Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Pantry


THE PANTRY~ITS HISTORY & MODERN USES will be published by GIBBS SMITH, PUBLISHER in MAY 2007 [Principal photography by Sue Daley & Steve Gross ~ cover image courtesy of F & E Schmidt]

I realize I haven't written much in a while at all, let alone about the book that inspired this blog (which is clearly about so many other things besides pantries). Sometimes this kind of writing seems so self-serving, and perhaps it is, and then at other times it is almost too polished. It is a blog, after all, and I'm probably trying too hard to make it into a compilation of the essays of the century. But now I'm getting a bit too introspective again, so allow me to return to being more, well, BLOGGY.

THE PANTRY was sent to the printer in January. For most of the autumn months, my editor, Katie Newbold at Gibbs Smith, and I worked "back and forth, forward and back, around and past each other like human shuttles weaving a pattern which had form, color, flavor..." That's a quote from Della T. Lutes who wrote HOME GROWN in 1937, a follow up to her popular domestic memoir THE COUNTRY KITCHEN (and you can read the entire quote on page 28 of my book, or better yet you might enjoy the original books themselves--out of print but not too difficult to find). Della was writing about how she and her mother and others moved back and forth "to table to stove to table to 'butt'ry'" (an archaic term for pantry) almost effortlessly in their farm kitchen. Katie and I had the same editorial experience: back and forth we went, sometimes daily, and all by e-mail with the occasional mailing or phone call. With the abillity to attach most things to e-mails, it made our job even faster.

At one point, in the final color galleys which we completed right before Christmas, Katie even added a few things here and there at my last minute request or swapped a few image placements to where I thought they might be a better fit. She never complained and she never said no. It is an exciting moment to see your words on the paper alongside the many images that you had styled for the photographer or gathered from other sources. After two years from concept to finished proofs for the printer, it was so rewarding to have completed an idea. A book is an idea brought to life and for someone like me who has definite attention and focus problems--well, let's make that occasional "priority issues"--it is an accomplishment just having completed it.

So I'm happy to say, while I didn't always detail the process as I had intended in this blog site, the book is done and will be available in late May 2007. Stay tuned for more information and updates along the way. I hope at some point to have a website, also, with more information and links []. In the meantime you can go to for more information.