Toot the Horn, Eat a Quiche: Great News to Share

by ACP on February 4, 2010

Leek_Lemon_Feta_QuicheFOOD52 WILDCARD WINNER!

MY MOM AND I used to laugh about a silly thing we saw one day while navigating traffic in Los Angeles: a woman eating a banana while driving, intermittently blowing her horn to urge cars forward. It wasn’t so much what she was doing as how she did it, each activity with gusto. “Eat your banana, blow your horn” later became our shorthand for all sorts of ridiculous, impatient multitasking. There’s a gesture to go with it, and the whole thing just morphed into a family joke that may not be at all funny to anyone else, but that never fails to crack us up. Of course, tooting your horn means something else, something braggy; still, sometimes you’ve gotta do it. You’ve got to share great news.

Yesterday, I found out that my recipe, Leek, Lemon & Feta Quiche (with ouzo!), was selected by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52.com as the Wildcard Winner of the week. What? You don’t know what this means? I’ll gladly tell you.

Food52 is the brainchild of Hesser and Stubbs, and I think it’s best described as a vibrant online community of home cooks and professionals working together to create and share great recipes. This really doesn’t begin to cover all the great things going on at the site, but it’s a start. To launch the project, Hesser and Stubbs decided to produce a community-sourced cookbook in the span of a year (52 weeks of gathering content). They cull the best recipes from the site as two finalists face off in a themed contest each week. In addition to the two finalists, a Wildcard Winner in any category is selected from the recipes that users post to the site. This Food52 “best of” cookbook will be published by HarperStudio later this year.

The fact that any recipe of mine was handpicked for publication by two amazing food writers/editors/culinary renaissance women, well . . . let’s just say it’s made the overtime in the kitchen, the kitchen disasters (yes, I have those), and the eating of too many calories, all seem that much more worthwhile. The Food52 team cooked my quiche, photographed it (with better lighting that I seem to be able to get; I’m working on that), ate it, and enjoyed it enough to endorse it and share it with a wider audience. For that I’m extremely happy and very grateful. That’s what food is for: sharing with others. And because this recipe was originally developed for my father’s birthday this year, there’s also something pleasantly sentimental in the mix for me. That said, I really just feel privileged to be in great company at Food52. The quality of recipes on the site hits a very consistent high, and it’s a great thing to be part of a community of supportive cooks and bakers who regularly inspire you to go beyond what you assume you have the time for or skill to accomplish on any given day.

If you want to track the progress of the cookbook as the contests continue through June 2010, you can view its growing table of contents here. My recipe is down toward the bottom, filed under the “Eggs” category.

To restate the obvious, I’m over the moon about my forthcoming publication. But I’ll not be resting on my laurels. I have another recipe in the current contest: a chocolate cake that, regardless of how it fares on Food52, I will post here soon—it’s a winner in my recipe book, and I know a few people have already claimed they’ll make it for their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day, which could be the ultimate compliment. And there will be more entries at Food52 to come, for contests or not. I’m definitely sold on the adventure, the fun with food, and the great innovation that Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs have set in motion. I would go on about what they’re doing from a publishing perspective (you know I’m an editor myself, yes?), but since I designed this blog as a special space reserved for food, I will just say that their instincts about blurring the lines between author and audience, the interactive nature of their publishing venture, is right on the money and leave it at that.

Amanda and Merrill, and the whole Food52 community: Thank you.

Readers of this blog: Thank you.

You can learn more about Food52 by going to their site, follwing them on Twitter or on Facebook, or by watching this video that explains what it’s all about.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally February 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

Congratulations on winning the wild card. I am a big fan of food 52 for its collaborative nature–you feel like you are hanging out in some very good company. Now I’m going to go out and have an “eat your banana! blow your horn!” day. Love it!

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ACP February 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Sally, thanks for stopping by. Yes, the collaborative nature of Food52 is fabulous, and the company is definitely the kind I want around my table! Glad you like the “eat your banana, blow your horn” bit. It really was (and still is) very funny… but you never know how quirky family stories translate to others. Definitely, have that kind of day in the best possible way. Hope to see you in this space again, and in the meantime, I will certainly check out more of your posts. I just had a look at your blog, and the photos are gorgeous. I love your tagline, “when the going gets tough, food and life intersect,” and, well… I love cupcakes, too, and tend to bake a lot—not only when life gets tough, but whenever! Thanks again for taking the time to drop by and comment.

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Megan Gordon February 4, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Congratulations! I just discovered your blog this afternoon…seems clear why you’ve been recognized. I love Food52. Such an awesome concept by a few of my favorite foodie ladies. And I know what you mean: I LOVE hearing my readers tell me they made my recipes for someone special or for a certain occasion and loved it. The highest compliment for sure. Congrats again!

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ACP February 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

Megan, so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind words. In terms of discovering blogs… A Sweet Spoonful looks great. But maybe I shouldn’t have seen those Cinnamon Cardamom Snickerdoodles; they’ve given me an instant craving (instead of the simple, healthy breakfast I’m eating). I adore cardamom, by the way, and have a recipe coming soon that features cardamom cream: stay tuned! Meanwhile, congrats on your move to San Francisco. Thanks again for taking the time to comment here. ~ Allison

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watersidemom February 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Congrats!! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer(hardworking,talented, etc) gal…you deserve it. Great news! Certainly not surprising.

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ACP February 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Thanks. Means a lot… but not as much as your just showing up, post after post. I may or may not get you baking, but I LOVE that you’re out there!

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Winnie February 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

Big congrats! The quiche looks fabulous and I can’t wait to try it!

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ACP February 5, 2010 at 8:43 am

Thanks, Winnie. I really appreciate your comment. Healthy Green Kitchen’s looking good, too. I love kale and am always looking for other ways to serve it. Spicy+Crispy+Lime=Yum!

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Merrill February 5, 2010 at 9:45 am

Allison, what a lovely post and a great family story. Often an inside joke falls flat upon the telling, but you had me giggling out loud. Of course, I’m now dying to know what the accompanying gesture is! Thanks for being part of the food52 community, and congratulations on your win — it’s well-deserved. All the best, Merrill

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ACP February 5, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’m glad the family humor translated to you, Merrill. Someday, hopefully we’ll meet in person… then I can show you what “eat your banana, blow your horn” looks like. Thanks again for EVERYTHING on the site and the untold labor of love and long hours that go behind the scenes.

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Jennifer Hess February 6, 2010 at 8:32 am

Congratulations! What a beautiful dish, and a great story :)

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ACP February 6, 2010 at 9:29 am

Thanks, Jennifer. And for reciprocity, I’ll say in all honesty how much I love your posts on Last Night’s Dinner. It’s true that “Getting the Balance Right” is not easy… but you seem to be managing with your usual finesse, if added exhaustion. Forge on, and keep those great photos and recipes (and Food52 entries) coming.

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