So it’s been a few months now that my seasonal cookbook has been in your hands. And I have finally had time to reflect on how I feel about the whole process. What I loved, hated, struggled with and enjoyed most.
Finishing Grow to Gather feels surreal. Like something someone tells you one day as a child ” Someday you will write a book” or ” Someday you will become a doctor” or “Someday you will run a business” … Ha. And now I have ! (written a book that is )
Some days I am in full swing, in the garden with my vegetables, in my kitchen cooking, or talking about my books to new faces. Other days I am standing my kitchen mixing up a batch of one of my concoctions when it “clicks” that I already wrote all of this information down in my book and I don’t always need to cook from memory! Yes, my cookbook sits on my kitchen windowsill and I use it weekly, and yes, sometimes I still forget that it is there !
When I think back to last summer and the amount of food I was harvesting, purchasing and cooking from May through November, I am not sure how I did it. It was busy, but I was so motivated, and I am really happy that I finally found what I love to do the most. And that it has all be documented in one place. And that it sits in your kitchens and on your coffee tables. And that I see it when I come over to visit. It’s like a dream!
Here are a few kind words that I have received over the last few months as feedback about Grow to Gather. Thank you Friends ……
” Oh my gosh, the book turned out so BEAUTIFULLY! The pictures and recipes look incredible and I love that the recipes don’t have an overwhelming amount of ingredients. I feel like I could make a few of these with the things I have on hand in quarantine. My flatmate Katrin and I were just paging through it and she already said she wants to try a few of the recipes while I’m in the US (and the lip balm). So excited to test these out. Just reading the About You section. So inspiring. I can’t believe I know you in real life. ” – Sophia M.
” Dear Andrea, Loric brought me your book yesterday and as I’m perusing it, I keep thinking “oh this looks delicious”, “I’ll definitely try that” … Thank you so much for all the tips and for sharing this great approach to nature/life. – Vanina
” Andrea… I have your book on my knees and I’m just …amazed 😳 it’s EVERYTHING! I love and I feel that I traveled in the best places since I’m reading it. I already know it’s gonna be soooo much more than a recipe book. Thank you so much 💌 ” – Marie V.
” Fiete and I are about to have a look through your book and be amazed how talented you are! Even just the cover is gorgeous and makes you want to read it 😍 I have goosebumps after reading your ‘About Andrea’ part! I’m dumbfounded that you did this all within a year! You’re incredible! My boyfriend also loves the book. You go girl ❤️ ” – Shannon
” I just wanted to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS for your cookbook!!! I got my copy thanks to Annabelle and I’m so impressed by how it turned out! it’s BEAUTIFUL … and so much more than a cook book :) I very much enjoyed reading through the first sections, find the little helper and fruits/vegs in season cards super useful (and pretty), I love the beautiful/poetic pictures and the serene pleasure of just browsing through the book – it even smells good!!! Can’t wait to try the recipes now :) Thanks and again congrats for this beautiful piece of work ❤️ – Floriana
” Andrea, I read your book this morning, while the sun is here in the kitchen. I wanted to say again , Bravo, you did an wonderful book, with so many great informations to keep forever. You are an inspiration for me as well. Thank you, and bravo again! – Aurore
” Liebe Andrea, ich habe ganz vergessen mich zu melden, wie super gut uns dein Buch gefällt. Es ist eine rundum überzeugende Arbeit geworden, wir gratulieren! Litho, Druck, Verarbeitung, toll. Zu Text und Rezepten kann ich noch nix sagen, das erschließen wir uns jetzt nach und nach, sind schon gespannt. Wir freuen uns mit Dir! ” – Tilman & Silvie
” Now I am crying in my kitchen with your wonder book in my hands! Andrea I am so proud of you and your work! Probably amplified by the fact that we followed the birth of the project until his “birth”. I am very touched by being mentioned, especially for caramel 😘 Ce livre dégage tout tes talents Andréa! Merci!!!!!!! ” – Camille
Below is a list of some of the things I learned along the way. I hope I am able to keep this knowledge for future projects and am able to pass along any of it to those of you who may wish to do the same ….
- People are not as interested in what your dish looks like, but rather how it tastes. Except for when its time to photograph it. You do eat with your eyes as well as with your stomach! A good balance is necessary.
- It’s hard to photograph a meal in detail if you are hungry to eat the meal. Therefore, always make sure not to start cooking while hungry. Eat a portion first, or have a snack before you start.
- It takes longer to chop, prepare, and cook the meal, than it does to photograph or to eat it. Always! And the more people you are serving, the faster it goes!
- If you are passionate about the dish, and put love and time into it, this will not only shine through in the image you take, but also in the taste.
- If you ask for help, you will receive it ! This was a huge one for me this past year. And I am forever grateful for all this help that I have received. You know who you are. Thanks again for trusting in me.
- Sometimes you will need to cook in the evening in order to eat warm in the evening ( or with friends ), and photographing during this time is difficult, but manageable. A lot of my shots have been photographed in low light situations. The images are perfectly studio sharp, but the mood and lighting make it all that much better because of it.
- I am poor at spelling, but good at writing. And I do not think this will ever change! We still found 3 large Typos in the final printed copy of Grow to Gather, and I realized that this is okay. No one is perfect ! ( ENERGY BALLS, PUMPKIN PIE, and a few others )
- I can FINALLY type without looking at the keyboard the whole time ( This took me 20 years to learn, but I can finally do it ! )
- I also learned not to stress if I messed something up. Whether it was the dish, the photo, the recipe or all 3! Sometimes I just sat on my living room floor and ate it and enjoyed the meal I was lucky enough to have in-front of me.
- Ask for feedback all the time ! Us artists need this. Otherwise we have no idea what our clients, friends, family and world will think of our work ! I did this constantly and it helped me to keep moving forward.
- Whatever leftovers you have can be frozen or gifted to others. This is great advertising for your recipes ! I did this all year, and continue to do so. And now I even hint that the recipe can be found in my hard cover and e-book ! I am not so strong with marketing, so this helps with that.
- Don’t forget to taste what you cook! I once used baking soda instead icing sugar. It didn’t have the results or taste I was looking to achieve. I learned to taste my dishes very fast.
- The Lightroom catalogue that lives on my computer contains almost 5000 images from 78 different days of shooting. There are only about 150 final images in the book, and this is okay. You will take a lot lot more that you end up needing.
- Sometimes things don’t need to be perfect, but rather just done ! A few of the recipes seemed to linger on my list for months before I found the motivation to photograph them. I am not sure of the reason for this. But eventually, after being well rested, I jumped the hurdle to finish them with motivational music playing loudly and the end in site !
So this is for all of you that are struggling. Struggling to chase your dreams. To start a project on your bucket list. Or whatever else it may be! Pushing yourself toward something that you want to achieve is the only way to learn, grow and meet your goals. Do you want to travel more? Retire early ? Plant a garden ? Own a pet ? Buy a house ? I truly believe it is all possible, and that we can all do what we wish if we really set our minds to it and work hard.
Below are some behind the scenes images from all my adventures and mishaps during Grow to Gather and it’s progress throughout 2020 and 2021. All taken with my Huawei P6 Smartphone Camera ( and are not found in Grow to Gather’s Hard or Digital Copy )
Take Care Friends keep spreading the love !