I have no recipe on offer today. I did slip into the kitchen last night to make a sweet potato and chard gratin – I needed vegetables, but also comfort in the form of warm food and bubbly cheese. Mike offered to order pizza, but I needed a few minutes at the kitchen counter to decompress after a day of meetings and work. And I love this stuff. The three of us – Mike, my sister and I – gathered around the dining room table with our laptops (or in Mike’s case: hockey on TV), a baking dish of this and a bottle of wine; Ali worked on her masters’ application and I hammered away at Blog Aid details while trying to pull together an article for Swerve that is just not coming together in the kick-ass way I wanted it to, dammit.
Today and tonight was another flurry of work, and since most of it took place on the computer, we tossed a few racks of ribs in to cook for a few hours, boiled some potatoes to roughly mash with their skins, roasted some broccoli and wedges of spaghetti squash to feed the crew of 6 here over the dinner hour, half kids and the other half grown-ups working on the Blog Aid cookbook.
Which, I’m excited to report, is in its almost-final stages of completion! It has been a tremendous amount of work, mostly on the part of Cathryn, a wonderful friend and human being who has plodded away for much of last week and then night and day all this weekend (literally: yesterday she didn’t leave the kitchen table of her cozy house in Sunnyside from 8am until 3am Sunday morning), dropping and organizing the copy and photos into a beautiful layout. Cathryn is one of the most generous, kind, giving people I know. She supports me in everything I do, if even by email because we don’t see nearly enough of each other.
And when I ask her to do stuff like this, stuff that takes over her life for awhile, she dives right in. Her selfless willingness to share her time, creativity and expertise with those who need it is inspiring. She does so much for so many, even travelling to Africa to help the sick. I’m so grateful she’s pouring herself into this project, pulling it into something we can all set on our kitchen shelves to become well-worn with use feeding our friends and families. (If you’re ever looking for someone to do a logo, poster, or any kind of graphic design, let me know and I’ll pass on her contact info. She’s truly fantastic to work with.)
So here’s the gist: We’re lucky enough to have the support of two companies: West Canadian Graphics in Calgary and Blurb in San Francisco (it’s too bad technology allowed for productive conference calls and a one-on-one meeting wasn’t required in San Fran); both are overseeing the production of the book, which will actually be available for order online THIS WEEK. SOON. It’s a POD (print-on-demand) system, meaning the file is uploaded and then books are printed and shipped as they’re ordered, which means this is all happening in real time and books will arrive in about 8 days. (This could possibly be the fastest compilation cookbook project in history; under a month from conception to finished books!) The proceeds from book sales will go straight to Haitian relief via the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders, and get this: both West Canadian AND Blurb are matching the dollar amount of the proceeds raised up to $10,000. And of course until February 12th, the Canadian government will match that.
If you do the math, it’s a pretty great deal in terms of raising money for Haiti, and you get a spanking new cookbook in the mail to boot.
Some of my very favourite eaters are contributors:
Chef Michael Smith, Dana McCauley, Emily Richards, Catharine from Weelicious, Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet, Jeannette of Everybody Likes Sandwiches, Nishta from Blue Jean Gourmet, Lauren of Celiac Teen, Charmian from Christie’s Corner, Shaina from Food for my Family, Marisa of Food in Jars, Shauna and Danny from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Lauren from Healthy Delicious, Alice from Savory Sweet Life, Tara from Seven Spoons, Jess of Sweet Amandine, Helen from Tartelette, Gail from The Pink Peppercorn, Pierre of Kitchen Scraps, Tim from Lottie and Doof, Tea from Tea & Cookies, Jamie from My Baking Addiction, Lori from Recipe Girl, Melissa from The Traveler’s Lunchbox, Brooke of Tongue-n-Cheeky and Aimee of Under the High Chair.
Really, looking at that lineup I can’t believe we rounded up such a fabulous, generous and talented crew of people, all so eager to help.
And the recipes? Fab. All with beautiful full-colour photographs. I’m still pinching myself. Soups and granolas and baking and preserves and curries and pastries and breakfast and ice cream and dinner ideas. And plenty of gluten-free recipes.
We’ll have two versions; a paperback and hardcover. As I type this, Cathryn is sitting beside me arranging photos and text and lining stuff up and all that designerly stuff. It’s all just so thrilling and a little nervewracking as it comes to the point where it’s time to actually sell books. I’m desperately hoping people aren’t suffering from donor fatigue.
So that’s the status of Blog Aid as of Sunday night, coming to you live from my dining room table. Thanks everyone, for all you do. Keep an eye out. It’s coming!