Let's get something straight right away . . . I NEVER thought I would write a cookbook. Never. I have pretty much always wanted to write a book, but a cookbook? No. That was not my gig. I'm a good cook. I've been cooking since I was a kid & navigated my way through kitchens all over the world through adulthood, even tackled the dreaded, restrictive Paleo Autoimmune Protocol . . . all with great success & the happy tummies of friends & family. I never intended to write a cookbook though.
Something happened very late last year that started to change my mind . . . I realized that a big part of the story I long to tell is in food. What I ate had dramatically changed my life & I was showing other folks how to do that day in & day out. My Facebook audience was growing & I was sharing photos of my meals several times a week. The one comment I got over & over from nervous, but reassured folks was, "You make me feel like I can do this. Your food looks real." I was inspired by the vulnerability of those comments. People were ready to change their lives & reclaim their health, they just needed to know that somebody just like them, a regular person in a regular kitchen making regular food, had actually done it too.
I started to put some plans together & I began talking to my AIP soul-sister, Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo. She encouraged me over & over to consider it. She is the sort of friend that always challenges you to press beyond your comfort zone. My comfort zone was in telling stories, but not in finding a way to better share my skill in the kitchen with a fast-growing community that was anxious to learn how to heal with food. She made things simple & accessible for folks & I saw how much the community appreciated that resource coming from a woman they could identify with on many levels. The spark of inspiration that had started with the vulnerability of my readers was fanned into flames by my kind friend & quickly burned right out of my former "zone."
I started working on my own e-cookbook in January. In February I asked my youngest sister, Jenifer, to join me in the process. In her younger years she could not be trusted to boil water, but she had worked hard to develop her skills & I knew her creativity in the kitchen would be a wonderful addition. Plus, who doesn't want to do a fun project with their sister? And then I thought, how can I triple the fun? In March, we asked our long-time friend & professional photographer, Toni of Toni Rae Photography, to work with us. We started with over 100 recipes & have diligently tested & refined for months now. The final cut came down to 60 delicious, inventive recipes that touch on all phases of the Autoimmune Protocol, from strict elimination phase dishes to recipes with ingredients from each of the four reintroduction stages (as laid out in Sarah Ballantyne's, The Paleo Approach).
For my vacation this year, I flew to Montana (my home state), along with 63 pounds meat. I was thrilled to be kicking off my project there, but I live in Maryland now & that's where my incredible friends & farmers, Nora of Clark's Farm & Kelly of Hensing's Hilltop Acres, are located. I knew that my cookbook needed to feature their amazing, top-quality, grass-fed, organic meats. The moment I arrived I got busy cooking up a storm with Jenifer & Toni. We cooked 10 recipes a day, eight hours a day, for six days!
Unusual vacation choice, I know, but it was an awesome way to spend time with the people I love. Luckily, my entire family lives in Montana, so we had eager recipe testers & obliging dishwashers every day. We had lots of fun, lots of bloopers, & very tired feet, but I am proud to say with Toni's remarkable skill we do not have a single shot that isn't REAL food. (Since my early fan's fears about adopting this diet were eased by seeing photos of my real plates day after day, it was very important to me that we not use "fake food" in a single photo.) We are working hard at perfecting the writing, editing, & design now & hope to release the e-cookbook by early December.
I hope you will find my e-cookbook to be another valuable weapon in your personal arensal for the autoimmune battle. I hope it is helpful, inspiring, & eases any apprehension you have about whether or not life can still be delicious on a healing diet. Thank you for letting me have a voice in this community, I hope my work will show you how much it means to me to be able to offer another one of my skills to you.
In September of 2012 I started the current incarnation of my blog with a post called, "A New Story." I ended that post saying, "I want to tell you some new stories." I am very excited to leave my comfort zone behind & announce "the next story." I am working hard to make sure it is the tastiest story yet.