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Steeped Book

Steeped Book: Food Allergy Guide

Steeped-Book-Food-Allergy-Guide

Today’s Steeped’s one month birthday (I wonder if people celebrate books like babies and count the months after cookery conception?) A friend of mine has been posting photos to show how his baby is growing, juxtaposing her next to a gigantic Hello Kitty! doll. To think, one day she will dwarf that kitty. To think, I exercised an amazing amount of self-control and bypassed visiting the Hello Kitty! art exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles today. It’s been an unforgettable month and I am collecting the moments like patches to stitch into my memory and into this blog in snack bites. To celebrate one month and counting, I’ve got some exciting news. We just added a feature to the Steeped book website: a printable food allergy guide designed like Steeped and to serve as a companion to the cookbook.

Quite a few people in my life abide by diets that vary dramatically. When I first began working on Steeped, I knew that I wanted the book to encourage creating an inviting table where everyone could pull up a chair and feel like a special guest and where no one would feel left out. This is my hope for you– that whether you avoid gluten or have a close friend who does, that the food allergy guide can help you navigate the recipes in the book. We focused on the top eight food allergens and I was thrilled to partner with a food allergy blogger friend who served as my extra set of copyediting eyes. So, grab your copy of Steeped and head over to download the guide to tuck into your cookbook.

 

 

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Steeped Book

New York: Steeped in Spring

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The park was flush with people. Across the street, a fountain bubbled and gargled water while a throng of men in kilts lolled on the sidewalk outside of a bus burping exhaust. It was a Saturday in New York and the sunshine sparkled as a reminder that spring had arrived. My hand had shot into the air several times as taxis began nearing. Though I don’t live in Manhattan, we seem to have an understanding between us like old friends that pick up conversations on pause. At last, one yellow cab veered toward me and in I crawled, directing the car toward the Upper East Side. At first, we began the kind of banter between strangers- talk of the weather, then talk of good food, and finally, questions about what a Californian was doing in New York. As the driver heard about the book tour adventure I had begun, our conversation turned to tea and cooking.

We agreed that he could easily make tea-infused yogurt. We agreed that if he took Lex all the way to Park, he could make it to the bookstore where I still thrill at the idea of asking for my book by name, and the delight of surprise when they hear I’m the author. I feel like a flower delivery girl in the guise of a tinkering tea cook because they smile. They congratulate me. I feel like we are complicit in some delicious enterprise of book-making and book-selling. I ask them if I can take their photograph and most of the time they comply with wide grins and Instagram handles at the ready.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the efficient way to descend on the stores I had scrawled on a piece of hotel paper, all polka-dotted up and down the east and west sides of Manhattan would be best done in a car. I had mapped out my route and described the opportunity to the driver, Mike. We struck a deal and set off to the next bookstore. Between bookstores, we began painting between the lines. He had arrived from Poland at the age of 19 to attend college and graduate. All of his family, except for an aunt in Jersey, were still in Poland. He never saw the temporary job of cab driving lasting as long as it had. He had decided to give up bread and pizza for a month to try and adopt better eating habits. We talked about piroshki and namely my friend Casey’s book that is coming out with unbridled pierogi love for him to check out once he emerges from his no carb-cocoon. We rattled on about the Scottish parade and the sea of kilts that had foisted us from Bryant Square Park. He asked about cooking with tea. He detailed the kind of tea he likes to drink (Brisk. Black. No sugar. No milk.) and he laughed with me when I described a madcap excursion on our route for me to finally nab one of the Matcha Cortados that have been making me swoon on Instagram. He handed me a $20 outside of Chalait and told me to pick a tea for him. Out I came with two bright green drinks. I may have sidled up to the bar and sipped the cortado while waiting for the iced matcha lattes. When in the West Village…

Back in the cab, we sucked down our green tea lattes and he declared that it was good. As the end of our voyage approached, we discussed a pick-up time to dispatch me with my five bags of groceries and suitcase of books to SoHo for a private cooking with tea class.

Here’s what still sits with me in the quiet room of my heart where I wrap cherished things in cream-colored tissue. Mike sent a friend to Eataly to buy my book the evening that we met. The next day, I signed it to his cousin and her fiancé. On the way to JFK while the sky was still dark and the pigeons slept, he told me he had decided to try and get a different job, one that employed his degree in public health. He said he had been driving the cab for too long and hearing my story inspired him to make some changes he had been putting off. And, as the cab pulled up to the airport’s curb, he told me he might have to get a matcha latte later that day.