FOOD52 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.