This book has taken me on the road. I feel like a flour vaudevillian, and wish I had stickers from my stops to put on my griddle and suitcase. They would read Seattle, New Haven and New York City. I loved speaking with people from my book at Yale and Stone Barns, and making Christmas cookies close to home at Honest Weight Food Co-Op.
Writing a book is so different than other things you do for other people. When I make a pancake I get fast feedback. I finished this book a year ago, and with my stunning patience, was ready to hear what people thought of it right away. I had a six-month lag time where the book was neither in my hands nor in my head, and that limbo makes the experience of hearing how the book is living in the world both surprising and satisfying.
My book is landing at a time when people want to hear something new about grains. Very often I get asked about gluten or big wheat. I’m not an expert in these topics, so I try to answer the questions with what I have learned, and always steer people toward the thing that directed my wonder on this topic in the first place: fresh flour.
I like when I can let the flour speak for itself. When I can hand someone a pancake, or shortbread, and people can taste a wildly lively ingredient. That’s the food that made me ask questions and led to my meeting all of the stunning pioneers who populate my book.
I was so happy this past weekend to lead a panel discussion at the Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend at Hartwick College. Some lions of local beer told their stories: Farmer Thor Oechsner, Brent Manning of River Bend Malt, Phil Leinhart of Brewery Ommegang, and Sam Filler from Empire State Development. Then I asked them to imagine what they need to help regional grains systems progress, and we had a conversation that was both dreamy and pragmatic.
This is all a very real dream to me. In January 2011 I began to meet people in grains. I went to NOFA-NY’s winter conference and could not imagined that a few years forward I would be writing about the people in the room.
Friday I’ll be leading a workshop in Saratoga at NOFA-NY’s winter conference. I’ll be working with Rebecca Frimmer from Kitchen Table Consultants. She’ll be guiding people through social media planning, and I’ll be doing some writing exercises to help people find their voice.
I’ll be signing my book in the evening – I feel content to bring the book to another place it began. Like I’m bringing a baby home.