Another Le Creuset Giveaway!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We're giving away another set of Le Creuset!

To celebrate the official release of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, we are giving away yet another $500 set of Le Creuset cookware and a $100 gift certificate for Murray's Cheese. No purchase is necessary to enter the giveaway. To enter, here's all you have to do:

Take a photo of yourself with the Melt cookbook, either your own copy of someone else's, and post it to your Facebook wall with the wording: "I love macaroni and cheese and Le Creuset!" 

That's it! Then leave a comment here or email with a link to your Facebook post so we can see your entry. Photos don't need to be anything special - a phone photo will work just fine. But only original photos will be accepted, so the photo must be yours! You also don't have to show your face if you don't want to, but it would make it a lot more fun if we can see you smile. :)

One winner will be selected and announced on December 15th, 2013. For other details and legal what-have-you, please refer to the official contest rules.

It's Out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A lot of you know what today is. It's something I've cried, bitched, gleed, bragged, and freaked out over multiple times.

My first book is finally out.

Melt: The Art of Macaroni & Cheese is the epic tome for the cheese lover and home cook. It's a dedication to my and my co-author, Stephanie Stiavetti's love of handcrafted and artisan cheese. Years of practice and education in writing and cooking all culminated to bring you what I believe is one of the most distinguished, artistic, and helpful guides to cheese and pasta (and certainly the most so on the subject of macaroni and cheese itself). I know it sounds haughty to say this, but I say it because it's the truth.

Then again, we've got a LOT of people agreeing with us. Ree Drummond called it "positively transcendental," and Dorie Greenspan considers the recipes, "modern, sophisticated, beautiful food." The Sacramento Bee adored it to say the least. I'm hoping for a lot of good reviews, but so far they haven't.

Instead, they've been amazing.

Here's what; I work as a restaurant reviewer in Sacramento. I regularly judge peoples' pride and joy. I pick apart their taste. I critique their judgement in a very public way. To be on the receiving end is hard, especially when it's anything negative. I'm learning to let the small stuff roll off my back (mainly the concern about a lack of nutritional information in a book about cheese and pasta) and not letting the positive go to my head. Still, I'm girding my loins and getting braced. Got to protect my baby, after all.

I'm utterly thrilled at how many of you pre-ordered the book through Amazon, Indiebooks, Barnes & Noble, and other online book sellers. I imagine, you probably have your copies in front of you now or will by the end of the day. For those of you who have yet to pick up a copy, please consider doing so.

The first few weeks of a cookbook are vital to its survival. The dash out of the starting gate needs to have a quicksilver pace. This determines a book's popularity. To get reviewed by the national media, you need to sell well. As you can see it's a Catch-22, be popular or the major media won't review you and make you popular. Essentially, the better the book initially sells, the more likely that national media will pay attention. You are who decides what books among the many that traditional media want to check out.

If you pre-ordered, I cannot thank you enough. If you haven't gotten your copy, now is the time. Perhaps for you or as a gift for a mac and cheese fanatic or curd nerd in your life (a fantastic Christmas/Hanukkah gift and plenty of ideas for Thanksgiving).

I also need to say thank you to all the recipe testers out there. Seriously, you guys are amazing. Eighty five total strangers came in and volunteered their time, money, and sanity to help two bloggers write a cookbook. Where else but in the world of food blogging could you find that kind of kindness and commitment? You guys rock.

A big hug to Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson and their team who crafted the epic photos. My agent, Janis Donnaud. Michael Sand, Helen Tobin, and Michelle Aielli at Little Brown for putting up with my insanity.

My husband, Brian, for being having patience with me during my tantrums, panic attacks, and for eating recipes that weren't always safe for human consumption and putting away mountains of mac and cheese during the testing process. I'm sure you'll recover someday.

And, of course, my lovely, creative, and intelligent co-author Stephanie Stiavetti. She's family and one of my best friends and I could not have ever, ever, ever done this without her.

Okay. Cuddle time is over.

I'm off to book tour for the next few weeks going up and down the West Coast, as well as planning events in the East Coast and a few other spots. Posting is going to be a bit erratic for a bit, but I'll be sharing some of my experiences from the tour with you when I can. It's going to be more intense than that one time I tried kissing a girl in high school (and possibly just as awkward).


Garrett out.

Oh, and Christa Curtin is the winner of the Le Creuset and Gift Card Giveaway! Congrats! We will contact you shortly. 

Panic: Sweet Potato Waffles

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

-Waffles aren't always a cure for panic attacks, but they can't hurt.-

Recently I've been suffering from a small stutter of miniature anxiety attacks. It's like having to regularly walk past one of those territorial birds that live outside your house and constantly dive-bombs you anytime you step near it. I'll be writing or working and then suddenly ohmygodpanic!!!

There are a few reasons for this, the book tour being the first to come to mind because it involves me being social on a massive scale with people I generally don't know. This usually sets me off pretty well even though I hide it smashingly through sarcasm and witty repartee. Now most people would say I'm quite social and do very well in social events. Thing is that internally I'm screaming to just go home and hide. (I've learned to jam it down and cry when no one is around.) Even at my wedding I took 15 minutes to hide from everyone and catch my breath and that was from people I love. Plus, the tour involves event planning on a whopping scale. It's like juggling balls. Fifteen of them. And half of them are invisible. And one of the balls is a chainsaw.

Another source of stress is the whopping amount of vet bills for Eat Beast who, in the end and $1000 worth of tests later, apparently was just having a delayed reaction to Prozac. In addition to all this I have an unscrupulous ex I extricated myself nearly a decade ago. Suddenly, I being hounded by people wanting to serve him papers and threaten him on credit due. Naturally, none of the harrassers will listen to me when I tell them I don't know where he is and have zero contact with him because I assume they hear that record played more than a Katy Perry album regardless if it's the truth. (I haven't heard from him since maybe 2007, praise be to Jesus.) How they even have my number - or even more so, why - is beyond me.

Oh yes, and suddenly $3000 in house repairs are coming up. The joys of home ownership.

Suffice it to say, I haven't been cooking so much as rocking myself in a fetal position two or three times a day.

On Conferences and Sponsors: Curried Sorghum Salad

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

-Hell yes, sorghum and curry and butternut and yes.-

So it's not often that a food blogger must prepare a recipe that will be served to 350 other food bloggers. It's more pressure than the crushing weight of the ocean on an exploratory diving capsule at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, but without the joy of exploration and only the fear of being annihilated under a trillion tons of organ squelching darkness. Then again, if you wave a bunch of grain in the peripheral of my vision it certainly distracts me easy enough to forget said squelching. I have a feeling that's what the people at Bob's Red Mill had planned when they sent me a package filled to the brim with teff, sorghum, and other goodies you probably read about in a history book or the Bible.

Anyways, so yes, BRM. They called me somewhere back in early Spring after I had approached them back in late Winter. I was at a food blogger conference and, like many food blogger conferences, there were sponsors.

Many of the sponsors were like eager, wide-eyed kids on the first day of school before learning about the cruelties in life like eating too much paste or discovering what bullies are. Most of them simply do not know how to reach out to bloggers and just hope that if they throw enough free food at the masses someone will praise them online. It's very similar to how I imagine Republicans think food stamps work, and who are then puzzled when they don't get votes for passing incremental increases to government cheese rations.

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