My new cookbook is arriving in bookstores today and I have to say I think it is my best one yet.
My first cookbook, Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, was really my autobiography with 200 recipes (my greater family on both sides just loves that book since most of them are mentioned and have photos in there). My second book, Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals, was my first effort at taking advantage of all the tips and tricks I had learned from being a full time working mom, to help get dinner on the table every night of the week. This new book, Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners, is a continuation of that effort. But I spent even more time working on this book mainly because I attempted a different method of prep – I dispensed with mise en place, meaning I did not list the ingredients as being already prepared. The onions are not diced, the garlic is not minced. I decided after all these years of racing to get dinner on the table that pre-prep is a waste of time. But there is no template for writing up that kind of prep so it took a lot of revising to make it right. While I was doing all that revising, well after I handed in the book, I was also checking out each and every recipe and retesting many. Thank god, Simon and Schuster let me do that. I have never been allowed to make so many revisions in the eleventh hour in the past.
My sister, Anne, called me yesterday to tell me how amazing she thought the book was (I sent her an advance copy). She is my sister so of course she is going to say nice things. But, call me silly, I really felt that my non-cooking sister was feeling inspired. My 85 year old mom has already made a recipe, granted it was a simple side dish but I still find that hopeful. I myself continue to reach for the book for weeknight meals and am delighted to find out that they work! Writing a cookbook is like any kind of writing, you always worry if you got it right the first time.
I think I did a pretty good job with this one. And I rarely feel that way. There is always room for improvement.