About 20 years ago I got this sense that I would someday write a book. I didn't know what I would write about or whether it would be fiction or nonfiction, but I knew there was a narrative slowly forming inside of me and that it would eventually have to come out. It took its own sweet time and began to finally externalize almost two years ago when I started blogging. I reconnected with a college friend and his wife, who is also a long-time friend. They are both bloggers and writers (see here and here) and I was inspired by them and started this blog which began as daily ramblings about life but very quickly settled around three themes - food, family, and community and the dynamic interplay among those three aspects of life.
From there I began writing a food column for my local paper. What began as pretty standard restaurant reviews and recipes quickly evolved to a that familiar three-word theme: food, family, and community. The blog gave birth to a new blog - The Hungry Hoosier which was an attempt to develop an identity for my writing that focused specifically on Indiana - local family-owned restaurants and markets, seasonal recipes, etc. The Hungry Hoosier seemed to quickly find an audience and the phone started to ring and the inbox began to fill bringing new opportunities - some TV work here, some magazine work there, and new potentials for collaboration.
About three months ago I met Christine Barbour, another Indiana food writer and brand new blogger. It was not long before our conversations resulted in discussions about collaborating on a book. Now we're under contract with Indiana University Press to write Home Grown Indiana: A Food Lover's Guide to Good Eating in the Hoosier State. That is a long title so my shorthand for it is HGI. The book will be part travel guide, part cookbook, and stories of the people behind the food. We will divide the state into five regions and for each region we will profile about five high-quality growers, producers, and artisans offering great food - farmstead cheeses, pasture-raised beef, free-range chicken, heirloom vegetables, honey and syrups, and other foods. The book will also feature restaurants using local foods on their menus, and recipes utilizing these great local products. Hopefully HGI will be an indispensable guide for both Indiana residents and visitors interested in fresh, seasonal, local eating.
So there you go, that's the book. We begin work immediately and have until March 1st to submit our manuscript. We anticipate publication in the fall of 2007. I'm sure I'll provide updates from time to time. Wish me luck!