Giveaway: $500 Le Creuset Package + Book Tour Details

Monday, September 30, 2013

To celebrate the nearing release of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, we are giving away a $500 set of Le Creuset cookware and a $100 gift certificate for Murray's, the premier online retailer for artisan cheese. One lucky winner will receive the following pieces, making it the ultimate set for creating all the macaroni and cheese dishes in the book:

  • 4 1/2-qt round French oven 
  • 3 3/4-quart deep covered sauté pan 
  • 3 3/4-quart oval stoneware baking dish 
  • One set of four oval mini-cocottes 
  • Plus a $100 gift card for Murray's online cheese shop 

To complete your entry, email us at or leave a comment. That's it! Boom! You're done!

This contest is now closed. 

Of course, the best way to enjoy all these cookware and cheesey goodness is with mac and cheese. If you haven't pre-ordered then we hope you will!
One winner will be selected and announced on the book's release date, October 22. For other details and legal what-have-you, please refer to the official content rules.

We also have an initial book tour list up. This list isn't complete as is only the West Coast, but East Coast and Central U.S. events will be added as we plan them. Many events have links to the event details.

Those Creative Muscles: Writing Exercises

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A heads up. This is an interactive post. I hope you'll indulge me and play along for a bit. Get out a paper and pen. I will wait.

Ready? Awesome.


In my opinion, Vanilla Garlic is not a typical food blog. The focus of my posts is rarely a recipe. On the contrary, I often see the recipe as ancillary. The wrapping paper on the package within. The photos aren't highly stylized. They used to be, but behind every image was a lot of frustration. Styled and edited photos were and still are anathema to me. They're lepers I washed out of duty and not out of any aesthetic rectitude. The photos weren't representative of me, my ideas, or my style. It's why I switched to Instagram for both ease of use, time management, and it showed my life in the moment. It was more me this way.

The focus of Vanilla Garlic has always been the writing; both short and long essays, and essays of middling length. The writing has always been what fuels me and my Tuesday morning deadlines, and it always ensures I'm writing every single day to stay practiced. 

Now, like the rest of you, I have duties so sometimes passions take a back seat. Dinner has to be cooked, laundry folded, the cat needs his Prozac, and lawns have to be mowed. Things get in the way. The writing isn't always as great as it can be. Sometimes it suffers for legitimate reasons or for apathetic reasons (Real Housewives and Doctor Who), but most often if it suffers its due to a combination of the two. 

It's why I do so love practiced writing exercises. They force writers (that's you, by the way; not just me) to sit down and meditate on the process. You take one aspect of writing and explore it. Writing is a muscle, it has to be exercised to be made stronger. Just writing every day helps, the way running every day helps. Both keep you fit. But to stay in shape you also have to life weights, eat right, sleep, and stretch. Writers need to brush up on their grammar flubs, brainstorm, work on methods that collapse blocks, or simply focus on their basic communication skills.

What's That?: Cheddar & Peach Grilled Cheese

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

 -The peaches make it healthy.-

"What's that?" he asked.

"What?" I intoned, talking through a mouth full of soba and veggies. I caught his stare glued to the loaded fork that I was twirling in the air. (Since I usually eat at my desk my table manners are somewhat neolithic at work.) He was one of the kids bussed in to see one of the shows at my work, a local nonprofit theatre that brings the arts to kids. "You mean the broccoli?"

He nodded.

"The green thing is broccoli. It's, uh, well it's a vegetable. It's good when it isn't steamed. If it is I would avoid it, unless you cover it in butter. That usually fixes the problem."

He nodded again and scurried along.

Melt Cookbook Trailer!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

With the upcoming release of Melt, Steph and I have been hard at work setting up book tour dates, redesigning our site (with help from Ben, the best designer in the world, of course), and recording our cookbook trailer. Today, we're so excited to show you the finished trailer, something we've been working on for weeks now. It's done! We're almost as excited as when we finished the book.

With this short minute and a half trailer we wanted to communicate our reasons behind creating Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, what we love about cheese and cooking, and to give you an idea of what to expect when you pick up your copy of Melt. We put so much time and energy into creating what we think is a truly special cookbook, so we needed an equally special video to go along with it. Thank god we had a very talented videographer, Ryan Donahue, to make our vision a reality. Thanks, Ryan!

So without ado, we give you the Melt cookbook trailer! Please share using Vimeo's social media features so we can spread the love. Click the little heart-shaped "love" button, share it on Facebook, and pass it around on Twitter. We'd love you to help us get people jazzed about Melt and its cheesy goodness.

You'll have to pardon my inability to look straight into the camera, I imagined that most of this was going to be voiceover. It wasn't, so therefore I look like I might be suffering from a sudden embolism as I gaze off camera. On the plus side normally I sound so gay on video that one can only imagine a cock falling out of my mouth. This time I don't so yayness there.

Overall, though, not bad. Pretty darn awesome, actually. 

So now, I must ask something of you all. Give it a watch, share it on Facebook, pass it around. I ask you to help me get people jazzed about Melt and its cheesy goodness. Also, be sure to check out the newly designed official website for Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, located at There you'll find an event calendar, links to buy, and other delicious tips and recipes for cooking with cheese.

In other news, we've also got a handful of book events lined up for all around the country and we're adding more every week. So far we're appearing in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and the Bay Area. We're working on setting up a complete calendar that will automatically update when we add a new date, and a Google map of all the places we'll be. You should be seeing that announcement soon.

And don't forget: Melt is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retails. Order your copy now!


Garrett out.

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