A Big Night in the Big Apple
Not to sound too provincial, but when something really big and exciting happens to you in New York, the significance and excitement seem magnified by a thousand. On Monday night, my book, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, won big: an award for the Best American/Regional Cookbook from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. It was the full New York experience: sitting in the beautiful Times Center theater, seeing the book’s cover projected on the screen above the stage, then hearing my name and going down to make my acceptance speech before a lot of people I have admired for years. It was thrilling and amazing.
There are those moments in life—maybe your wedding, your graduation, finishing a marathon (not that I’d know)—when you have to just stop what you’re doing, take it all in, and know that you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. Standing at the corner of 41st and 5th that night, looking across at the New York Public Library amidst all the noise and brightness of people and taxis and skyscrapers, I felt like I could’ve stepped off the ground and flown right up to the rooftops. I’m so glad I got to toast the night with my husband, Scott, my agent Joy Tutela, and my friend Adeena Sussman, who helped me with recipes and advice and is an amazing food writer and stylist in her own right and has done stories for Yankee over the years.
I managed to remember most of my thank-yous in my acceptance speech (including a spontaneous declaration of love for my editor, Maria Guarnaschelli), though I forgot to thank the IACP judges, who are all volunteers and do the work as a labor of love.
This book was definitely a labor of love, too, in that I loved every minute of working on it. Also in that it probably won’t make me rich. But it has given me back more than I could have possibly understood at the outset. It brought me into a community of apple lovers, readers, cooks, farmers, cider makers, authors, and editors. And it gave me one magical, magical night in New York.
Here’s another thing I love about New York: how good it feels to depart and come home to New England. The Big Apple might be the center of all that’s fast and shiny and exciting, but when it comes to being at peace and at home, I’m exactly where I want to be.