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Today: The highlights from the Genius Recipes book tour thus far—plus, a big, teary thank you.
I was in Seattle on the first leg of the Genius Recipes book tour (more on that below) when I got the news that Genius Recipes had hit the New York Times Best Seller list.
There's nothing I can say about that except: Thank you. From the bottom of my weepy, pastry-lined heart, thank you. You've fueled the column (and, by extension, the book)—by sending in your tips, and by cooking and telling us your favorite ways to go rogue on the recipes. (It turns out that even though you love Nigella Lawson's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, you really love it with even more chocolate.)
So thank you for powering this Genius ship, and for tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming, for sharing with your cookbook clubs, for buying copies for your newlywed coworkers and fathers-in-law and graduating nieces. Below are five highlights from the book tour thus far, and I bet you can guess what #1 is.
1. Meeting all of you!
Food52ers old and new, many of whom have sent in genius tips for the past five years but I've never met in real life, came out to support the book—and asked such great questions at the talks! You people are not shy.
2. New friends (and surprises).
The reader who asked me to draw a face on Barbara Kafka's roast chicken in the book. The one who told me a racy story about whipped cream. The chef who let me take over her kitchen in Tulsa and showed me her beautiful Julia Child tattoo. The classroom of kids who I may or may not have convinced to like guacamole. The ChefSteps team in Pike Place Market, who made magic with liquid nitrogen and then made me touch it (it doesn't hurt!).
3. A girl's gotta eat.
And when on tour, she's gotta take in all the local favorites she can: queso in Tulsa, grubby biscuits and gravy in Seattle, Caesar salad and roast chicken at Zuni Cafe, Frog Hollow Farm apricots from the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Pastries everywhere.
4. Seeing people cook from the book.
The Richmond Junior League served me and the other visiting authors no fewer than six recipes from the book. mcs3000 baked Kim Boyce's whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with a special espresso-y twist to share at the signing at Omnivore Books. The cookbook clubs. The entire #GeniusRecipes hashtag on Instagram. I live for this.
5. Learning that public speaking isn't so scary (when you have a friendly crowd).
When I presented my Master's thesis at NYU, to compensate for a very physical fear of public speaking, I recited my presentation probably 40 times at home, until everything—even the seemingly off-the-cuff jokes—just fell out of my mouth.
I still practice out loud, but I no longer get that heart-thumping, icy-sweaty feeling—not even when I moderated a panel at the 92Y of my genius heroes Michael Ruhlman, Dorie Greenspan, and Deb Perelman (or mostly sat back and watched them say fascinating things), or when I presented the book in front of a dinner of 800 people at the Richmond Junior League Book & Author Conference.
It helps to realize that—just like giving a speech to a wedding crowd who've had a few—your audience just wants to have a good time. You taught me that on a cookbook tour, people are probably there because they like what you do and want to hear more about it. And for that: thank you, thank you, thank you.