Bruce, Nancy, Adam and Emily of Harvard Common Press recently hosted 40 Boston Brunchers. Since 1984, HCP has been located in the South End, at a former piano factory. The Boston Globe recently featured Harvard Common Press and the Albany Street building in a writeup.
I particularly enjoyed seeing the vast titles of cookbooks published by HCP including Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker and Salty Sweets. Each blogger received a gift of a cookbook including A Baker’s Field Series (Marie of @ChocoAndWine), Bonne Femme Cookbook (Renee of Eat Live Blog), Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz (Richard of Passionate Foodie) and Gourmet Gifts (Jessica, a gastronomy graduate student at BU).
Bruce Shaw, President and Owner of Harvard Common Press has an unbelievable office filled with treasures from Mexico and of course, literature.
Bruce offered his humorous anecdote, which lead to his travels to acquire vibrant, patterned Mexican rugs from a town with 300 rug weavers. He wanted to prevent his fellow heel-wearing colleagues from tripping on the wooden floors!
Oaxaca is on my travel bucket list (I have been to Cancun and Playa de Carmen, posts forthcoming). Hopefully in the near future, I will have the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine, moles and artisans that Rick Bayless fondly speaks of. (Bruce mentioned he worked with Toni Sobel as his guide to Oaxaca).
The spread was lovely mix of tea breads and cakes.
Cranberry Coffee Cake (Salty Sweets)
Pear Bread with Vanilla and Ginger (The Best Quick Breads)
Nancy Grant Mahoney, Marketing at HCP graciously served the Gourmet’s spinach and cheese strata.
The spinach and cheese strata was by far my favorite item served at the brunch and look forward to attempting this myself. The eggy soft bread was laden with bits of spinach and melty gruyere and parmesean cheese.
Harvard Common Press announced they were launching a blog called BlogEats, which has astute posts about trends in the food and blogging industry.
We enjoyed our brunch at the Simonds Studio, which featured gouaches on paper with blocks and ovoids and is located on the same floor as HCP.
I sampled the pear bread with ginger and vanilla, raspberry cream cheese coffee cake, spinach and cheese strata and a bit of fruit. The cream cheese coffee cake was moist and I really enjoyed the flavor of the raspberry and cheese layer on top of the cake.
What I found interesting was during the the round table introductions of blogs everyone mentioned their Twitter handles, displaying how much food bloggers have adopted other mediums of social media.
Adam Salomone, Associate Publisher was a very dynamic speaker and clearly passionate about his work. He explained the various criteria for food bloggers to become authors and the various stages of cookbook development. The conversation he led stirred a great dialogue about industry trends and digitization of food content and cookbooks.
Bruce Shaw mentioned about the symbiotic relationship between publishers and bloggers, both competition and customers. Additionally, he said cookbook authors need to create 100-150 new recipes versus filling 25% of a cookbook with already used content.
Nancy Grant Mahoney explained additional marketing initiatives and the various media constituencies that need to be reached for a proper marketing launch.
I attained a galley copy of Herbivoracious, along with cookbooks, Vegetarian Planet and Pie (Anthea of Night Kitchener also picked this up). I am looking forward to testing a few recipes in the near future and being inspired.
I chose Pie to improve my pie technique. I openly admit I have not been hyper successful in crafting tarts, galettes and pies. This specialized cookbook would give me the tips and techniques to make better executed and delectable pies.
As for my rationale for choosing Herbivoracious and Vegetarian Planet, I am a former vegetarian. After reading Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation I was moved to become a vegetarian for a year and a half, until I met my two nemeses, a pepperoni pizza roll and a meat eater.
Over the years, I have read enough of the veggie centric literature by Pollen, Bittman, Freston and I have seen films such as Food, Inc and Forks over Knives to push me to want to increase my green plant life consumption in the upcoming new year.