October 16, 2012

For most of my adult life, I have collected cookbooks. Old ones, new ones, anything that had beautiful photos, or stellar writing, or covered a subject I wanted to learn about – they all snuggle up next to one another on my bookshelves, stack up on my desk and clutter my nightstand.

In my dreams. In my imagination. In my secret world, there was a cookbook up there with my name on it.

I have news. Big news. Happy news.

I’m writing a book. That’s right. Me. A book. Me and a book. Me, writing a book. Seriously. I still can’t quite believe it.

And the best news of all? I’ve got a star studded team to help me.

My literary agent, Martha Kaplan, has been my supporter and enthusiastic, encouraging voice for the last year as I wrote the book proposal. She never failed to tell me when I had gone off track, or when I was on the right one. This never would have happened without her unflagging belief in me. After all, what did I know about writing a book? Fortunately, I knew something about getting the right person to help me figure it all out. The bonus? Martha knows the best little restaurants in New York.

The publisher is W.W. Norton. Just take a look at your cookbook shelf and you’ll see why I’m so delighted. They make some seriously beautiful books. They have been warm, welcoming, and I already feel like part of the Norton family.

My editor is Maria Guarnaschelli who just may be the smartest woman I’ve ever met (and if you knew my mother, you know that’s saying something.)

Here are a few of the books Maria has worked on … The Joy of Cooking. The Cake Bible. My Bread. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Charcuterie.

Seriously, Maria is legendary. She works with only a couple of authors each year and – pinch me! – one of them is me. (She’s also working with my friend, the amazing baker Stella Parks aka The Brave Tart, so I have a book-writing sister wife, which is almost as wonderful as having a book deal.)

Melanie Tortoroli, Associate Editor, has already endeared herself to me. After all, she started canning this summer. I have a feeling I’m going to have Melanie on speed dial.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry is scheduled to be published late in 2014. There will be recipes for all sorts of canning, even pressure canning, but also smoking, curing, brining, cheesemaking, fermenting, dehydrating and freezing. Everything I can think of to fill up your pantry, and then all sorts of recipes for using what you’ve stashed. Expect plenty of encouraging words, helpful methods, tips and tricks. But most of all, I’m going to make all of these preservation techniques as angst-free as possible.

I’m completely, totally over the moon and so, so happy to finally be able to tell you all. It’s taken months to get to this place, and it will be another year of writing, recipe testing, and editing before I can breathe again. But soon, very soon, there will be a book on the shelf with my name on the spine.

72 Responses to “the practical pantry”

  1. Teruska

    This is, indeed, good news. I look forward to holding a copy in my hot little hands. My cookbook collection looks forward to a new friend.

  2. Rene

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment, just getting to this point. Best of luck to you!

  3. Jenny

    I have been saying for the longest time – I wish Cathy had a cookbook – a few months ago I sent Janis a private message – “Is Cathy writing a cookbook?” I am so happy to hear this – and Maria G – wow! I have heard Alex talk about her cookbook editing mother! Best news ever!

  4. Tammy Gordon

    Cathy! I’m so excited the deal is done. Remember, I’m just up the road if you need a guinea pig taste tester… or just someone to hang out in your kitchen with wine and dogs as you work.

    Can’t wait to see your smiling face on the book jacket and celebrate!

  5. Phyllis Bregman

    So, so happy for you Cathy. This is truly wonderful news, and with you and your team, I’m sure it will be a huge hit. Congratulations!!

  6. Kate Hill

    BRAVA! What great news to announce so we can all take a brief pause and shout HURRAH for YOU before you dig in and disappear into the writer’s hole. Thank fully that hole as a portal called Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen! can’t wait to toast you in Champagne… in Chicago.

  7. Maggie Green

    Congrats, Cathy! This is a book I look forward to buying. You deserve this and have worked very hard to get to this point. Try to enjoy the process!

  8. Matt

    Fantastic news. I can’t wait til it has a hallowed spot on my shelves. Splatterings on pages with all my favorite recipes.

  9. Gillian

    As one of your many students I am looking forward to learning even more from you and not having to search for the dog-eared, jam-smeared print out for your recipe, but a dog-eared jam-smeared book! I’d be honored to be a recipe tester if you need one!

  10. G. Price

    Such great news. Of course your writing a cookbook, we have all been
    wishing you would.
    Can not wait to see it. Thank you for your website, my husband found
    it last year and since then I have been a big fan.

  11. BellingtonFarm

    I know you are thrilled with the prospect of working with such a fab team! The book will be an outstanding success and source of pride and joy for you and your readers!!! Congrats! Can’t wait to see you at a book signing!!!

  12. Dennis aka Mr.Wheelbarrow

    Good thing I just bought a hand held steam cleaner for the kitchen.

  13. Jennifer Hess

    We are beyond thrilled for you – truly! You have been an inspiration for years now, and I can’t wait to add your book to our collection. Some kids grow up with Julia or “Joy” – Julian’s going to grow up with Mrs. Wheelbarrow!

  14. Catherine Jordan

    So what we really need to know is when we can pre-order it on Amazon 🙂

    Congratulations, Cathy. A well-deserved honor.

    PS – If you need any help testing – or tasting! – those recipes, you know who to call!

  15. Nywoman

    How totally wonderful for you. Am so very pleased. I met Maria G last week she is working with my friend Maureen Fant on her book, due out next year. Lovely woman you are in great hands.

  16. Elyse Tager

    Woot woot!!! Cathy I am so thrilled for you. You have enriched my food world SO much over the past few years. I can’t wait to see it. Xoxox.

  17. Pam Bianco

    That is so exciting!! I already turn to you for cooking advice, so it’ll be so natural to have your cookbook by my side! Woo hoo!!!

  18. Stephanie Zarpas

    Congratulations, Cathy! Thrilling news, indeed! The first few paragraphs of your post are so charming, especially read aloud as I just did to my husband. Your excitement is infectious — and what a team you have behind you! I look forward to putting your book in a place of pride in my cookbook collection. “Home girl makes the big-time!”

  19. Tammy Kimbler

    Congrats Cathy! That is wonderful news. I know how challenging just writing a blog is so hats off to you for taking the book plunge! And I can’t wait to ready it and make more of your fabulous recipes.

  20. Malou | Skip to Malou

    you are an inspiration. although i may not be as up there as you are, in my secret world, I too aspire to have a book with my name on it.
    congratulations. I came here more than a year ago when i rode the charcutepalooza wagon, and yes more than a year later, i come back to read the good news. I am thrilled for you… CONGRATULATIONS!

  21. Maria Raynal

    This is just the best news. It’s going to be a beautiful, inspiring book and I can’t wait to cook from it. This couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more giving person. : )

  22. Jessica

    Congratulations!! I’m so excited for you. I’m looking forward to cooking from it once it’s out!

    All the best,

  23. sandhya@vegetarianirvana

    Congratulations, Cathy. I’ve followed you from Food 52 and have admired your commitment. A book such as the one you have described is very much in need and glad you are filling the void.

  24. Tara

    This is incredibly exciting! I cured along with Charcutepalooza last year, and at the top of the pile of what I most loved about the experience were your inspirational, explanatory posts. Thank you, and congratulations. I can’t wait to buy your book.

  25. Karen Rush

    Simply marvellous. You must print out this post and frame it – so infectious, brimming with joy, pride and anticipation. We all will miss you through the next year as you disappear to produce this amazing work but we know something magical will be happening at your place and that, in the end, we will all share the end product. It will be the amazing gift.

  26. merry jennifer

    This is the best news I’ve heard all week! I’m so proud of you, Cathy. I know you’ve been working hard on this, and I’m thrilled that you’re getting the payoffs that you deserve. The book will be amazing.

  27. Cathy

    Wow. I am overwhelmed by all your sweet sweet words of encouragement. There might have been some tears. Love you all.

  28. Patti

    Just when I was trying to control my book buying. I will definitely need to own a copy of the Practical Pantry.

  29. Catherine

    Congratulations! Why am I not surprised? I expect your book will be full of beautiful photos, stellar writing and many subjects we will enjoy learning more about. Can’t wait to see it.

  30. Ann Mah

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to begin canning and know your book will offer steady guidance and tutelage. You’ll make canners out of us all, Mrs Wheelbarrow!

  31. Kandace

    Congratulations! I’ve loved reading your blog for the last two years and look forward to the book. You’ve worked hard and the best is yet to come!

  32. Sarah

    Such lovely & wonderful news! Congratulations! I cannot wait to see it — I am sure that it will be so beautiful. My pantry definitely needs the tools sure to be found in these pages. (And I am already secretly hoping to be invited to attend a local book party, because oh my gosh that would just be so exciting!)

    I have some of your recipes in front of me at this very minute, plotting what I am going to make for a friend’s party. And, of course, it’s almost high-candy season, as I call the holidays after attending your class. Salted caramels & peppermints for everyone!

  33. Magda

    Thrilled to hear this great news.
    I hope you’ll have some wonderful Mexican ingredients to add to your pantry after you come to Cocinar Mexicano in January.
    Congratulations…. Looking forward to seeing you again!

  34. Gail {a stack of dishes}

    Congratulations Cathy!!!

    I can’t wait to add it to my own shelves!

    Good luck with the process and I hope it’s fun fun fun!

  35. Samantha

    Such exciting news for you and for us too! Can’t wait to get a copy for my cookbook library. And I love that you’ll be focusing on the pantry- YES!! Congrats again!

  36. Lynda

    Yikes, I just discovered this post and your news, I mean, your fabulous news! Congratulations, Cathy. You deserve it!

  37. Diana

    I don’t think star-studded has ever been an understatement… until now. Wow! Have you ever got a dynamite team. Congratulations!

  38. Deborah Black

    I was wondering if you have a favorite pastry mat for rolling dough, especially necessary for your “slab pies”. I’ve always been frustrated by my inability to create beautiful pies with artistic edges. I think your Pies Squared might be just my ticket! btw, can meringue pies be made rectangularly?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Deb Black
    Milwaukee WI

    • Cathy Barrow

      Hi Deb, I don’t usually use a pastry mat. I like my stone counters to roll out the dough. If you don’t have stone counters, you can sometimes find remnant pieces at a stone yard or kitchen counter manufacturer that make a great extra “counter” for rolling. I’ve used the silicone rolling mats, and they’re nice if they aren’t rolled up tight and won’t lie flat. – Cathy



  1.  Links: Sauerkraut, Sesame Candy and Congee + Preservation Kitchen Winner - Food in Jars | Food in Jars

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