A Book, a List and a Lot to Read


Being woken up by the thud of a heavy padded envelope falling from our mail slot to the floor is not that unusual for me, nor is quickly jumping out of bed to retrieve it. It’s certainly not unusual to rip the envelope open and find a cookbook inside, and these days, not even unheard of to find it’s a free promotional copy sent by a publisher hoping for some good press. Getting back into bed to leaf through my new book is certainly not out of the ordinary, nor is flagrantly disregarding the fact that I should be getting ready for work rather than lounging around in bed reading cookbooks. What is unusual, however, is to open such a book and find, buried about halfway through and looking for all the world like they actually belong in such a strange place, my own name and more than two thousand of my own words staring back at me.

I’d been waiting for exactly that moment for quite a long time – ever since, thanks to a tip-off from Tea (who is a contributor as well!), I submitted a story just in time to make the deadline for a book about learning to cook around the world, the latest in a line of critically-acclaimed anthologies from Traveler’s Tales, and even more so since I’d heard back from Susan Brady that my story was accepted. Nothing really prepared me for the thrill of actually holding the book in my hands, however, and of noticing how different my words look in print than they do on a computer screen – more confident, more shapely, and certainly more permanent. I didn’t dwell on it for too long, though, because I quickly realized that this book has a lot more going for it than just my piece. In fact it is a goldmine of brilliant writing, exotic destinations and incredibly tempting recipes. There are tales from just about every corner of the globe; amusing, poignant and heartwarming pieces about teaching chefs in China to make southern fried chicken, conquering culinary demons in cooking school in Sydney, and, of course, learning to make the perfect Spanish tortilla (my own contribution). And as if that weren’t enough, the final chapter of the book is chock-full of enough practical information to make any travel-addicted foodie (or food-addicted traveler) drool: international cooking schools and culinary tours, books, magazines, internet resources, etc. The highest praise I can give this book, however, is to tell you that I would buy it even if I hadn’t contributed to it, and I suspect that if you’re the kind of person who likes food and travel (and especially both in one package), you will no doubt love it too. And with copies available in both the US and the UK, you should be able to get one delivered to you no matter where in the world you are.

In other news, I want to extend a massive THANK YOU everyone who has contributed to my Foodblogger’s Guide to the Globe project. When I sent out a tentative request for participation three weeks ago, I certainly didn’t expect quite the tidal wave of responses you’ve provided! A quick count shows the list at 1,220 items suggested by (if my math skills don’t fail me) 243 contributors (excluding myself) containing descriptions of edible delights from Cambodia to Cape Town, Bali to Brazil and New Zealand to Nantucket. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed combing through everyone’s lists, and this has also been a great excuse to discover dozens (even hundreds!) of new blogs in the process.

As for the food, I have been fascinated to see certain things pop up again and again; things like foie gras and truffles, just-picked fruit and garden-fresh tomatoes and homebaked bread, oysters and macarons and real pizza napoletana. I have also realized that not just taste, but the experience itself also plays a major role in our appreciation of food, as many of you have demonstrated in your advice to have a meal in the dark, eat something with a challenging texture, conduct a taste test, enjoy a fish we’ve caught or a vegetable we’ve grown, or even (this is one of my favorites) relive those dreaded school lunches! Then there are those things I’ve heard about but wasn’t aware of just how badly I need to seek them out – Krispy Kreme donuts, Philly cheesesteaks, Texas Hill-Country barbecue, jamรณn ibérico de bellota, dampfnudeln and real dim sum to name a few – as well as things I’d never heard of but found my mouth watering at their descriptions: sakura ebi, Samoan oka, mutsch and black sapote. Much to my delight I now have handy lists of what not to miss should I find myself in Japan, Cambodia, India or Montreal, and I even know what to ask for if Judy Rogers ever offers to cook me dinner! My thrill-seeking alter-ego will never be content until I partake of fugu, drunken prawns and deep-fried alligator, and at the other end of the spectrum, I have had my appreciation (and appetite!) for home-style comfort food like buttermilk-fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, BLTs and New York-style cheesecake reawakened. It turns out I have a lot of private homes to visit too, evidenced by the number of must-taste dishes made by contributors’ mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, uncles and aunts – I hope they’re ready to accommodate all the foodie pilgrims like me who will soon be knocking on their doors! And lest we think this is all about food, think again – it turns out no life is complete without Château d’Yquem, Mariage Freres Tea and beer from Oregon.

I’m not even close to having read through each and every contribution yet, but one thing is pretty clear already – we foodbloggers have a lot to live for!

p.s. If you’d still like to contribute to the list please read the original post for guidelines and leave a comment there with your link! I’ll be accepting submissions as long as they keep coming…


23 thoughts on “A Book, a List and a Lot to Read

  1. hi melissa, ‘clink’ goes that overburdened amazon basket ๐Ÿ˜‰ congratulations – i can’t honestly think of any other person whose travelling lunchbox i want to read more about!

  2. Yay, Melissa! Isn’t it a fun experience to see it all there in black and white?I’ve seen a lot of TT books come off the press, but I think this one is the prettiest yet. I had so much fun opening up my package and perusing the buffet. I loved your story and am looking forward to reading through all the rest–and to cooking them as well. It’s a delight to be book-buddies with you–here’s to many more Melissa bylines!

  3. Wow, congratulations! What a thrill! And very deserving too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the premise of this cookbook, am going to get my hands on a copy soon.

  4. Congratulations, Melissa! Will there be a piece in Food&Travel soon, too? PS I’ll add my five suggestions to your Foodblogger’s Guide to the Globe later this week, when I’m back in Edinburgh.

  5. How exciting! I keep meaning to write up my 5 Things to Eat Before You Die but it’s so hard! I can’t decide whether I should include single foods, complicated dishes, or experience based indulgences… no matter how many times I try to scale it down, my list always exceeds just 5 items.

  6. Melissa – I am so glad you finally received your copy and that it appears to have been worth the wait. I appreciate your contribution, your enthusiasm, and your kind words about the book. It was such a delight to work on, and it is authors like you that make my job as an editor so worthwhile and gratifying. Here’s hoping that we can collaborate again sometime!

  7. I agree, there’s nothing cooler than seeing your work on paper bound between two hard covers. Congrats! I’ll definitely be buying this. And thanks for starting the most amazing meme. It has been a true joy seeing everyone’s choices. So much food to try!

  8. oooooooooooh well done! congrats! sounds like a fab book…(and i love the telltale THUMP of a book through the mail slot. It’s not the same back in Australia where the mailbox is at the end of the driveway. Then again you can usually hear dogs barking at the postman’s motorcycle ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Congratulations, Melissa ! You do derserve such an attention and success…Thank you for encouraging me to give "my" joint project a try. I have invited you (see blog) and hope you will participate….Kindest regards, angelika

  10. <p>This is a great blog! I&rsquo;m surprised to see the extensive information an individual can find here. I&rsquo;ve been blogging for a bit over a year now and I think it&rsquo;s a great way to network and learn. I particularly like to food industry as I run a cook book site at <a href="http://www.findcookbooks.com">Find Cook Books</a>.</p><p>I have collected thousands of resources for all types of cook books and recipe books from all around the internet. I myself am in the process of creating a book which will include a huge amount of online resources in relation to cooking. In my new book I will include many references to blogs that are related to cooking and this one will be sure to be included.</p><p>You have done a wonderful job and I think any visitor who comes here will gain a great deal of knowledge.</p><p>I have over 300 blogs that I&rsquo;ve found that will be included in the hard print book. We do not just put any ole blog as the blog needs to be relevant and one that is used to help visitors find just what they are looking for.</p><p>The name of the book will be Blogging For Food!</p><p>So congratulations on your site and we are happy to include you. Keep your eyes open for the book and pick up a copy to see your blog listed. The book will be published and distributed in late Spring of 2007. So check our website <a href="http://www.findcookbooks.com">http://www.findcookbooks.com</a&gt; as we will list it there on the homepage.</p><p>Again great blog and see you in the book!</p><p>Jason Motely – Author <br /></p>

  11. Food is the spice of life. It is just wonderful to see how your writing can contribute to the cheer delight of good eating. Bravo!

  12. Melissa – I just had to let you know that Susan was in Seattle this week, and I was able to go and pick up a copy of this lovely book! One of the other contributors (Judy) was there to do a reading as well… it was fun to hear the story of how long the book has been in the making. Plus we got snacks. :-)I just got the book last night… can’t wait to get to your part. I might have to skip ahead.-L

  13. Hi, This is richard.this site was very interesting about food.& decision to make cooking in their life.it was very good.i have gone recently to other relative site.it was good..visit the site… culinary schools

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