Friday, June 19, 2015

Unforgettable: Bold Flavors from a Renegade Life

I'm a big fan of Paula Wolfert. She has an amazing talent for a kind of culinary cultural anthropology, exploring various cuisines, digging in deep, learning and documenting recipes like nobody's business. I have relished my time with her, especially at her home in Sonoma and subsequently in a class. I love hearing her stories, getting her career advice, not to mention having her cook for me. So I couldn't be more excited to learn of the plan to document her extraordinary life, along with some of her most important recipes. Leading the charge is former Food & Wine editor and cookbook author, Emily Thelin. The top team also includes photographer Eric Wolfinger and my friend, Andrea Nguyen who is acting as project manager.

I was planning to run this interview with Andrea in hopes of encouraging you to support the project and help it to meet its goal. Fortunately the initial goal has been reached. Now it's time to s-t-r-e-t-c-h and make this project even more special by lending your support to help reach the next milestone. Visit the kickstarter page to learn more. 

1. How did this project come about?
Andrea Nguyen: Last year, my friend Emily Thelin (formerly of Food & Wine) told me she wanted to write Paula’s biographical cookbook, and that Eric Wolfinger had offered to be the photographer. Eric had also suggested that they publish it themselves as an experimental project, true to Paula's renegade spirit. Emily told me she saw parallels between Paula's and my immersive approaches to our books. Given my experience writing and publishing four cookbooks, she asked if I would help.

2. Who is publishing the book? 
AN: We’re self-publishing Unforgettable. 

3. Why did you decide to go the kickstarter route?
AN:Crowdfunding this project allows us to do meaningful, small-batch cookbook publishing. It has its challenges but it hasn't been as hard as we thought. We're lucky to be pros in our respective areas and plucky enough to get this going. Knowing people like you is invaluable.

4. What is the process for the book? Are you cooking all the recipes with Paula? 

AN: Incredibly, we’ve met our minimum funding goal. If we’re lucky to reach our stretch goal of $80,000 we’ll be able to double the print run and comfortably cover costs. From now until July 11 when the campaign ends, it’s full tilt boogie to garner community backing for Unforgettable.

Paula wrote nine cookbooks and as you can imagine, can come up with a recipe off the top of her head. A group of folks familiar with Paula’s work will work through roughly 100 select recipes to find ones that are most suitable for the book. Vivid, doable, compelling recipes that speak to Paula’s life journey are what we’re aiming for.

Once we’ve got our short list, we’ll cook through many of them with Paula at her home. Those sessions will enable us to convey the connection between food and memory, the savors of life.

Right now, with the campaign just having been launched, we’re focused on making it super successful. With everybody’s support, we’ll cross the finish line with the ability to make a stellar publication.

5. Paula has greatly changed her own personal diet since her diagnosis, how many recipes will reflect this? 
AN: Many of them will but not all of them. It’s hard to pin point a number because making a book is a fluid process. We do want to incorporate recipes, ideas and techniques that speak to Paula’s current lifestyle. She has ironically been ahead of the curve for most of her life. This time, she has a few companions with her.

Thanks Andrea!

Now please do watch the video above if you haven't already, and head to the kickstarter page to support this project (yes, there are thank you gifts!)