Perusing the cookbook offerings and events at BookExpo America revealed upcoming titles from James Beard Award–winners like Michael Ruhlman and Sean Brock, live conversations with household names like Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, and news that the folks behind quarterly food journal Lucky Peach, which recently took home five Beard awards for journalism, are exploring the idea of getting into cookbooks.
“I want to do cookbooks in the next year,” said Lucky Peach editor Peter Meehan, fresh from hosting a conversation with Mario Batali during BookCon on Saturday morning. “There are things we can do with cookbooks that we can’t necessarily do with a magazine,” he added, telling PW that they would need to find a “particular Lucky Peach way of doing cookbooks.” For Lucky Peach publisher Adam Krefman, connecting with independent booksellers and librarians was his main goal at BEA.
Making connections was also the aim of Missouri-based Bread and Butter Publishing, LLC, a first-time exhibitor that has released two “recipe adventure storybooks” for children: End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad and Garden Safari Vegetable Soup. Bread and Butter’s books are available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, but being at BEA is “about making relationships with distributors,” cofounder Larry Puzniak said.
As ever, many authors were on hand for signings at publisher booths and in the autographing area. At Running Press’s stand, author Tim Federle signed sippy cups to promote Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist (Oct.), a companion to 2013’s Tequila Mockingbird. The sippy cups were empty, though they did include a recipe for a dark and stormy, which accompanies an adult twist on a classic nursery rhyme (“It’s raining, I’m pouring, my husband is snoring”).
At Random House, actress Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos signed copies of their first cookbook, Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, May), which ties in to their Cooking Channel show Extra Virgin. At Hachette, author JJ Virgin was on hand to promote JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet, out in November from Grand Central Life & Style; the author’s Virgin Diet Cookbook was released earlier this year.
Naturally, edible giveaways were also part of the show—and not just the jars of candy sitting out at every other booth. Connecticut’s Taunton Press was handing out (allergy-friendly) brownie bites to promote Cooking Allergy Free: Simple Inspired Meals for Everyone by Jenna Short, due in November. Short’s catering company, Shortbread NYC, is geared toward accommodating food restrictions; the book uses a system of icons to show when recipes are free of allergens like gluten, shellfish, dairy, and others, and suggests alternatives as needed.
At Workman, author Dan Shumski broke out the waffle iron to promote Will It Waffle? (Sept.), “waffling” everything from pineapple to cookies. Across the aisle, Storey Publishing was grilling panini as Priya Krishna did a signing for Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks (June), which shows college students ways to transform their schools’ pedestrian cafeteria offerings into custom gourmet meals. Storey also hosted a whiskey sampling to promote Lew Bryson’s forthcoming Tasting Whiskey: An Insider's Guide to the Unique Pleasures of the World's Finest Spirits, out in October.
And on Friday, Dominique Ansel made an appearance at Simon & Schuster's stand to promote his first cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, which is due out in October. Ansel signed recipe cards and tempted visitors not with cronuts, but with chocolate quenelles made with lemon curd, espresso beans, and sea salt, then wrapped in basil leaves.
Among less edible giveaways, Artisan was handing out temporary food tattoos to get visitors excited about one of its major fall titles, Heritage by the James Beard Award–winning (and heavily tattooed) chef Sean Brock. One tattoo featured “Jimmy Red” corn, a heirloom strain that Brock helped “bring back from the edge of extinction,” said senior publicist Patrick Leonard. Other forthcoming Artisan titles of note include Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours, exploring alternative flours, and Francis Mallmann’s Mallmann on Fire, out in October. In the book, Mallmann brings a portable grill with him on travels that take him from Brazil to Brooklyn. “He’s the poet mystic of grilling,” said Leonard.
Looking to Fall and Beyond
Throughout the convention, publishers large and small were actively getting the word out about their upcoming releases. At Little, Brown, this fall will see the launch of a technique-driven series from Egg author Michael Ruhlman, beginning with How to Roast: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook (Oct.). “We’re looking at four books to cover the technique world,” said Cathy L. Gruhn, associate directory for lifestyle publicity. The second book, How to Braise, is due in early 2015, with subsequent titles to be determined. Gruhn pointed out David Perlmutter’s The Grain Brain Cookbook (Sept.) and Karen Page’s The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (Oct.) as two other major fall titles for Little, Brown, both of which build on the authors’ previous bestselling work.
At Chronicle, associate marketing director Peter Perez characterized Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes as a “really big deal book for us.” Written by Bar Tartine co-chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, it’s the publisher’s fourth book featuring San Francisco’s Tartine restaurants. Perez’s other top books for fall included Sweet Alchemy: Dessert Magic (Aug.) by Top Chef: Just Desserts winner Yigit Pura and Brown Sugar Kitchen: New Style, Down Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland (Sept.) by Tanya Holland, featuring recipes from her popular Oakland restaurant.
For Reader’s Digest, a fourth edition of The Taste of Home Cookbook is due in September, with more than 1,300 new recipes. Sales of the first three versions of the cookbook have topped 10 million units since the first edition was released in 2006, according to the publisher’s Kim Gray and Rebecca Gonzalez. On the way from Sterling Epicure is a 30th anniversary edition of the Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, which has sold 3 million copies to date. According to Sterling senior sales manager Trudi Bartow, another fall title attracting attention at BEA was Terry Walters’s Eat Clean. Live Well., out in November. “Everyone was so excited for Terry’s book,” said Bartow. “She’s the revolutionary of clean food.”
At Abrams, Erin Hotchkiss, associate director of marketing, was looking ahead to My Portugal: Recipes and Stories (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Oct.), which she described as “a love letter to Portugal” by Aldea chef/owner George Mendes; Baked Occasions (STC, Oct.), the fourth cookbook from the Brooklyn bakery; and Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert’s first cookbook, My Prairie Cookbook, due in September. Houghton Mifflin publicist Brittany Edwards singled out new cookbooks from Marcus Samuelsson (Marcus Off Duty), How Sweet It Is blogger Jessica Merchant (Seriously Delish), and Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything Fast) as important fall titles. “He’s overhauling how you cook,” said Edwards of Bittman’s speed-oriented addition to his bestselling line of books.
Weldon-Owen’s major fall book is Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook, edited by James Oseland; the October release coincides with the 20th anniversary of the magazine. At Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, marketing and publicity manager Steven Pomije described 2014 as a “year of food for us.” Following summer releases of Anya Kassoff’s The Vibrant Table and Diana Yen’s A Simple Feast (more than 200 turned out for the latter book’s recent launch at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn), Roost’s fall list includes At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, the first cookbook from Amy Chaplin, former executive chef at New York City’s Angelica Kitchen.
And, finally, for readers with very particular tastes (including one for tongue-in-cheek humor), in October, IPG/Trafalgar Square will bring over Chris Windle’s The Horsemeat Cookbook: Braising Saddles and Other Recipes, published last year by Random House U.K. in response to Europe’s ongoing meat scandal. The author describes it as “a humorous gallop through various horse-based feasts.”