. But isn't the journey the reward, or something like that?
I'm in a moment (and I'm extraordinarily privileged to be here) where I am trying to chart my own course in food - as a teacher, a writer, and a maker of things. Part of seizing the moment is trying things on for size to see how they work and how people respond. Maybe I'll start a podcast, or a newsletter. Maybe I'll self-publish a teeny-tiny cooking manual. Maybe this, maybe that.
But always while trying to let go of my need to have things be just so. Because in life, I'm not a perfectionist. I have a sneaking suspicion that this need for things to be perfect before they get sent into the world is a defense mechanism against a fear that whatever I'm putting out there isn't good enough, and therefore I'm not good enough to be doing what I'm doing. OK THERE. I SAID IT.
So in the spirit of letting go, guess what? There's no plan this week. We're winging it - and also literally eating wings. And no-recipe waffles using leftover steel-cut oats; rice and beans; and some other stuff I haven't thought of yet. But here is a short list of food-related things I'm excited about:
1. Round flat things made of batter - like socca, a flatbread made with chickpea flour and olive oil that Galen and I devoured standing up over the kitchen counter before the thing even had a chance to cool down; or crepes, which I made with buckwheat flour and stuffed with ricotta and greens for myself, yogurt and maple syrup for my kids. Fun, easy, adaptable, crowd-pleasing.
2. Breakfast for dinner - when waffles are on the menu, people eat dinner, so I'm here for it, probably once a week these days. Include some good citrus fruits and call it a day.
3. Anchovy vinaigrette: loosely, 1 mashed garlic clove + 4 minced anchovies + 1 scant tablespoon dijon mustard + 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar all mixed together, + 1/2 cup olive oil whisked into the mixture in a slow stream until emulsified. Might need a pinch of sugar to balance out all the tartness. Now give me a bowl of radicchio and parsley leaves and let me eat my fishy salad in peace.
4. Not cooking. Right?
5. I haven't bought the book yet, but I like the general message of Ruby Tandoh's Eat Up: Forget about "food rules." Listen to yourself, listen to your appetites, and eat accordingly.
I'll be back when I'm done letting go. xoxo