So I wanted to talk about my cookbook, The Plantiful Table a bit. Like, really discuss it. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few years now, but never took the time to sit down and do it. I have all kinds of weird feelings about my book. And it doesn’t feel right. Maybe that’s normal. I’m not sure. I’ve talked to one other author who felt similarly to how I felt once the book released. Everyone else seems to feel much more emotionally connected and excited to their publications, in ways I didn’t feel.

The thing is, when my book came out, I was sick. Really sick– like unable to get out of bed in the morning sick. So I wonder, had my book come out in a time in my life when I was healthy and happy, would it have been different? Would I have had the emotional capacity to feel joy and excitement and the urge to share my book with a wider audience? Maybe, but I’m not sure.

Obviously coming down with a life changing illness affects anyone. I try not to dwell and play the ‘what if’ game, but if I think about it, and let me myself, I could feel robbed of a lot of things since becoming ill. I missed significant moments of happy mothering and business growing and opportunities that I was just too sick to follow through with, and more. But another big thing that I missed out on in the time after I got sick was celebrating my cookbook. It came out, I probably posted a few times on instagram, and that was really all I had the physical and mental energy for. There was not an ounce of celebratory energy that I could pull together.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I thought it was cool that I had created an entire cookbook that could be found on the shelves of my favorite bookstores. I still find it to be a rather cool thing to have accomplished. And I’m tremendously happy that I went through the sometimes trying process to create a product that can be held, shared, and loved by people. But even today, four+ years later— when I’m recovering, healthy enough to get out of bed, and so much more, I’m still lacking the connection I want to feel to it.

I was once too sick to share the book. And now, well, I’m not, but I still struggle to share and celebrate it. Because the other thing is, that even though I’m not sick anymore, the cookbook is no longer a part of my life, like I imagined it would be. I’m not the same person I was when I created The Plantiful Table. I’m so very different now. I can’t/don’t eat half the recipes in my book anymore. Once the person who created things on toasts posts weekly, now the person who feels uncomfortable even sitting in a bakery for fear of gluten contamination. Once the person who made all creamy things out of cashews, now the person who avoids cashews and all nuts like a plague. And those are just the foods I can’t eat. There are plenty of foods in my book that I can eat, but choose not to. Like olive oil. I couldn’t imagine a world with out high quality olive oil before. And now, I see no purpose in adding olive oil to my daily meals. None.

It’s hard for me to promote and stand behind a book I made… that is no longer who I am anymore. Who I am now is a different version of who I was then. No better, no worse, just different.

Does that make sense? While, that was me, and I know the recipes are quality and worth loving, it’s not the idea I follow now. But an internal battle still lingers. I feel guilt, because maybe I should be sharing (and celebrating) it anyway? Because I do believe The Plantiful Table serves a purpose. I do believe the book is a great guide for families wanting to add more vegetables to their own diet and their kids diet. I do believe the book is super approachable– as there are not many recipes in the book that are overly complicated and time-consuming. And it’s great for all people, not just vegans. Even if one daily meat-eater switches out their meat meal for a vegan meal, that can make a BIG difference in our planets future. And vegans, well it’s just more approachable and easy recipes to use as they please.

It’s a good book.

It’s just not me anymore.

If I were to write book now, there would be no gluten, no nuts, basically no allergen foods. No oils. No or very (VERY) little processed/packaged foods. It would include far more raw recipes. And you guys all know there would be A LOT more fruit. A lot of changed would be made because I’ve HAD to make them, but some changes because I would choose to make them. But that is who I am now. Even then, I didn’t feel comfortable putting in a desert section, as that’s not something we normally cook, but I thought it would be expected. So I went against my gut and did it anyway. But that is part of the learning process (and let’s be real, those chocolate chip cookies are phenomenal).

Also, I want to note (because I’m asked this so often), the book is not a gluten free book, but many of the recipes ARE highly adaptable. We shift many of the pasta recipes to fit my diet now. Brown rice pasta and oil free cooking, but still, the same recipe otherwise. Sometimes I make the mac and cheese, but I omit the cashews and the vegan butter– it’s not the same recipe (the original tastes much better), but it still hits the craving I get from time to time. The book isn’t perfect for people with restricted diets, but it can work for you, if you’re open to work with it too <3

I support my book and the person I was then. My past self is held in a safe place in my heart. And so, I don’t know guys, sometimes it just feels like its own separate thing that I am not connected to.

I don’t really have a specific point to this post. I just wanted to share the constant thoughts that swirl in my head when I think about my cookbook. And the feelings I have on writing a lifestyle and diet focused book and then having everything drastically change (SO quickly too) from the time of creation to distribution.  I hope that no matter what part of your life you guys are in, that you love it too. And you see value in the time spent pouring love into something that could be held. While many of the recipes are not part of my everyday life anymore, it’s still a good book, for not all, but most people.


Ps. Mango season is starting. And oh boy, I wish I could still eat mangoes.

All photos (Except 3rd + last by Hannah Mayo— a collection of photos she took for the cookbook. 

20 Comments

  1. I get ya – it must be hard to feel connected to a book full of recipes you can’t eat, made at a different time in your life. I guess, as you already mentioned, I would just celebrate all the joy you’ve shared with people who are learning to transition to a more plant-based diet. The timing of this post is so funny – we ate your 15 Min Veg Couscous tonight which my husband made. I foisted the book upon him because it was above all the others, far the most approachable plant-based cook book I own. He is learning to cook through your recipes (“oh my god, I can’t believe I just made something with mushrooms and LIKED IT”) just as I have made so many in the past! I just wanted to share the joy it’s brought our little family, let alone so many others. I look forward to any future cookbook you might do in the future with your more current recipes, or even just blog posts about them 🙂 But this one is definitely something to celebrate. (And YES, those cookies are amazing.)

    • Cynthia–

      Thank you always for your sweet comments– this one is especially so good to hear. I’m glad the book is working out for your husband too 😉 Thank you thank you. For reals.

  2. Margarita

    ¡Un libro magnífico! Todas las recetas son deliciosas, están muy bien explicadas y hasta las fotos parecen comestibles 🙂
    Hace meses también empecé una dieta restrictiva por numerosas intolerancias (gluten, fructosa, frutos secos, solanáceas,… ), pero tú libro sigue ahí, dispuesto a darnos maravillosas ideas para mí familia y que adaptaremos para mí.
    ¡Muchas gracias por haber hecho tu estupendo libro! Nosotros, desde el otro lado del océano, en España, lo seguimos disfrutando cada día.
    ¡Te mando un fuerte abrazo!

  3. Katerina

    I totally agree with Cynthia!
    I have your cookbook and I love it. I even bought is as a gift for my dear friends, because it is worth it! It is a great book, with great recipes. We may not love each one of them, we may not even have tried to make the deserts ( because we do not consume sugar), but so what? Overall it is an amazing work from your side, and I think that people value that you’ve put a lot of love and energy on it, even though it may not represent the ‘present you’ anymore, but it still is a part of you and you chose to share this with the world.
    I really get what you’re saying, but I’ve always thought that we should celebrate who we are and who we were, because our past helps us get to the point we are today.
    I know that you cannot possibly regret getting your book out there, and it might not be a reason for you to celebrate right now. But overall, it is a great book, that you should always be proud of 🙂

    • I definitely don’t regret my book, it’s just been so hard to celebrate it.But you’re right. I know it. Thank you so much, your comment means a lot. And I’m so happy you like it– and skip the deserts too 😉

  4. Gabriela

    I think it’s a normal thing to go through when you create something so… let’s say permanent (Like a book, or a song). I’m sure it happens to songwriters when they write a song while going through a terrible breakup, and 10 years later they find themselves living happily with another partner. It’s not them anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s not authentic. That book is who you were when you created it, you put a lot of effort into it (I’ve had it since it came out and I still love it). Even if you are no longer “connected” to it in the present, it will always be connected to your life, through your past. And afterall your created it to share it with the world. So it’s not only about you connecting with the book anymore, it’s also about the book connecting with whoever is buying it, and what it means to them, and who they are now. Celebrate every day that you created something wonderful (and oh so colorful and pretty), celebrate that you had a goal and accomplished it, and that now it’s out there… available to anyone who resonates with it.

    • Gosh, You’re so right in everything. I really never thought about all those things. It makes me think of the time I went to a Coldplay concert (still love them, no shame) and someone in the audience starting yelling “GREEN EYES!” and he was like, “no I don’t play that anymore, it’s not part of my life anymore” And I was like, *damn well I still love it* — it’s basically exactly what you said. You’re right. Thank youuuuu!

  5. I 100% understand how you feel about this but I definitely think it would be valuable to share about your book and HOW you adapt it. You say that’s easy but not something I’m very good at. Could you share food on your blog and insta from your book and how you adapted it? Just an idea. x

    • Such a good idea! Maybe I can even make this a series once we’re settled in the new place! Thanks for the idea 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing that! I have similiar feelings towards my first book and really felt that!

  7. I can understand your thoughts. The book is part of your own growth and it doesn’t fit your current lifestyle.
    I may feel like a lie to promote your book.
    But on the other hand, I have used your book and what I tell my blog readers that it reads more like a lifestyle book. It contains recipes, but is not a technical cookbook as such. I even advise that your book is more suitable for people that already know how to cook and know how to make adjustments. It’s for people who want inspiration for a more vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.
    The couscous recipe is my favorite.
    And it’s funny, the chocolate chip cookies was the first thing I tried. And I said to myself: why is the first thing you make out of a vegan cookbook chocolate chip cookie????
    Hahaha

    • haha I love you, thank you! I’m so surprised to hear that the couscous is so many peoples’ favorites! That makes me so happy! That recipe was a lifesaver the first year of Marlowe’s life! Thank you!

  8. Michelle

    Drea– I also want to chime in and say that your cookbook is really and truly the one I cook most from of any of the 20+ cookbooks that I own! It’s a bummer that these recipes don’t reflect your life any longer, but I hope it still feels good that your cookbook has inspired so many others! I will say that your “what a vegan kid eats” posts and this cookbook made me feel good about having me + husband + son be vegetarian. We have added so many more vegetables to our diet since we started regularly cooking from your cookbook and a few others. Anyhoo, sending love + encouragement. It is ALWAYS ok to change!

  9. This is just super relatable to me as a creative person as well as someone who runs a business through social media. It’s hard to make personal things (like diet) public because uf you do have to or want to change then it can feel like you aren’t being who people expect you to be. Anyway, I completely relate!

  10. We have really enjoyed your book. Your paella recipe is one of our favorite recipes – especially for making for non-vegans that we have over for dinner!

    • Thank you!! That was def the goal– I wanted a book with recipes that non vegans could love just as much 🙂 Thank you 🙂