Everything is bigger in America: the portions, the horizons, the distances; especially the distances. For America The Great Cookbook my co-creator Tim Harper and I clocked up over 10,000 miles behind the wheel (and only one speeding ticket) as well as 25 flights, three trains, countless subways, ubers and lyfts as we made our way across the United States of America to photograph over 100 of the country’s best loved chefs, cooks and food heroes.Our New Zealand accents changed and our belts settled on new notches as our fabulous contributors shared with us the food they cooked for the people they love. Pork loin sandwiches on teeny tiny buns, pumpkin cake doughnuts with cider glaze, matcha tea snickerdoodles, cherry pork pate, mofongo with shrimp and lemongrass stock. I always vowed I’d only have a small taste after photographing the dish, but my self control is terrible when the food and company are so good.I’m often asked what my favourite food was from the trip. It’s impossible to pick one. Turns out wherever you are welcomed is where the best food is. Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton of Canal House put it more eloquently: “At the end of the day, hospitality is about connection.” So on this day of Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to all the awesome contributors who shared their food, stories and hospitality to made this book possible.
Also, thanks to my co-creator, creative director and videographer Tim Harper for putting up with me and my country music playlist; Ruth Hobday and Geoff Blackwell for trusting us to tackle the project; Joe Yonan – editor extroadaniare; Kara Elder – producer and editor’s assistant; the team at Blackwell & Ruth – Leanne McGregor, Helene Dehmer, Ben Harris; and the team at Weldon Owen – Amy Kaneko, Emma Rudolph, Amy Marr, Kelly Booth, Roger Shaw, Cathy Hebert, Jamie Antoniou.
Despite how it looks on social media, being on the road for 100 days straight is no junket. So my biggest shoutout goes to all the generous friends who hosted us as we passed through their towns making sure we had a place to rest in the whirlwind of production. To those friends who shared their homes and their towns, I’m incredibly grateful and so touched by your effortless hospitality, thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll. Feast well! xo