Not to sound too provincial, but when something really big and exciting happens to you in New York, the bigness and excitement 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.
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.