Update, March 2014! We turned in the manuscript last month (hooray!) and so we’re no longer in need of recipe testers. Thank you all so much for your interest!
decembernews

We are writing a cookbook, and writing that sentence is both humbling and shocking because it doesn’t feel real. We are writing a cookbook. (!!) We are people who delight in food, just like most of you are probably people who delight in food, but truthfully the idea of publishing a cookbook was not something we had planned. As you know, this has been 2013: The Year of House Hunting! And sometimes, 2013: The Year of Unexpected Travel! It’s been a year of enormous gifts and real disappointments. It’s been a year of settling into marriage, feeling more comfortable in it, then looking at each other and thinking, Hey, can this sweet life be real!? When the opportunity to pitch a cookbook came our way, like so many other providences before it, from a Hawaii honeymoon to a place to live, we didn’t quite believe it. In fact, despite the fact that we’ve known about this project since September (!!), it’s felt so unbelievable, we haven’t said anything about it here until now. We are not impressive people, I promise you, so despite all the temptation in my heart to let you think we’re getting this opportunity because we’re awesome, it’s just not true. What is true is that we are full of mistakes and failures and misunderstandings, and yet here we are, learning and growing and getting to do something we don’t deserve. It’s such a gift, a grace upon grace, such an opportunity to be stretched and to see how much we have to learn. And right now, as we are almost halfway into our deadlines, as we are eating our weight in einkorn and feeling like we’re ready for a vacation, I need to type this all out here, if only to remind myself. We are writing a cookbook! And now here, for you guys, is the full scoop:

Our publisher is Fair Winds Press, the Massachusetts-based label that’s behind The Balanced Raw Cookbook, Naturally Gluten-Free, and Baked Doughnuts for Everyone. It is also the same publisher launching Erin of Naturally Ella’s Homemade Flour Cookbook in June, which is a book we cannot wait to hold in our hands.

Our book will be all about einkorn—einkorn salads, einkorn breads, einkorn desserts, einkorn main dishes. We’re pretty excited about this concept for a lot of reasons, but mostly because einkorn is an ingredient we’ve enjoyed so much in our kitchen, and we want to spread that enjoyment to as many people as possible. Despite being an ancient grain with a rich history, einkorn isn’t yet a household word, and, with this book, we’d like to have a small part in changing that.  We’re not working with a specific brand, and as a result we’ve learned there are many different farms and companies offering einkorn berries and flour today. (We’ve also learned about eight different ways not to make a loaf of einkorn bread, but, don’t worry, we’ll keep that information to ourselves.)

einkorn-berries

Other answers to potentially asked questions (we plan to be pretty open about this process, so if there’s anything else you want to know, feel free to ask):

When is the book due to publish? The expected publishing date will be late 2014, hopefully in time for next Christmas! For a person who has a hard time planning next week’s shopping list, projecting a project over a year ahead of time has been, let’s just say, new.

How many of the recipes will be original? Most of the recipes in the book will be new, as in not previously posted on this site. Exceptions will be some foolproof standbys that we feel good about already. And the complete book will have over 100 total recipes, which fully demands the third set of dual exclamation points in this post (!!).

What is the hardest part of the process so far? Uh, you mean beyond the botched cookies or waffle cones or bread? The hardest part definitely has been not being able to share the winning recipes with you right now. We’ve found some recipes that you are going to love, whether or not you use einkorn right now, I’m sure of it (see this cinnamon bread from our fall video for proof). But we have to wait. So yet again the way it goes in life, we’re getting a chance to practice patience, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t come easy. (Also, second hardest part: regular blogging! If you’ve been noticing the simplicity in our recipes lately, this is why.)

What is the best part of the process so far? Learning. Looking at things from the big picture is a different experience from the way we traditionally blog. Rather than making what we feel like, the way we do for the blog, for the cookbook, we’ve outlined ideas, strategized categories, and been plugging away—in the process, we’ve discovered some ways to use einkorn that knock our socks off. Forgive the salesy plug, but, seriously, einkorn is such a versatile grain! We’ve also been pushing each other, with the help of our smart editor, to create the best recipes, photos, and writing we can, which is both exhilarating and daunting.

Wait, what is einkorn?
We’ve been talking about einkorn here for a while, but in case you missed the big FAQ post last year, check it out here. For a shorter version: Einkorn is an ancient grain, often called the original wheat. While it has more protein than most other varieties of wheat and the same amount of gluten, the structure of the proteins is different and it has a more favorable gliadin to glutenin ratio (those are the two proteins that make up gluten), which makes it easier to digest for many. It is not hybridized, and works beautifully in both cooking and baking. What’s more, some people with gluten sensitivities find they have no problem with einkorn. (see study)

How can I help? Do you need recipe testers? Bless you. YES. If you already have einkorn berries or flour in your pantry and are willing to test some of our in-progress recipes, please contact us here.

 

Oh, and one last thing, because I’ve been blogging long enough to have read many, many cookbook announcements on other sites: I think, personally, that in the world of blogs there can be this tendency when you see someone publish something or achieve even some small measure of success to think they’ve found something that will fill them up, but the truth is, a cookbook deal won’t feed our souls. And as we were not planning for a cookbook, the fact that Tim and I are writing and photographing a cookbook now only further proves something I’ve seen to be true over and over again in my 31 years of life: We aren’t the ones calling the shots. Providence takes from and fills my hands in ways I don’t expect and plan for, just like it takes from and fills your hands with things you don’t expect and plan for, and we all have to step into what comes. So you never know what will happen (we’re proof!)—but I can say that it’s all so much sweeter when you open your hands and trust.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 82 Comments

  1. Emma Galloway

    That’s fantastic news Shanna! Well done to you both :-) Good luck for the final push, I promise all that (crazy) hard work you are both putting in now, will be so worth it come next Christmas! I’m so excited for you xx

  2. Erin

    Congratulations! So exciting! I can’t wait to hear more about it as you move through the process (and to see the final product next year!).
    And a beautiful note at the end, true about so many things in life. Thanks.

  3. Nicole

    Congratulations! I love the way you’ve arranged this announcement with your thoughts on the process. I’m sure it will be a big challenge, but a rewarding experience. Happy recipe developing!

  4. Jolynn

    That’s wonderful! I can’t wait to see the book (and so hope it will feature your beautiful first-person writing as well as recipes). Congratulations!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Jolynn, You’re so sweet. It will have some personal narrative in the front matter and category pages and headnotes, although it will be chiefly a cookbook. I found that the ebook last year sort of drained me of vulnerable first-person stories in print.. at least for a while. (Who knows what will happen!) : ) So grateful for your support along the way with both projects. Thank you X a million.

  5. Lindsay

    Congratulations to you both! Writing a book is such an accomplishment, and well worth the blood, sweat, and tears that are shed in the process. :) I know you two will produce something fantastic!

  6. Sarah Kate Branine

    Girl, you deserved to use every exclamation point in this post! (I was hoping my onslaught of them in my text didn’t scare you. Or was that the text I sent to Steve about a mouse that squeaked at me in our basement? Can’t remember!)

    I am so incredibly thrilled for you. So, so, so thrilled. Extremely happy for this blessing God has brought your way! Looking forward to giving some of these as gifts in 2014!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      haha! trust me we’re all exclamation points over here, so you’re among friends! Thank you so much for rejoicing with us, buddy. Glad to have you in the big blog world to celebrate God’s good gifts.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Erin, Thank you so much! And can I just say I’ve told Tim more than once that I am amazed you did this while planning a wedding and moving and relocating and working your 165 different jobs, haha. SUPERWOMAN.

  7. Lindsey

    How very exciting!! It’s a true testament to trusting in hands far bigger than wider than our imaginations could lead us, which is a story I need to hear hourly; so thank you for writing and sharing the ups and downs of this incredible life.

  8. felicia | Dish by Dish

    I cannot wait to hold your book in my hands (or in my kindle!) I’m hooked onto the DALS book you recommended already, and I know deep inside yours will be a cookbook that not only introduces new foods (einkorn, like where on earth in Argentina can I buy that??), but mostly the part i love the most – the stories!

    sending love,
    F.

  9. ashley

    congratulations! i’m so happy for you two. your photos look wonderful and i can’t wait to get my hands on your book! i’m with erin–i’ve got some einkorn waiting to be used! :)

  10. Ruthy @ Omeletta

    Such great news, so very exciting! Congratulations :) I can’t wait to check it out- because of you guys I’ve gotten very interested in Einkorn recently. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need some recipes tested, I love that stuff!

  11. Amanda Paa

    This is so exciting! And how great a project it will be with your love by your side. I have learned so much from you about einkhorn already that I can only imagine how wonderful this book will be for others! I may bounce some ideas your way about my book now that we’ll be on this journey together :) xo

  12. Jacqui

    I’d like to go back in time to when I first met you at Sourcebooks, and I want to tell you that one day, you’re going to get married and move to Nashville and write a cookbook about einkorn, and that you’ll become someone I consider a good friend, and I want to see how 2006 Shanna reacts. And then I’ll hug you and high-five you. Please tell me you’ll be in town for the holidays and that there will be time to meet up so I can hug/high-five you for real.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Reading this comment is almost unreal. What a crazy life this is! I’m so glad we worked at Sourcebooks together because it made us LinkedIn friends which made us blog friends which made you the person sitting across from me at a Thai restaurant in Naperville. And I’m so glad to have sat there when you married Murdo and for you to have set there when I married Tim. Gifts, all of it.

  13. Jess

    Big, warm, sincere congrats on this next step! What a wonderful idea for a cookbook, and as always, your attitude to the entire process is beautiful and completely inspiring. Couldn’t be happening to two more lovely people nore could there be two people out there who are as up to the challenge as you two! Best of luck – can’t wait to see the finished product!

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  15. angela@spinachtiger

    This is soooo right for you. I only know about einkorn flour because of you and I know it will a great project. Happy to test recipe for you too. I love what you said about providence and I need that daily reminder. The twists and turns of life are not something I always understand, but the main thing is to keep going with what God gives you and let Him decide. I love everything you guys do so I know the book will be wonderful. Enjoy the process.

  16. sara forte

    HOORAY!!!! So exciting to hear. It is a series of mistakes only to feel on top of the world when you get something SO RIGHT. Hope you guys are enjoying the surprising and unexpected of the process. I love reading your perspective on things, always so wise. SO many congrats!

  17. Ashley Rodriguez

    I’m so excited I even forgot if I commented already. :) This is just so. much. YES!! I can not wait to read more of your words and learn all that you have to teach me about this grain. You are doing it, girl. So, so excited!

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  20. Jennifer

    I have been soaking, sprouting, drying and sprouting my own einkorn berries for a few months now and would be honoured to test any recipe you need tested. I am so looking forward to your book. Yes, I have messed up a goodly number of recipes (Christmas baking didn’t go as well as I had hoped this year), trying to substitute Einkorn for regular flours.
    congratulations!

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