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.)
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.