Ver Close to Done With Vegan Serendib

I’ve finished going through the photos on Vegan Serendib, and I’m actually fine with most of them — I’m going to re-make hoppers this morning and try to get a better photo, and I’m hoping Stephanie Bailey can find a better photo of rich cake in my files, because I don’t particularly want to make rich cake again right now (totally the wrong time of year, feels weird!), but we’re really very very close to done.

It’s looking so pretty. I love paging through. 🙂 I hope this makes lots of vegans very happy.

Just as Substantial

One of my priorities with Vegan Serendib is to make sure that it was as substantial a book as Feast — I didn’t want the vegan edition to be a lesser version. So it’s roughly the same number of total recipes, the same page count, etc.

But as we’re making final decisions this week, one question that arose was whether to change the paper type. For Feast, we used Ingram’s standard 70/105, the mid-range paper. Not quite as heavy or as bright-printing as their premium paper, but still quite nice.

Unfortunately, printing and production costs have gone up, due the pandemic inflation and supply chain issues, so we were faced with a tough choice — if we kept the 70/105 paper, we’d need to bump the hardcover price up by $5 in order to actually make even a minimal profit. The hardcover was already $40, and we’d have to take it to $45.

I didn’t want to do that — it felt like I was charging vegans more for their version of the book, which seemed unfair (even though it was really a matter of timing).

But we got Ingram to send us some samples, and thankfully, I think their standard paper is going to be just fine for this. I can see and feel a slight difference when I have them side by side, but the standard still looks good and feels substantial. You don’t want cookbook pages that are going to rip easily, especially if people may be turning them with wet fingers!

But I think this is going to be fine, so we’re going to go with the standard paper, and that means we can keep the price at $40 for the hardcover, whew.

Indexing and copyediting is done now, I think — we’re going to have our cover designer adjust for the new paper (which affects the thickness of the book and therefore the layout of the cover), and then I think we’ll be ready to order a galley print copy of the hardcover? And then Stephanie will work on the design for the print paperback? Getting close, folks. Exciting!

I Can Taste It

We’re getting so close to finished with Vegan Serendib, I can taste it! (Taste it, see? It’s a food joke. Good thing I amuse myself…)

We have a cover, courtesy of our fabulous designer, Jeremy John Parker! Hoping to finalize indexing and copyediting this week, then final interior layout tweaks. Ordering print galleys next week, fingers crossed!

 

Done? DONE! I wrote a book, peoples!

I arrived exhausted at Alex and Christa‘s, just bone-weary, and for the first two days we were there, I think I mostly rested and recovered. It was a LONG semester.

But by yesterday I was feeling mostly like myself again, and by today, I actually felt like I could write, for the first time in months. Much credit to their soothing, restful home!

This morning, I finished the last edits to Vegan Serendib and handed them off to my staff. They’ll implement the edits and proof it, then they index it, then we order a print copy (two, actually, for hardcover and paperback) and proof THAT, and then, um, I think we will actually have a book? Yes, a book!

It took a solid 6 months longer than I’d hoped — I think I allocated a year for writing this book, and it was more like 18 months. But hey, I wrote a book during a pandemic, so an extra 6 months doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

Tentative plan is to launch July 2022, if all goes well. Will we be able to schedule book tour for July / August / September? I certainly hope so. That’s the plan. If you’d like me to come visit your city and bookstore, now is a great time to let me know. I love travelling, so any excuse…

Next cookbook will be Gluten-Free Serendib, which I actually think we’ll be able to bring out relatively quickly — I’m pencilling in July 2023 for that. So for those of you waiting for that — thank you for your patience, it’s coming, but also, I’ll note that 95% of Feast of Serendib is already gluten-free. Benefits of a rice-based cuisine…

Pre-order Vegan Serendib here — and hey, it’s not too late to order it as a holiday gift and give them a nice little note saying the actual book will come in July: https://serendibshop.com/…/vegan-serendib-recipes-from…

Amazon is also claiming that if you have Prime and order A Feast of Serendib today, you can have it in your hands on December 24th — a great gift for the foodies in your life!

https://smile.amazon.com/Feas…/dp/1645432750/ref=sr_1_1…

Book book bookity book book. One down, a dozen to go…

Omnivore Books

We stopped at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on our way up to Alex and Christa’s yesterday. It’s a fabulous cookbook store, and I was supposed to do an event here for Feast last year, but sadly had to cancel it (and the rest of the book tour) when COVID hit.

They still had some copies of Feast on hand, delightfully, which I signed, and said they’d be happy to have me come do an event anytime. I’m thinking in spring, when Vegan Serendib launches.

I managed to get out of the store after buying only three books, which was an act of great restraint on my part — I think I used up all my willpower for the week.

Sugar Beet Food Co-op Was Fun

Fun cooking class yesterday for Sugar Beet Food Co-op. We’d originally planned to do a spice grinding demo there in spring of 2020, but had to cancel due to the pandemic; I’m glad they’ve found an alternative approach for now. They have a whole series of Zoom food and beverage classes going, so locals, check them out!

SugarBeet picked two vegan recipes out of Feast of Serendib, devilled potatoes and green bean varai, and put together recipe ingredient kits for the participants — $20 each, which is a pretty fabulous deal for a one-hour class + enough food to feed at least two people.

I like this format a lot, it’s great for the participants! And I’m very happy to support our local grocery store co-op; Kevin and I are members. 🙂 Lovely to be able to stop by on our way back from work and pick up some yummy farm fresh goodies for dinner.

Several people didn’t see the announcement in time, or had a conflict yesterday, so I’ll reach to Sugar Beet to see if they want to do another one at some point. If you’re a local and interested, drop your name in the comments here, and I’ll let you know if it happens again.

An Intro for Vegan Serendib

Hey, so I needed to write an intro for Vegan Serendib — this would go *before* the basic intro that I wrote for Feast, which goes into a lot more detail about what Sri Lankan food is like, meal structure, etc. Here’s something I just drafted — what do you think?

Vegans in particular, how is this for you? I’d like to avoid writing anything off-putting, but I do also want to be up front about the fact that I’m not vegan myself!

*****

I must begin this with a confession; I am not actually vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. Which begs the question – why would I write a vegan cookbook?

Really, it’s because of Karina. A long time ago, I dated a girl who was vegetarian, leaning pretty close to vegan. We dated for three years, and in that time, we ate together a lot. She was vegetarian for moral reasons, and so to avoid causing her distress, I ate vegetarian during that time as well. And it was just fine – at least while I was cooking for us at home, because I was mostly cooking Sri Lankan food, and there are lots of delicious vegetarian/vegan options in our cuisine.

It was a little harder – sometimes a lot harder – when we went out to restaurants together, or to parties at friends’ homes. Often, the only vegetarian option was a salad, and a pretty boring salad at that – some leafy green, probably a little wilted from sitting around, and a few shreds of carrot and slices of tomato. We’d go home still hungry, and sad about not getting to enjoy deliciousness.

It gave Karina so much pleasure when we found a restaurant that had tasty vegetarian options, especially foods she hadn’t tried before. She’s an adventurous eater, and when I took her to visit Sri Lanka for the first time, she researched and had a whole list of restaurants and foods she wanted to try there. We were able to eat very well on our trip!

Flash forward to now – twenty years later, restaurants are generally better with their vegetarian options, with more substantial offerings, and a greater variety of them. But Sri Lankan cuisine is still hard to find in the U.S. – there are a few restaurants here and there, especially in New York, and if you go up to Toronto, you’ll find plenty. But where I live, in Chicago, you pretty much have to drive eight hours up to St. Paul to find a Sri Lankan restaurant.

So this book is for everyone who wants to explore Sri Lankan vegan cuisine, whether you’re vegan or not. Maybe you’re doing Meatless Mondays, or you’re exploring a more plant-based diet generally. Maybe you’re looking for more sustainable ways to eat and exist on this planet, or maybe you’re aiming towards a healthier diet. Maybe, like Karina, veganism is a moral choice for you.

Whatever the reason, what you’ll find in these pages is an exciting and wildly varied cuisine, with a host of different preparations for vegetables, fruits, even flowers. You’ll learn how to make a master recipe for roasted curry powder, and how to prepare seasoned onions to infuse your dishes with added flavor. You’ll be invited to try a host of traditional preparations, and also a few newer dishes, using ingredients that wouldn’t have been available on the island in the old days.

Hopefully, this book will help make cooking and eating vegan cuisine easier, more adventurous, fun, and most of all, fabulously delicious!

*****

Vegan Serendib Kickstarter Is Closed

I meant to post a reminder about the Kickstarter before it closed, but I forgot! Apologies, folks. But you can still pre-order Vegan Serendib from our site, no worries! Just visit:

www.serendibshop.com

The Kickstarter did very well, with 216 backers pledging $9,254 in the end (initial goal of $2500). I feel like I basically know how to do this Kickstarter thing now, with 5 projects, all successfully funded. Thank you all for your support — you folks know how to make a girl feel loved. 🙂

More soon — I have one final recipe to draft today, and then it’ll be time to start hunting recipe testers and working on interior design. If you’re interested in recipe testing, let me know — I’m asking that you test at least 5 recipes and send me your comments, in exchange for an ebook (of either Vegan or Feast, your choice) that you can gift to a friend or family member if you like.

https://www.kickstarter.com/…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…