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Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
My life for the past 20 months has revolved around cooking and food. But before that, my life had revolved around writing. I hope that soon enough, I will be able to strike a fine balance between the two loves of my life, as I like to call them.
So it was with great pleasure that I was recently asked to write a personal essay for the new kid on the Houston journalism block, Houstonia Magazine. My former editor at Eating Our Words, the Houston Press food and dining blog for which I was a former contributor, is now at Houstonia, and she approached me about writing for the “H-town Diary” column, which she’d mentioned also boasts the likes of such writers as Chitra Divakaruni and Mat Johnson, both of whom were my instructors at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Of course I agreed I would write a piece for the December issue—it was my chance to switch gears and float back towards my writer persona. Plus I figured it would give me new material for my memoir (which I plan to finish a draft of in 2014—more on this later).
It’s the beginning of November, and that means the holidays are right around the corner. And that means draining your bank account to buy unappreciated gifts for your significant other, your children, your great uncle, your neighbor, your coworker, your boss, your pets…Then there’s the long hours (days?) of holiday cooking only to result in a dry turkey that nobody touches. And then there’s the stress of feeling your gut oozing out over your waistline and then the dilemma of trying to finish that dry turkey yourself since you hate wasting food, which leads back to the muffin-top issues. Sigh. The insanity. The stress.
So for those of you who live far away from Houston and couldn’t fly here for the event, or who came at 4 PM only to find out we were sold out of all 240+ covers, or those of you who got to enjoy the food but are wondering what went on back of house, here you go. Don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know what you think of episode 101 and what you’d like to see in future episodes. Also, if you have a question you’d like me to answer, let me know that, too. Make sure to subscribe so you’ll know when the next video is up. Happy watching!
Ever on top of the tech news, the hubster sent me a link to this article about the 3D printer from Yahoo! Japan that helps the blind navigate the web. I’ve only recently learned of the 3D printer concept (thanks to the geeky hubs), and because I can’t see to watch a video demo of it online, I’m still unclear on the concept of a 3D printer. For some reason, I keep picturing paper scrolling out of a regular-looking printer but then suddenly popping into 3D shapes much like a pop-up book—you know, the kind that we used to read when we were little with the cardboard pop-ups on each page?
Regardless, it’s news like this that makes me happy to know the world is advancing in ways that help level the playing field for the visually impaired. What do you think of this concept? In what ways can you imagine this helping not just the blind world, but the world in general? The imagination is endless. I love it.
I came across this article about a blind awareness campaign in Serbia that involved blacking out many popular websites to give the sighted websurfer a taste of what it’s like to be blind. Interesting concept, I thought. The organization behind the campaign is White Cane, and they help provide guide dogs for the blind.
I recently returned from a cruise on the Adriatic, and I met two Serbians who were part of the crew, and their jovial personalities completely disarmed me. Those Serbians are cool people. I know it’s a random stretch, but I hadn’t thought of or met any Serbians for the past 5 years, and suddenly, they’re popping here and there into my life. Maybe that’s next on my destination list.
We’re deep in the season of baseball. Who said blindness has to stop you from playing America’s most beloved sport? Check out this video clip about the Long Island Bombers, a baseball team for the blind. And I thought I was brave, being on ”MasterChef” and snowboarding. But I would still be scared out of my mind to hear balls flying at my face.
Nope, this IAmA doesn’t belong to me, though I did one recently. (You can still check out my IAmA on reddit.) This is a fellow blind cook’s IAmA that preceded mine. By the sound of her recipes, she’s spectacular and adept in her own home kitchen. Kudos to her for sharing the stage with me and showing the world that blind people can do just about everything a sighted person can—only differently. Read this blind cook’s IAmA and catch another glimpse into our culinary world.
Last Wednesday, I got an email from the communications director at Rodale (my cookbook publisher) stating that my very first book I’d ever published, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, was going to debut at #12 on the New York Times best sellers list for the week of July 14th under the Advice/How To/Misc. category. I was so incredibly stoked. I was in the car with my girlfriend on our way to a happy hour for a friend’s birthday.
“I’m not going to drink to her birthday,” I’d said. “I’m drinking to my making it to the NY Times best sellers list!”
I thought getting into University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and graduating with my MFA was an awesome feeling. Winning the title of MasterChef last year was superb. But I have to put being a NYT best selling author on to that same list if not at the top of it all. It was seriously yet another dream come true. Now to work on getting that Pulitzer…and then the Nobel…
Speaking of my cookbook, many of you have been asking since its release back in May, “Can I send my book to you for you to sign it?”
I’ve always had to turn down these requests because I simply, as a one-woman (with an occasional half or two) show, did not have the capacity to receive, sign, and ship back books. If I said yes to one person, I’d feel obligated to say yes to them all, and with all my traveling and workload, I just couldn’t do it. I felt bad because I don’t like disappointing people.
And then my local Houston book signing at Brazos Bookstore came and went. And then because I support Brazos for their long-lasting relationship with our graduate program, I decided to suggest they carry signed copies of my cookbook. It was a win-win situation: Brazos gets to be the exclusive store carrying signed copies of my cookbook which obviously leads to more sales for them, the fans get what they want, and I am happy to please everyone.
Ask, and you shall receive. Buy signed copies of my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, from Brazos Bookstore. As always, thank you so much for your love and support. xoxo
That’s the question I get most often right behind:
I had a long discussion back and forth with Rodale, the publishing house, about this matter since day one, before I’d even written a single recipe down. “It’s vital that my cookbook is accessible for the visually impaired. That’s a given. I can’t leave my biggest fan base in the dark (nyuk, nyuk generic name for xanax),” I’d said.
And so I was told by Rodale that they looked into all sorts of options, including publishing it in Braille or as an audio book. I was told Brailling quickly became too expensive, and they didn’t want to have to pass that price on to the consumer. I have no doubt, though, that my cookbook will one day be Brailled or recorded and made available for loan via the many resources for text-to-speech for the blind.
Currently, however, if you purchase a version for the Kindle, Nook, or from iBooks, These versions, I’ve been told, have audio capability so the text can be read aloud on their respective devices. The Kindle even recently came out with new features for the visually impaired.
Has anyone tried out any of these accessible formats of my cookbook? Your feedback is welcome. I will pass it along to Rodale.