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November 10, 2008

Field Guide to Cookies - The Blog Tour!


In about a week and a half, Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable will be officially released. I know I've mentioned that it's already begun showing up in bookstores, but just like people have birthdays, so should books! So we're sticking to the November 19th date, and I'm so excited to see the culmination of a year-long project!

I took a look back at what I wrote about Dessert First when I began it, over two years ago. In one paragraph I had written,

"I had started Dessert First as a way to combine several of my interests: baking, photography, and writing. Now it had become a springboard for me to share with world how I feel about the beauty and joy of food."

At the beginning, when I was still figuring my way about the Internet and the myriad mysteries of blogging, when all I ever intended was to document all the things I'd made in the kitchen so I wouldn't forget what I'd done, I never dreamed of how far Dessert First would take me, all the wonderful people around the world I'd meet, and all the opportunities it would afford me. I believe that right around when I started blogging, was when the first, trailblazing wave of food bloggers like Clotilde and Pim, Heidi and Molly, were starting to make the great leap from blogging as a hobby to food as a career, and to me their successes seemed a faraway, amazing goal that I might one day be able to aspire to myself. That I managed to land a cookbook of my very own in just two short years is something I still pinch myself about daily.


This has been an astonishing learning experience for me, and not the least lesson I've learned is that if you really love what you do and you keep at it, good things will come to you. It may take a lot of hard work, but anyone who has the dedication and energy to create and run a blog, I believe already possesses the qualities to be successful in many other endeavors. I learned so much doing this book, but I also realized that in many ways writing Dessert First was great practice for "the real thing": I knew what it was like to produce creative output on a regular basis; I knew about testing and writing recipes in a clear fashion; I knew about styling and photographing food attractively; I knew about working online with people I may have never met in person, corresponding and collaborating with others towards a common goal. Blogs are really such a great thing; I'm sure that's just repeating the obvious to all you other bloggers reading this, but I hope you all realize as well what a powerful platform it can be, both for yourself and for your life goals. I'm so happy that I started Dessert First, not because it helped me get a book deal, but because it also helped me improve myself in so many ways.


So! There's so much to share about Field Guide to Cookies, but I thought instead of having me just blab on about it, it would be much more fun to hear what other voices have to say about it. To that end, I've organized the official Field Guide to Cookies Blog Tour, starting tomorrow, Nov. 11th, and running through November 21th.

I enlisted nine of my favorite baking bloggers to review my cookbook and give their thoughts on it. These are some of my best friends in the blogosphere, as well as the creators of some of the loveliest and most accomplished blogs out there, and I'm very, very grateful and excited that they all agreed to do this!

Here's the schedule:

Nov. 11th - Jen of use real butter

Nov. 12th - Ari of Baking and Books

Nov. 13th - Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy

Nov. 14th - Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice

Nov. 17th - Helen of Tartelette

Nov. 18th - Veronica of Veronica's Test Kitchen

Nov. 19th - Aran of Cannelle et Vanille

Nov. 20th - Bea of La Tartine Gourmande

Nov. 21st - Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Isn't it exciting? So many gorgeous blogs with talented bakers to visit. I can't wait for tomorrow!


I'd like to also take this chance to thank some of the many people who helped me on this book: Mindy, my publisher at Quirk Books who gave me the chance to write this cookbook; Margaret, my editor who tirelessly worked with a nervous first-time author to perfect the manuscript; Caroline, my pastry chef, who lent me invaluable advice and was an expert recipe tester - she's the most generous person I know, inside the kitchen and out; Robyn, my pastry school classmate and fellow co-worker who also contributed her time, kitchen, and encouragement to the book; Renee, who did double duty as a recipe tester and as my guide to the wild world of publishing; and Monica, who tested recipes and was also my fab hostess in New York when I traveled there.

The full acknowledgements are in the back of the book - I don't want to drag out this post by reproducing the whole thing, but I did also want to mention Mike, my super fantabulous boyfriend who probably didn't realize when I took on the book that he had agreed to long nights with me hunched over the computer, or cookie dough all over the kitchen, or panic attacks when I didn't think I could finish. He never, ever complained, and supported me unwaveringly throughout the whole journey. I love my boyfriend!

Also, I want to thank Mary Risley, owner of Tante Marie's Cooking School, where I did the professional pastry program. Mary generously agreed to host my book release party this Saturday, Nov. 15th. The current class of pastry students will be making cookies from my book, and we'll be having a little celebration!


I really wish I could have all of you faithful readers come, and what I'd like to do is extend an invitation to the book release party to the first 10 people who respond. Simply leave a comment to this post saying you'd like to attend; the first 10 people to do so will be added to the guest list. This party is in San Francisco this Saturday, so be sure you can make it to the city!

For those who can't make it, don't despair: I'll be having a giveaway of my book later during the blog tour. I also hope you can visit all the blog tour hosts and get a bigger taste of Field Guide to Cookies!

Please be on the lookout for book at all major booksellers, or you can order online. Thanks so much again for all your love and support. I'll see you all tomorrow at Jen's use real butter!



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Hi Anita,

I would love to be able to attend your book release party! I don't know if you remember me but I emailed you a while ago regarding making macarons. Depending on what time your party is at, I may need to switch my schedule around but I definitely will try my best to attend!


This is so exciting Anita! And thanks for enlisting me. It was a pleasure!

Anita: I am so so happy for you! When I see the book, I am going to buy one for Emily L. for Christmas. As all good chefs, she collects cook books/pastry books, etc.
Have FUN during this very exciting time in your life. You've worked hard to achieve your dream, and now it's here! Best of everything.
P.S. If I lived on the west coast, I would put my name in for the party, however, I am an east coast girl.

Hi Anita,

Congratulations on your cookbook! I'm thrilled for you. Your talent and dedication always come through in your writing and photography, so I can't wait to see the finished work. If there's space, I'd love to attend your cookbook release party.

Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

i just got your cookbook from amazon last week! there is sooo much's obvious how hard you worked on it. i would love to go to the book release party.

I wish I was going to be in SF so I could attend your party. Sounds like a ton of fun. I am beyond thrilled for you Anita! I know you have worked very hard on this book. I am excited for the tour and release! Best wishes!

I can't wait for my turn to host your book. And if I was in San Fran I would so have loved to go to your book release party!

Congratulations on your book!!!! It really looks great - I'm excited to try the recipes!

Very exciting! I plan to write about your book closer to Christmas. Good luck with your launch.

Hi Anita,

I've been reading your blog for awhile and am "de-lurking" to say, "congratulations!" I cannot imagine that excitement you're feeling about having your book released. Congrats! I look forward to taking a look at it! :-D


P.S. In case I'm one of the first ten commenter, I, unfortunately, cannot possibly be in SF this weekend, so please don't count me amongst your ten--I just wanted to say "hi" and "congrats." :-)


You've included ANZAC bikkies!!!!

*falling on the floor in excitement*

This is the first time I've seen them in a non-Aussie cookbook!!

Do you deal much with decorating sugar bikkies?

Your writing, musings on life, and baking experiences have always inspired me. I'm so happy for you and to hear how far "Dessert First" has brought you. How I wish I could come to the book release party and see the wonderful cookies and celebrate your success. Hope it'll be lots of fun! :D

Congrats on the cookie book. It's a huge achievement! I hope you celebrate with a big, delicious batch of cookies -- that you get to enjoy this time without having to bake them yourself. You deserve to be treated this time around. ;)

Anita, this is so exciting! Congratulations, it looks great. Love the idea of the blog-tour, can't wait!

anita, i'm excited to hear such good news! you finally have your own book to brag about, i really admire your baking and pastry skills so it's now wonder you're famous :D

I still can't believe I got my book like... it feels like months ago. I really think it was September??

Congrats again - hopefully I can tell you in person on Saturday! I will try my hardest to make it...hopefully our "puppy photo-shoot" in the morning doesn't go too long!

And we start! Yay! It is so very amazing where little old food blogs can take you, eh?
So very excited for you Anita and I can't wait to round out the tour!
p.s. Have a super great time at your release party!

How exciting! I'm sure you're going to have lots of fun!

Cheers and all the best with the release,


Can't wait to read all of the reviews!

Anita I'm so happy for you! I think the blog tour idea is awesome! I'll sure check the hosts out!

What a great idea! I'm looking forward to reading more about it :)

Anita: There is something on my blog for you. I don't expect you to carry through with it; I know how busy you are. However, if you get a chance, I'd like for you to pop in to see it. I also plugged your book! :)

I forgot to mention my blog is

so excited for you!! enjoy every moment!


I'm beyond happy for you! No one deserves it more! And after having seen your lovely book, I can't commend you enough for the incredible job you did. Well done, my friend!

I'm so glad to be a part of this! I think everyone will really enjoy the tour as much as they will the book! :)

Big congrats on the book launch, how thrilling and satisfying it must all be. Can't wait to see the book real soon... when is the book tour coming to Switzerland ?? :)

I could not agree more with you - following your passions, doing what you love and - hopefully - good things will happen. They certainly are for you, how fabulous! I'm doing the same, following my passions on my new food/travel blog too, would love to know what you think:

Good luck and have fun this weekend !!

Hi Anita, Congratulations on the release of your first book. I wish you great success!

congratulations anita!! i did just receive my copy and it's fantastic :) it was my pleasure being your hostess and i'm so glad that we got to hang out together. thank you so much for the opportunity and for the wonderful acknowledgements! have a blast on your blog tour and book party!!


I hope I can find this book around here. Congratulations!

Congrats Anita! The book looks fantastic and I look forward to finding it in my local bookstore soon!

You deserve all of this success!

That's awesome--congrats!

I'm very excited and happy for you!!

Congratulations, Anita!

Congratulations! It looks like a great book...I hope it makes it to my shores :) I'll be first in line to buy it :)

I'm so , so happy for you!!!! What an exciting month this is for you. I simply cannot wait to check out the cookbook! Congratulations :)

Oh, Anita, this is so exciting! I couldn't be happier for you. And thanks for being such an inspiration.

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