Emerging from the rabbit hole

I used to have a friend, Roberta, who worked doing costumes for movies. When she was between gigs, we got together for dinners, movies, and other visits. But when she was on a project, I wouldn’t see her for weeks or months at a time. Being on the set every day, and often into the night, she had no time to do laundry, much less visit with friends. It was as if she disappeared down a rabbit hole. I knew she’d resurface, blinking at the light and needing a little time to reorient herself, and then we’d resume our get-togethers—until she got onto another production.

I’ve been thinking about Roberta lately because I’ve been down a rabbit hole myself, finishing up the cookbook I’ve been working on and paying attention to little else. I turned it in last week—yay!—and am just now starting to feel human again—double yay! (The photos here are the working copies of all the recipes in the book, a pile of papers that represents about six months’ work.)

I first mentioned the project back in January, but now let me officially tell you all about it. It’s is a co-authorship with Jared Koch, a nutritional consultant who created Clean Plates, a guidebook and web site designed to help Manhattanites find restaurants serving healthy, sustainable, and tasty food. Jared went on to create Brooklyn and Los Angeles editions of the guidebook and, with plans to take on ever-more cities and further expand the Clean Plates brand—perhaps even into television—he wanted a companion cookbook. That’s where I came in.

I wrote the proposal about a year ago, and Running Press—coincidentally, the publisher of “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch,” my first cookbook experience—bought it in November. The manuscript was due April 16, we’ll work on edits over the summer, and the book will be out in the fall. That’s fast!

It’s tentatively titled “The Clean Plates Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Healthy, Sustainable, and Delicious Eating.”

Over the last few months, I’ve been up to my elbows in spelt flour, leafy greens, natural sweeteners, and other “clean” ingredients, creating over 120 recipes for soulful, nourishing, feel-good food. And over the next few months, I’ll share a little more about the dishes.

Meanwhile, here’s to emerging from the rabbit hole and blinking in the springtime sun. And a smile for my long-lost friend Roberta.

Book recipes spread

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