A First Look

A first glimpse at the new cookbook I'm working on.

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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I just received Super Natural Cooking as a birthday gift and love the the two recipes I've tried. I can't wait for Spring 2011--good luck with the manuscript!


Heidi, congratulations! I love your blog and your Sparkling Ginger Chip cookies (and so do most people I offer the cookies to). I would love to read more about your creative process - from idea to testing to the final product. I also love your photos. Thank you!


Congratulations on the new book! I love SNC and would definitely be up for what's next. Please, please share more about your creative process!


This is wonderful news! I love SNC and have had great success with everything I've made out of it. It's great to have a follow-up to look forward to.


I definitely want to hear about it! I got SNC for Christmas, although I've cooked many, many of your blog recipes. I'm just marking the recipes to try and started with the Barley Risotto. Can't wait to follow the journey.


Happy to have found your blog. Looking forward to getting the book. I won't say I worship food, but it is a passion. Happy to have found a kindred spirit! Susan

Susan at Charm of the Carolines

Hurray! I love your first cookbook and can't wait for the next!


Congratulations! I am the owner of your first cookbook, and liked it so much that I bought two as gifts - for graduate students from our lab, who were just starting to be interested in cooking Many of your recipes are regular appearances at our dinner table so, of course, I will be looking forward to your new cookbook, and will definitely order it!


Congratulations and - yay! - can't wait for the new cookbook! I first learned of "Super Natural Cooking" while working part-time at Williams-Sonoma a couple years back (they carried it)... then I discovered 101 Cookbooks and our kitchen hasn't been the same since! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Wow, reading all these comments about your first book makes me want to check it out! Congratulations on this second book! I just started getting into whole grains and I love it! Thanks for the wonderful site and, yes, I would also love to hear about the process!

Jen@Tiny Urban Kitchen

I am SO excited for your next book! Super Natural Cooking is one of the most-used cookbooks I have, and it's falling apart because I've made 90% of the recipes (and lots of them over and over!) I can't wait to get my hands on the new book!


I'm graduating in spring 2011, and I'll definitely be putting the book on my gift wish list! I can't wait (and I'd definitely love to read about the creative process along the way)!


Oooooh, congratulations! What exciting news! I would love to read about your process.


So excited!! I bought Super Natural Cooking for my mom's birthday, and she loves it so so much and cooks from it regularly! I love it when she calls me up to tell me about yet another one of your recipes that she tried out and loved. My particular favorite (that I tried) was the Yucatan Street Corn. Can't wait to get the sequel!


You're actually the first blogger who inspired me to go to the direction where you are heading: cooking with whole and natural foods. I although I've been interested in nutrition since my teen years, your work gave me an idea that this is exactly what I want to do with food. Love your cookbook and looking forward to a new one.


Beautiful words on inspiration. Congratulations!


I love the photo of all your photos and look forward to continue being inspired by your posts!

Simply Life

That's so exciting, can't wait to see what you put together! As for writing posts on the creative process, I would love to learn more about your food photography. Your pictures are stunning and one of the many reasons I'm drawn to your food. Any tidbit on how you set up your scene, the equipment you use, and general tips and advice would be great!


And YES! Please share every single last detail of your fabulously inspiring and creative process....


Your book, your blog, and your life are such an inspiration! THANK YOU for sharing it aall with all of us. I happened to have pulled your book off my shelf early this morning, looking for a recipe to go with the rain and desire for comfort food so I was thrilled to read your post today. Rereading your section on sweeteners was a very helpful reminder of the evils of refined sugar, not only to our bodies, but also to the environment. Thank you! Tonight it will be your Creamy Cauliflower Soup and Sprouted Garbanzo Burgers. YUM!


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