Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Report Card for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

With back to school upon us  – sorry kids – school was on my mind.
I figured it’s time for a report card of sorts on The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.

There is so much activity surrounding the Homegrown book with a full schedule of book signings, talks, and then there is the communication via social media, including Facebook and Twitter and InstaGram and Tumblr and…
I try to keep up with it all.
I needed an intern to better keep pace then joked that I couldn’t manage to get the time to follow up with the organizations to actually secure the intern. 
(There’s a Seinfeld joke in there…)

Regardless, as another great entertainer Tony Bennett famously croons, “Life goes on…” 

Here, I tried to break out the summer highlights for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.
In no particular order – following is a recap - or book report card - of what’s been going on in the world of Homegrown.   

It’s all good! Straight A’s! Go to the head of the Homegrown class!

With a 4.5 out of a 5-star rating, my publisher says with a smile that is worth bragging rights. So with some modesty unleashed by a sense of self–nominating promotion - This is a big buzz worthy achievement worth posting on the digital Homegrown refrigerator aka as a trophy case!
Here is my Goodreads Dashboard: http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Homegrown continues to outsell on Amazon – consistently ranking in the top and coming in at a low to mid five figures ranking – which might not seem refrigerator-worthy to the uninitiated but Amazon tracks that sales metric out of the 8 million books they sell!  Millions! 
So it’s very, very impressive! 
According to Amazon, “Author Rank shows how an author's books sell relative to other authors in its category. It’s updated hourly. Like the Billboard charts, lower numbers are better.”

Thank you to everyone who has purchased from Amazon.  
I’m still looking for good book review postings, though. So if you are feeling the Homegrown love – I invite you to share.  There’s only three reviews – which doesn’t seem right.  Especially since one Oscar the Grouch is just that. Spoiler!

I don’t know why, but I don’t follow the Barnes & Noble onsite sales so assiduously. 
But I know I will be going forward as B&N has published Homegrown as an E-Book! 
But I’m getting ahead of myself. More on that in a minute.

Beach and Manhattan Magazine cited The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook as one of its Top 25 Cookbooks!

Beach & Manhattan Magazine's Top 25 Cookbook feature

To be selected as a card-carrying member of this elite cookbook coterie is a very big honor and certainly worth bragging about, don’t you think? 
This Cookbook club includes none other than the culinary cuties Gwyneth Paltrow and Katie Lee – my Authors Night gal pals. ha! 

Perhaps it’s no coincidence but besides me – there are three chefs from my book included in this Top 25 list!  
Claudia Fleming, North Fork Table & Inn www.nofoti.com - Anna Pump, Loaves & Fishes (www.landfcookshop.com and & Rosa Ross, Scrimshaw Restaurant www.scrimshawrestaurant.com ) are featured and loved chefs from my Homegrown book and would top or scale anyone’s foodie list.

Also included in the magazine’s Top 25 Cookbook list is the ultimate -  chef Eric Ripert. 
The food circles are getting smaller – see later post about my culinary “date” with chef Eric! 
And is destiny that I'm in the same culinary clutch yet again with the splendid, gentlemanly chef Eric Ripert? sigh...

Heavyweights on the list are Martha Stewart, Ricky Lauren, and Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa (I have an inside feature story about Ina from the early days of researching and including chefs for my book. Perhaps another time…)

Rizzoli Books 

This temple of all that is literary honored The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook yet again.  While there couldn’t be anything that could top the book-signing there accompanied by chef Joe Isidori, a featured master Homegrown chef in the book with Southfork restaurant and his inspired grower, Art Ludlow of Mecox Dairy.   

Chef Joe is now owner/chef of his own restaurant in where else? – food-friendly nirvana aka - Brooklyn. 
His Arthur on Smith restaurant is so named for his beloved father, Arthur. www.arthuronsmith.com

(Lots of "art" in chef Joe's world, I can't help but notice...)

Recently, chef Guy Reuge of Mirabelle restaurant in Stony Brook, www.lessings.com/restaurant_home wrote to alert me that he saw The Hamptons & Long Island Cookbook featured at Rizzoli Books – the elegant, classic bookshop that has been called “the most beautiful bookstore in New York.”
I couldn’t agree more.
All the gold and black and glamour is just so intoxicating.

Chef Guy tipped his toque to how the Homegrown book was showcased and applauded the book’s enduring popularity. 

For my part, I was keen to check out this pleasant surprise and honor – so the evening that I dropped off Chef Eric Ripert’s autographed book at Le Bernardin, I clicked those kitten heels up to 57th Street to see this gift with my own eyes. 
Sure enough – The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook was given a place of honor with the summer reads under the Recommended by Rizzoli – in an area that is prime real estate in the store. 

Like a proud parent watching their progeny at their dance recital, I couldn’t stop staring or taking photos! 

Squeezing my eyes shut and then quickly opening then to see if it was a dream proved a fairly reliable way to confirm it was indeed a real moment. There it was, standing proudly next between “Salads for Dinner” and  “These Hamptons” and underneath Bobby Flay’s latest.
And – drum roll please – Rizzoli - - arbitrators of all things literary – featured the book and a poster of the book and me/author – in the store windows on fashionable 57th Street. 

Can you believe this hat trick of a book-honor?!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Would you like to carry The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook in your pocket to take to the Greenmarket or follow the recipes on your tablet device or smartphone?

The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook is now available as an e-book from a few vendors – the biggest being Barns & Noble “Nook” and Google Play. 

Barnes & Noble Nook:

Google Play:

According to Google, “Like your email, you can access all your books wirelessly in one place, no matter where you go. Google Play stores your library in the digital cloud, which means you get to enjoy your favorite books wherever you want, and read them wherever you go, using a compatible device with an Internet connection.
Whenever you open your book, you’ll pick up right where you left. Books on Google Play are compatible with Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPads, iPod touch devices, most web browsers and many eReaders. That means you can start reading on your smartphone, continue on your laptop, and carry on reading on your tablet.”
Sounds deliciously good to me!
The Homegrown book is also available at many libraries, I learned. 
The Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, for example – where I just participated in the first-ever Authors Fair in their Inside/Out garden extension - uses the Overdrive system to provide their e-books.  So you can rent the book on your Nook or smartphone.  
I just think this is so cool.
92Y Passport NYC

As with many things that happen in Gotham, my introduction to the 92Y Passport Culinary program came about through a network – through a friend. 
My Aunt Margaret’s high school friend, Helen Conover, who quickly became a food and science and hort and theater friend of mine.  Helen waived her magic wand and arranged for me to do a presentation and chef cooking demo at the 92Y when the Homegrown book launched.
This season, she introduced me to her associates who produce Passport NYC asking if I would talk to two teen sessions about the culinary world – food careers that transcend working in the kitchen. 
I loved the idea of sharing with then to explore the world of food as an author, writer, photographer, stylist, and more.
This was dear to my Homegrown heart!

Then, in what seemed like a New York minute, I was able to arrange for my talk at the James Beard House – the mecca for all things culinary. 
Plus, the Passport teens would be at the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesdays – which coincided with the “Beard on Books” talks, allowing the group to listen to the Beard lecture, eat their boxed lunch in the Beard garden and then I did my talk for them.


I enjoyed these kids – very enthusiastic and attentive and asked salient questions, too.
92Y Passport NYC Session 2

92Y Passport NYC Session 1

The good people at the Beard House were so gracious and accommodating. 
A special thanks to Diane, Izabela, and Victoria.  Their hospitality was tremendous. They welcomed the 92Y Passport teens and made everything so easy. It’s a memory I know they will cherish.
As a matter of fact, both groups wrote me a letter saying so.  (OK, OK, they can't spell my name correctly but who cares - at least I'm "Lean!"

Here is the background from the Y to better explain what their program is all about:
Passport NYC, a not for profit summer camp program through 92Y, www.92YPassportNYC.org offers teens from all over the world the opportunity to live at the 92nd Street Y for two three week sessions to explore and study their greatest passion: Culinary Arts, Fashion, the Music Industry, Film, or Musical Theater.  
For the Culinary Arts, each day our teens participate in culinary classes taught by a professional chef.  They learn a multitude of hands on culinary skills in the kitchen and explore many different food cultures and ethnic cuisines.  Each meal they prepare serves as their lunch that day.  The afternoon is paired with experiences in the food world of New York City.  Our teens gain an understanding of the Green Markets through our partnership with GrowNYC as well as have a chance to meet with top-level professionals in the culinary field.  
As we head into our 4th Passport NYC summer we are honored and thrilled to have restaurants and Culinary professionals like Gramercy Tavern, Food Network tours, Waffles and Dinges, Del Posto, LandMarc/Ditchplains and many, many more signed on as some of our site visits this summer. We are very happy we can add you to provide an opportunity for our teens to be exposed to the varying opportunities within NY’s food industry. It will be incredibly relevant and beneficial.

Swanky-ish Soirees 
This season, I was privileged to participate in three-plus very, very extraordinary events on behalf of The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.

More than mere cocktail party chatting fodder, these are the kind of experiences one passes on through the prism of a life well-lived. It was never lost on me for a second how fortunate I was to be a part of these memorable exchanges and passages.

Please enjoy the full re-telling here:

Great Chefs Dinner and meeting Chef Eric Ripert  

Authors Night and The Hamptons Magazine Dinner

The Authors Night book signing “Under the Tent,” as the East Hampton Library refers to their fanfest fundraiser, was followed by the Hamptons Magazine dinner that was also under a tent – and it was pure magic. 
I wrote a full recollection a few posts back.  I hope this captures the wonder and joy:

Hamptons Magazine Authors Night Dinner Party in Editor at Large Michael Braverman's scandalously beautiful library. Michael- far right, Debra Halpert, publisher Hamptons Magazine, Jessica Soffer, Padma Lakshmi, John Searles, me, Suzanne Corso, & Samantha Yanks, Editor in Chief, Hamptons Magazine

And The Magic of East Hampton Authors Night is posted right before: 

me & my yogi master, Hilaria Baldwin.  Now she is #yogimama to beautiful baby Carmen