Winding up a Book During Tomato Time


It’s September and that means that there’s still more gearing up to do before my new book, Vegetable Literacy, goes to press. We’ve just been through the first round of copy edits, always a hard (2-week) moment because I never have any idea how many mistakes it’s  possible to make. It’s been Ray Ban outlet vetted by my ethnobotanist friend, Jay Bost, for glaring errors in the plant department, and I’m hoping I’ve caught them all. I’ve been though the photoshoot with Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton – great grueling fun. I cooked nearly 50 dishes in a short week and of course the weather couldn’t have been hotter or more miserable during that time. Fans were whirling everywhere.  I’m working on the introduction, and thinking about all the people I want to thank, people who helped with their wisdom, experience, encouragement. Then there are references to reveal.  Writing a book is never just writing a book. All of this is a big part of it. And in the meantime, everything else recedes to the back and slips away. Birthdays. Meetings. Taking my pooch to the groomers. I honestly can’t wait to clean my office.

While I love a task, I’m ready to change gears. It’s fall. Leaves are starting to yellow. The buzzards are getting ready to fly back to Texas or wherever they spend the winter, and the garden is starting to falter here and there —one bean plant giving up the ghost, a squash deciding it’s had enough of all this production, the amaranth starting to redden.

But the tomatoes! That’s what’s getting me through these final weeks. It was a hard year for vegetables, especially the tomatoes, but now they’re coming around and they are what I want to eat. Every day. Twice or thrice. Thick slices of beefsteak typse with avocadoes. In BLTs with lean bacon from the farmers’ market, or pasta tossed with an assortment of every kind of tomato, uncooked, chopped and covered with olive oil, capers, olives, garlic, herbs. Or salt roasted little guys over ricotta and grilled eggplant. To be fair, there are plenty of shishito peppers, eggplants, Romano beans and chard, among other good things to eat. But when you have a good tomato, it doesn’t take much more to have a meal.

I know we all know that, now. Everyone’s writing about tomatoes, picking them, buying them up at the farmers market, putting them up, and eating them like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t. And the great thing is you don’t have to be in the end stages of writing a book to enjoy them to the point of ray ban da sole outlet having a daily swoon or two, and I hope you’re doing just that, even if all you’ve got are the little ones.

Grilled eggplant with salt-roasted tomatoes and ricotta

12 comments to Winding up a Book During Tomato Time

  • I am looking forward to reading your new book: the title is very intriguing. I am enjoying tomatoes like everybody else, though not from my garden. As you know, our refreshing fog is not a friend of tomatoes. But fortunately, other people grow them nearby and my cool garden gives me other gifts. For dinner tonight, I am making handmade fusilli alle quattro verdure (Swiss chard, Red Russian kale, collard greens and dinosaur kale). However, I would gladly snatch the sliced eggplant from your plate: it looks grilled to perfection.

    • Yes, fog and tomatoes are not made for each other. I lived on the foggy coast of California long enough to know that. But you’re right, it does wonders for greens. But they’ll be around longer than our nightshades.

  • Yum….I’m starving now! Great post Deborah!

  • harriet

    The heat has meant a great crop of tomatoes this year in our area. I eat them for breakfast–heirloom cherries and cukes for breakfast with cottage cheese. Have had more than my share of tomato, lettuce and mayo sandwiches for lunches. My freezer is packed with tomato sauce for the winter.

    • Harriet, you are one lucky gal! I think it was too hot this summer for the tomatoes to set fruit so they’re late – the big ones are just coming in. Your breakfast sounds like the perfect way to start the day to me!

  • Ali

    Sometimes I think the promise of tomatoes gets one through an awful lot of tough times during the year. We had some as part of our picnic salad by the river and will most likely be slicing up more for supper shortly.
    Also, love the sound of the new book and am looking forward to it!

  • Val

    I am excited about another DM book! Will all of the recipes be new, or are they compiled from your other books? I own all of them, and they have made a profound impact on my diet and cooking skills, as well as my interest in gardening.

    • Hi Val – they are mostly new, but you’ll no doubt recognize my cooking style. The recipes are focused on single vegetables or vegetables in the same family so they are simpler and more straightforward for the most part, but there a few complex ones t here as well – not complicated, just more complex. If you’re a gardener I think you’ll find this is up your alley!

  • craig

    Right there with you on the tomatoes Debra!- here in NYC. They are delicious right now. I didn’t have great luck growing them in raised beds, as I did last year, but I have friends in the Green Market. I look forward to your new book. Congratulations! Such a large part of my cooking style comes from you.

    • Thanks, Craig. Our big ones are just coming in. Even though it’s grey out and breezy and cool, I think we’ll still be seeing some for a while. I hope so! The farmers market here is rich with tomatoes, but we
      all had curly top this year. Thank you for your congratulations – I hope VL lives up to them!

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