Today is the day, you guys! It’s September 5th – the date I’ve had underlined, circled and highlighted in my planner for months. My first cookbook is out in the world today! The project I put my heart and soul into, the recipes I fell in love with, the images I toiled to perfect – it’s all out there in the universe.
As you might have guessed, Friendsgiving is a near and dear tradition for me. As Ukrainian immigrants, my family did not always celebrate Thanksgiving, so when my sister and I were in high school, we made it a point to adopt the holiday with friends. The tradition continued well into our college years and beyond. Little did I know this faux-holiday would turn into the huge trend it is today (the #friendsgiving hashtag has been used over half a million times to date!), or that I would one day write a cookbook on the subject.
As the story comes full circle, I am beyond thrilled and so fortunate to have had the experiences I did. And, okay, I know this sounds a wee bit creepy, but in some tiny way I really do feel like I gave birth, and I hope you’ll join me in welcoming my first baby into the world! I hope that as you make your way through this book, you’ll be inspired to start a Friendsgiving tradition of your own.
One of the awesomest parts of this journey was the photo shoot. After a three-day marathon of 10-hour days in the Catskills, Friendsgiving finally had a tangible look and feel, thanks to my friends Rebecca (cookbook author and founder of The Upstate Table), who lent us her home as well as impeccable food styling talents, Sean (former chef at NYC’s Cosme and Natural Gourmet Institute), who was ridiculously over-qualified to play the role of food styling assistant, and Rene, who provided the emotional support and an extra set of dish washing hands. Below is a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot (thank you for immortalizing this experience, Sean!). Oh, and be sure to follow me on my brand-spankin’-new YouTube channel where I’ll be sharing tips and recipes!
I’ll be announcing a few book events and more exciting stuff soon, but in the meantime, I’m giving away a copy of the book on Instagram! To enter to win, follow me (if you’re not already) and tag a friend who you want to host Friendsgiving with in this post. The contest is open until 9am on Tuesday, September 12th. The winner will be selected at random and notified via Instagram. (Contest is open to US residents only).