A First Look

A First Look

There are a number of reasons I love working on books. I love being able to live with recipes and images for months, or even years. Something about revisiting and working on them over time just feels right. I love taking photographs for print. I enjoy the collaborative process of working on a book. I love holding a finished book in my hands...there are a lot of reasons.

I'm sitting here looking at a document dated December 18, 2005, it is my author agreement with Ten Speed Press for Super Natural Cooking. I don't know how four years passed so quickly, but it has. I delivered the manuscript and photography in August 2006, the book was published the following spring. I loved working on that book. And now, looking back on it, I'm realizing I sort of never stopped.

Not long after submitting the manuscript for Super Natural Cooking, I started setting aside photos I loved, and continued to keep notebooks of my favorite recipes, ideas, and inspirations. I wasn't sure what I would do with them, or what would emerge over time, but I had a hunch something might. Or not. Either way, I don't like the idea of rushing these sorts of things. I've come to believe you can't really rush inspiration, it comes on its own schedule, emerging and intersecting my life when it sees fit. I just try to keep my eyes open.

Keeping it local: Aaron Wehner, now publisher of Ten Speed Press, also happens to be a friend and neighbor. It's nice to be able to casually throw ideas around with him at the playground in the park across from my house, or over coffee up the block. I suspected (and hoped) that if I was going to work on another book, it would be with Ten Speed. They're located in Berkeley, and there's nothing quite like being able to share font inspirations with your designer face to face, or hang out with your editor over lunch or drinks. I've been very fortunate in that regard.

Now, there's a big difference between thinking about a book, and turning an idea into an actual book. I'm not sure if it is like this for everyone, but speaking for myself, committing to a book project is both exciting and terrifying. There was a point last year when my excitement about the prospect of making a new book tipped the balance away from terrified, and I started attempting to wrangle things into something real and cohesive. Something I was excited to share.

A new cookbook: I'm working on one :) I'll submit the manuscript and photography to Ten Speed this summer, and it will be published in spring 2011. It will be a follow up to Super Natural Cooking, and the working title is Super Natural Every Day. In short, it's a glimpse into my everyday cooking and everyday life. All new recipes, all new photography. In equation form: Me + Northern California + cooking with natural foods + my kitchen in San Francisco = Super Natural Every Day.

The recipes: The recipes are rooted in whole and natural foods. They typically feature a handful of seasonal ingredients, some inkling of nutritional balance, and most come together with minimal effort. At times it's tough, but I've resisted the urge to include any over-the-top, special-occasion creations. I also skipped any that had lots of components, or required elaborate time commitments. Instead, I went back to my notebooks and have anchored the book in my favorite everyday creations. The recipes I revisit over and over.

There is so much more I'd like to tell you about it, so much I'm excited to share. I was thinking I might write a series of posts focused on the creative process of making this book if you're interested? I was thinking: photography; the manuscript; the design process; inspiration; the recipes....? Let me know what you think.

And most importantly, this post wouldn't be complete without a heartfelt thank you to all of you who embraced Super Natural Cooking. Simply stated, without your support, I wouldn't be working on another book.

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Comments

  • I, for one, would be very interested in learning your creative process. Being a "numbers person" by day, but trying to cultivate my creative side during all other times of the day (and sometimes a little while at work...shh), hearing how others do it would be very enlightening. I only recently found your site but have made probably almost two weeks worth of dinners from your recipes. All of the ones I've chosen have been super easy (read: weeknight friendly) and incredibly healthy. I have thoroughly enjoyed the recipes that I have tried so far and am excited at the prospect of more to come. Congrats and good luck!

    Allison
  • I have been waiting for you to make an announcement like this! Your cookbook and blog have been a huge influence in changing my cooking these last couple of years. I am so glad you are focusing on the everyday, simpler recipes, these are the most valuable. It is when there isn't a lot of time that it is sometimes easier to cook in a non-healthy way (at least that is what our culture tells us). Along this vein, I have been wondering if sometime you could do a blog post focusing on freezing foods. Such as what recipes can be frozen and reheated with good results. Just the information that you have provided before that I can freeze cooked beans and cooked grains has helped me so much.

    Brigette
  • this blog and super natural cooking are two of my favorite sources for cooking and inspiration. your aesthetic and photos are so perfect for the food on this blog and I really look forward to the next book. the first one is just a pleasure to look at even when I am not cooking from it.

    Nidhi
  • What fantastic news. I love Super Natural Cooking and will eagerly await the new book. I particularly admire your design sense and all those gorgeous high res photos. As much as I enjoy food blogs, there is something wonderfully tangible and tactile about a book that you just don't get from a computer screen. In your case your website and book compliment each other perfectly.

    Krista Harris
  • DRIED cranberries :) Not fried, ha!

    Jes
  • SO so excited about the new book! Can't wait for Spring 2011 to arrive! I adore Super Natural Cooking and make AT LEAST one recipe from it per week, if not from this site :) As a matter of fact, I made the Baby Bran muffins today with walnuts and fried cranberries and they are divine! And we had the Asparagus Tofu Stir Fry the other night. Yum! Cannot wait for the new book...and I would be so happy if you posted about the process of it all! Right up my alley :) You're amazing Heidi! Keep it up :) Thank you for blogging!

    Jessie
  • Congratulations! It would be great to see and learn more about your creative process, I'd love it if you would share!

    Anna
  • I frequently visit (pore over, try, treasure) your blog ideas past and present, and would love to read your insights into the process of turning your ideas into the next phase of cookbookery; it'd be a pleasure to hear more about the start to finish.

    Megan
  • Heidi, your website and your first cookbook are a huge part of my everyday life; not a week passes without my making at least one of your personal recipes or one of the recipes you feature here (tonight I'm making Tassajara Warm Red Cabbage salad). I love how easily your recipes will accommodate variations in ingredients. Living in Wyoming, it's sometimes difficult to get certain things, particularly fresh, high-quality produce in winter months, but I can always find a recipe here on your blog for what does look good at the store. This website is such a great resource for me to that end. I'm thrilled to hear you'll be writing a new cookbook. I like the idea of reading more about the process here too.

    Amber
  • I love that photo montage on the wall. I want to do something like that behind my couch but with picture frames. I'm excited for your new book!

    Chelsea
  • I've been reading your book and blog for months and months now and have found your replacement of nutritionally devoid ingredients with their much heartier and more flavorful counterparts to be a huge inspiration for my own cooking. Your cookbook is gorgeous, and any insight you can share with us on the subject of creating such a work would be greatly appreciated! Keep up the wonderful work that you do. You're helping many people on the road to recovery.

    Chelsea
  • How exciting, can't wait to see it and snatch one up! I really hope you do share your inspiration and process for creating the book. I love the food you create and none of your recipes have ever been disappointing, thank you!

    Jacqui @ So Good & Tasty
  • How exciting, can't wait to see it and snatch one up! I really hope you do share your inspiration and process for creating the book. I love the food you create and none of your recipes have ever been disappointing, thank you!

    Jacqui @ So Good & Tasty
  • Congratulations Heidi! I can't wait to read it. Your recipes have become the core of my cooking. I will love reading whatever you share with us along the way. All the best to you through this incredible process!

    Laurel
  • Wow. This is great news. I love your first book and I am thrilled to hear that another is on the way. The photography here and in Supernatural Cooking is absolutely beautiful. And this place here, (your blog), is really warm and welcoming. It's a great feeling, seeing something so wonderful and someone so deserving succeed. Congratulations Heidi. All the best, Michaela

    The Gardener's Eden
  • I would love to get a glimpse into your process! I have Super Natural Cooking sitting with me in my creative space because I just love looking at it. I love your photographs and the way they all come together so beautifully. I flip through the pages often. Your site and cookbook have definitely influenced the way I eat, the way I feed my family, and strengthened my appreciation for the beauty of food. So, I guess this is my longwinded way of saying...yes, I am definitely interested to see how you work!

    Emory
  • Congratulations on taking the leap for your next book. I would love to hear more about the creative process as it unfolds. I have enjoyed many of your recipes over the past six months since I discovered your blog.

    linda
  • ohhh, can 2011 come any sooner?! so fabulous, heidi, and no doubt, the book will be a huge success. would love to read more about the inner workings and creative process involved with producing a manuscript and eventual book.

    my spatula
  • I am so excited for you and can't wait to see the finished product! Many thanks for making my life healthier and more delicious.

    Shila
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