I’ve been promising to explain my absence around these parts for a while now, and so here goes.
I got a book deal!
In Spring 2018, my book about Basque cuisine, one of the very few to be published ever in English, will hit every type of bookstore shelf near you (Barnes & Noble and Little Professor here I come)!
Yet to be named, my Book is a collection of the truly essential Basque recipes, with a list of 100 that any Basque would recognize as the most classic, important dishes. These dishes come with, of course, a heavy helping of culture and history that give context to the unique cuisine in this part of the world. I. Did. A. Lot. Of. Research.
It will be published under Artisan Books (Workman Publishing), an amazing house that focuses on “illustrated” books, or books heavy with a visual component. My cookbook will be in the company of those by Thomas Keller, my own mentor Frank Stitt, Jeni of Jeni’s Ice Creams, Sean Brock, Back in the Day Bakery, Hartwood, Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, and really, countless others.
This year has been a nonstop mad one, and in no small part due to the work I’ve been doing on the book. It’s no easy task to research 100 dishes, do full justice to their histories, while at the same time figuring out the most classic, best way to prepare them and translating that for an American audience. Seriously, no easy task. And then came the photo shoots (with the extremely kind and talented and patient Simon Bajada, who took the above shot of me, as well as my stellar team of stylists Susana and Sonia), what amounted to a monthlong quest to capture the landscape and the people as well as the 100 recipes, plated. And finally, the revisions (which I’m still slaving away on). If the workload wasn’t enough, it was accompanied by the inexplicable fear that comes with a job of this size. Why me? I’m not good enough to do this. How will I ever finish it? What if nobody likes it? All those kinds of inner dialogues that only serve to slow you down. And of course, this dream came to pass the same year that various nightmares did, as well. (Coming in some future memoir…)
It was all worth it, though, to be able to get the specialness of this corner of the world in one place, in one massive oeuvre. And, who am I kidding, I have squealed several times with joy…this is a lifelong dream of mine since I was “self-publishing” elementary-age-appropriate melodramas with my friend Rosie in New Orleans, Louisiana. A real book!
I have to say a thanks to all of those who supported this endeavor, from the yearlong process of crafting a proposal to pitching it via email and telephone (without an agent) to recipe testing to visits to chefs and artisans that I peppered with nonstop questions. So many people to thank, and that will come in the book’s own pages. And I just feel so lucky…seven years in San Sebastián, the stars aligning, and all the blessings I never imagined possible raining down.
In the coming months, I will be sharing more and more of the book. The best thing about this blog is that it has put me in touch with so many of you people, excited about Basque food and San Sebastián and Spain in general. I feel so happy to be able to get some of that down on actual paper and share much more of how special this region is. So—thank you so much for reading and writing. Txin txin to much more to come.
Love you all. xo