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“At Long Last, It’s Time”

It seems impossible that I’m finally writing this. But I am.

Two years ago I set out on a personal odyssey. I had grown up in the country where I fished and foraged, and used my hands, but now night after night in the corporate world, sitting blurry-eyed, scrutinizing excel spreadsheets and watching the cafeteria cart roll by, I was craving what was real and lasting versus what was fake and manufactured. I wanted to get back to the land.

I dove head first into culinary school and then worked in farm to table restaurants. But as I continued to work in fast paced New York kitchens, something still seemed utterly wrong.

So I went to France.

The pace of rural life in the south of France was an exercise in extreme patience for someone who had the current of New York City coursing through her veins. I lived in a run-down house crowded with frogs and cobwebs set back into a deep field along the Rhône river. I slept under a tablecloth I took from the restaurant and woke to the sulfur smell of the marsh every morning, a particular Camargue charm that I never did get used to. My head spun with French words, the French language a thousand little dots in my head, which connected at random moments, while rolling out pasta dough or pulling heads off sardines.

As I worked in all of these restaurants I found that I was much more interested in the people who came to the kitchens to drop off their goods, than I was peeling and deseeding grapes with a paper clip. I often befriended these people and when I had a free day, would visit them at their olive oil vineyards, or in their farm that housed 160 varieties of figs, or in the woods where they foraged.

And it all got me to wondering…

What would it be like?

…to drop everything, step off the grid and spend your days churning clotted cream butter?

…to trade a cubicle for a flock of sheep and play midwife to 300 lambs every spring?

…to give up your job as a high powered attorney and start a chocolate company in Africa?

While I was in cooking in France, I’d often sit in the the garden with the old gardener Emmanuel and his three-legged cat. He taught me about unusual herbs and all their attributes and the potency of greens from dry heat and lack of rain. He taught me to stop and smell the rosemary and murmured une américaine avec le courage, as he watched me discover my love for driving heavy farm equipment.

One day I sat under a quince tree with my laptop and wrote this idea that had been lingering in my head… what if I told the stories of these people I’d met along the way? Maybe other people would find them inspiring too?

And so, somehow, a few emails later, I found myself in a phone booth in a tiny village in Provence surrounded by screaming Middle Eastern men in the midst of their card game, talking to a literary agent in New York.

And this is the result:

Along the way I learned a few things, namely that book writing is not for the faint of heart. It is a long, slow marathon, that requires lots of water and orange wedges.

These are some of my friends, who you will meet in the book. They live in very different parts of the world:

And I hope you will read about them. Not just for me, but because their stories deserve to be heard.

They are a quietly carrying the torch of a philosophy that is worth aspiring to. It is filled with their stories, their wisdom and their recipes. And their photographs too. And to see extra video footage and photographs that didn’t make it into the book, there’s a place on my site called For Readers Only where you can come back for more.

And finally, here is the answer to the question I’ve been getting a lot lately.

Q: When should I buy the book?

A: It’s time!

It is available for pre-order wherever books are sold, including these fine places:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, IndieBound

Thank you for all of your support this year. I’ll be embarking on a book tour next week, and I hope you’ll stop in to say hello so I can thank you in person!

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Comments

  1. AWESOME!! This is so exciting! I'll be purchasing your book! :-)

  2. I LOVE that you did this!! Can't wait to read your book. :-)

  3. It's a book I'd love to write–and now I don't have to! Thank you for doing the long, hard work. I can't wait to read every page!

  4. Great news, so happy to have found you :) I spent six months abroad in Aix-en-Provence, so I am very excited to read about the stories you have collected. Congratulations again on your book!

  5. This looks like the kind of book I will cherish reading in the sunshine with a plate of cheese and apples by my side.
    Congratulations

  6. Georgia, how wonderful. Congratulations! I can't wait to read your book. I hope your book tour comes through Sacramento, CA. :)

  7. Yea!!! Can't wait to read it from front to back.

  8. Will you have books available for sale on your book tour? I'd like to go to one of your Seattle stops, but I'm not sure whether I'd get a preordered book in time to have you sign it!

  9. Ugh! Could your book tour schedule be any closer time mine and not have a date that I can make! I will have to content myself with waiting for the arrival of Food Heroes in the mail. I am fascinated by your story as elements of it reflect my journey, as well as a few people I know.

  10. So beautiful! I didn't know you had just embarked on your food career two years ago; you have done so much in such a short time!

  11. Bill Gray says:

    Yes Georgia, you've crammed a lot of life into the past several years. Curiosity, Discernment, Perseverance, tenacity, courage, and love are a few of the words that come to mind. Like all of your family members, your great-grandfather George must be grinning from ear-to-ear with pride!

  12. What a beautiful introduction to what I am sure is to be a beautiful book. Thank you for taking us along on your journey. It's a dream, but one I realize took extreme devotion and dedication. Bless you for telling the stories of these unsung heroes and for telling your own story along the way.

  13. Congratulations! I put this on my Christmas wish list. :)

  14. A thousand times 'Congratulations!' You are such an inspiration and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

  15. I am late to the party. Next visit to the local bookstore I’ll be picking this treasure out for sure.
    P.S. I don’t even cook anymore but find this an interesting read.

  16. Georgia says:

    Thanks Linda : ) You can have it mailed to me if you order it from Amazon and I’m happy to sign and send it to you.