Thank the Big Apple

Not to sound too provincial, but when something really big and exciting happens to you in New York, the bigness and Imageexcitement are magnified a thousandfold. My heart is so full today because my beloved little book won the Best American/Regional Cookbook award last night at the IACP awards gala. I want to be clear about the category here because last night I tweeted: “I WON!!! Best American Cookbook!!” and I think I gave people the impression that I had won the award for best cookbook in all of America. And while this award is huge and thrilling and amazing for me, it did not, in fact, beat out every other cookbook in the country. It is more than enough, though.

There are those moments in life—maybe your wedding, your graduation, finishing a marathon (not that I’d know)—when you want to just stop what you’re doing, take it all in, and know that you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. Standing at the corner of 41st and 5th last night, looking across at the NY Public Library amidst all the noise and brightness of people and taxis and skyscrapers, I felt like I could’ve stepped off the ground and flown right up to the rooftops. I’m so glad I got to toast the night with wonderful Scott, my agent Joy Tutela, and my friend Adeena Sussman, who helped me with recipes and advice and is an amazing food writer and stylist in her own right.

Me and Adeena

I managed to remember  most of my thank-yous in my acceptance speech (including a spontaneous declaration of love for my editor), but I forgot to thank the IACP judges. These volunteers sift through hundreds of cookbooks every year to come up with their list of finalists and winners. As anyone working in media knows, we’re all working at capacity these days. So to spend hours as an IACP volunteer is really a labor of love.

This book was definitely a labor of love, too, in that I loved every minute of working on it. Also in that it probably won’t make me rich. But it has given me back more than I could’ve possibly understood at the outset. It forced me out onto the stage, literally, past my dread of public speaking. It brought me into a community of apple lovers, readers, cooks, farmers, cider makers, authors, and editors. And it gave me one magical, magical night.

Nom Nom

Great news today! The Apple Lover’s Cookbook has been nominated for two IACP awards: Best American Cookbook and The Julia Child Award for First Book.

Wow, wow. This is just such a dream made real. When I started writing,  I had this vision of a book that was layered with stories and beautiful photos and reference material and delicious recipes and really useful hands-on information about apples. I wanted people to see the beauty that I saw in this fruit. And thanks to the efforts of a lot of people beyond myself—most notably my editors Maria Guarnaschelli and  Melanie Tortorolli, the Norton creative team of Jan Derevjanik, Devon Zahn, and Ingsu Liu, the food styling of Michael Pederson and Tracy Keshani, and the photography of Squire Fox and Peter Thompson, and my agent Joy Tutela—I get to savor this wonderful moment.

Who knows if I’ll win anything. This may be my only chance to say these thanks.  It’s a cliché, I know, but I am truly thrilled to just be nominated.