If I were to backtrack to where this story truly began, I would have to return to a conversation with my best friend at a ski cabin sleepover, back when we were fourteen-year-old dreamers.
In that hut on the side of a mountain, I remember talking into the darkness above me, declaring that I would be a writer and be published one day. She was going to study medicine and be a doctor. I had already decided that I would marry the boy from Québec, so we conveniently paired her up with one of his brothers, although that part played out differently.
My friend went on to become a nurse practitioner and was my bridesmaid when I married the boy I had loved since my teens. I launched a food blog and published regularly, so that made me a writer. Kind of.
Fast-forward twenty years from that innocent forecast of our futures and you will find me now, eyes wide open with equal amounts of excitement and fright, on the cusp of making my childhood dream an actuality.
You see, I have accepted an offer to write two books with Penguin and am now actively working on my first cookbook. A book born out of this very space.
Yes, it’s absolutely bonkers!
Saying it out loud really makes it feel official. You have to understand, this deal hasn’t been simmering on the back burner for ages; it has all come together since my little trip to Vegas. To say the last few weeks have been a wild ride is very, very accurate.
Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites will be published simultaneously by Penguin Canada and Pintail, a boutique imprint of Penguin USA, in Spring, 2015. I can promise you that it will be well worth the wait. (Book 2 is still under wraps.)
I feel so fortunate to be working with Penguin lifestyle editor Andrea Magyar, who not only understands my approach to food and cooking, but knows how to translate it to paper in the best possible way. Thank you, Andrea, for reaching out and taking me on.
About Brown Eggs and Jam Jars
It’s exciting to share my vision for this cookbook after conceptualizing it for several months prior to any serious interest from a publisher. Thinking about how a blog could translate to print is something most food bloggers do from time to time, I would imagine.
Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites is a carefully curated collection of one hundred or so recipes, insanely useful sidebars on cooking, homesteading and kids, and gorgeous photographs – all with family at the center. On our homestead, our family food life is a celebration of the seasons and the joyous events they bring and it is this journey that I wish to share through Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.
A year of family food life
Divided by seasons, the cookbook will follow twelve events that center around family food life on our urban homestead. There will be stories of maple taffy in the snow, summer harvest dinners on the lawn, neighborhood jam swaps, apple orchard outings, and my favorite Sunday dinners. Basically, more of your favorite reads on Simple Bites, but expanded and rounded out, with practical application for your home and family.
A collection of new recipes
The cookbook will feature recipes that are characteristic of this space – seasonal, inspirational, doable, and clearly constructed. They will both reflect my current family food life and reach back into my childhood and my whole foods upbringing.
I’ve been developing recipes for nearly two years now, sharing a slice of the pie here on the blog, but saving the real deep-dish goodness for a tangible cookbook you can hold in your hands. Of course, a few favorite recipes from the three years of blog archives will be included, but even those will be updated and improved upon.
There is still much to do, test and taste, but I’m ready to hit the kitchen!
Insanely useful sidebars
Alongside stories and recipes, the book will be packed with practical tips on my favorite topics: food, homesteading and kids in the kitchen.
I want to show readers how a small urban living space is big enough to nurture self-sufficiency and give any family the contentment of homesteading in their own backyard. Never mind moving to the ranch, it is possible to find contentment and to challenge yourself, right where you are.
I’ll also incorporate the best kitchen tips and cooking skills that I gleaned while working for ten years in the restaurant and catering industry. Oh yes, they apply to home kitchens, too.
Working alongside me and photographing ‘Brown Eggs and Jam Jars‘, are Tim and Angela Chin, longtime friends and renowned Montreal photographers. They are also parents, have a deep appreciation for family food culture, and they totally get my philosophy on food. They’ve been documenting our family for the past five years, back when I was super blonde, the boys were tiny tots, and Clara just an infant.
I know that the Chins are capable of capturing heart and soul in their images and I can’t wait for you all to get a glimpse of our homesteading life through their photographs for this book.
ALL images in this post by Tim and Angela Chin
There’s no better time or place to extend the warmest of thanks to my agent Stacey Glick, who has been absolutely amazing. I forwarded her a single email inquiry from Penguin a few weeks ago, then I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas, leaving my laptop (and ‘work brain’) at home. When I returned to Montreal a few days later and checked my messages when deplaning, she had an offer waiting for me. It completely knocked the wind out of me. I may have cried all the way through customs and sniffled through the baggage claim. But that is another story for another time.
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And so, I will leave you now and continue the recipe development for this book. There are also sidebars to write, head notes to ponder, and short essays to unwrap from my heart and put into words. I’m ready to jump in with both feet, get my hair wet and perhaps even a little water up my nose. It’s bound to happen.
Thanks to you, the reader, for visiting, reading and returning. Without your support, there would be no cookbook, this is certain.
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