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.