After we had Hal, we kept that squishy girl all to ourselves for a hot minute before sharing her on the world wide web. Like a mother memorizing the folds and smell of her new skin and counting her toes for the 24th time, I’ve been keeping something else to myself. Reading and rereading it. Absorbing the smell of the fresh ink on the uncoated pages. I’m so excited to announce the arrival of my second baby—The Minimalist Kitchen (Oxmoor House). This thing I swore I’d never do is real.
About the book
Though I’m holding a copy, it wont be on store shelves until April 10, 2018. You can pre-order now on Amazon. What kind of book is it exactly? The Minimalist Kitchen is a cookbook, but more importantly, it’s a framework for creating a minimalist kitchen, a kitchen pared down to the essentials—from the ingredients, tools, pantry, and cooking techniques. Once the framework is in place, you can make 100+ recipes. It’s true what they say, less is more. But this is also true—achieving simplicity is hard. This book will hold your hand through the process and make dinnertime (and the kitchen) feel doable again.
The birth story
I swore I’d never write a book. And then I swore I’d never write a book unless one poured out of me.
May 2016: My now editor, Rachel West, pitched the idea of this book to me. These were my thoughts: Can she see into my kitchen? Of course I can’t write a book. I definitely can’t shoot a book. Well, if I don’t write this book, someone else has to.
January 2017: After months of going back and forth on the details, I thought the book had fizzled off. Relief. Out of the blue, Rachel called with an offer. I’d write the book, and the very talented photo team at Time Inc. Food Studios would shoot the book. I had to write the book.
February 2017: I started getting daily grocery deliveries from Instacart, cooking from morning till bedtime. My iPhone couldn’t recognize my fingerprint for months. So many dishes and raisin-like finger tips. The rest of life went on hold, and Kev absorbed all the extra slack from my line.
June 2017: I turned in the manuscript! The book team came out for a two-day shoot at our house. Hal and Kev were the cutest.
July–November 2017: Time Inc. Food Studios shot the book. (There’s a picture for every recipe. Can I hear an amen?) Meanwhile, we were doing rounds and rounds of copy edits. The book then went into layout. Allison Chi, the book designer, created pages better than the ones in my dreams.
November 2017: The book went to print.
February 2018: A year after beginning the book, an early copy arrived!
April 2018: It will be on your bookshelf. Get a sneak peek below.
An intimate perspective
I’ve heard never-again, horror stories about writing a book. Mine was anything but. It was one of the best experiences of my life. And yet, it was one of the hardest times personally. The pressure of print is real.
In so many ways, the birth of this book has mirrored my experience of motherhood. There are labor pains in trying to master a recipe on its 15th round. The low of getting it wrong again can feel so low in the moment. But the high of mastering it is so high.
At the beginning of it all, you have this ignorant confidence about yourself. It’s the thing propelling your yes to an insurmountable task. By the end of it, you feel extremely unfit—for motherhood, for writing a book. You look in the mirror and see yourself. She’s familiar but different. But to put the differences into words is impossible. You start to second guess yourself until you second guess everything. Did I do it right? Am I good enough? Will they love it? Will they hate me?
Kev asks, “Why are you placing all your self worth in this book?” Because I gave so much of myself. It’s impossible not to lose yourself a little on the way—in motherhood and writing a book. But it’s also possible to find yourself again. I’m sturdier than I was last month. They say you forget the labor pains. I don’t want to. They’re the best reminder that I can do impossible things, things I swore I’d never do. Motherhood and writing a book. It’s as hard as it is good. It’s full of my worst mistakes and greatest successes.
Welcome to the world The Minimalist Kitchen. You made it. We made it!