Art, writing, design, food, culture, people, tradition and transition; all the things that interest my existence find themselves woven into the work of a single job: cookbook publishing. The labor of a publisher (and that of cookbooks, in particular) simultaneously travels down these separate, yet related avenues of life and career in sight of creating a final product that is, ultimately, the intersection between nourishment and creativity: a cookbook.
Cookbooks act as a form of documentation, regarding culture, custom, social change, exchange, creation, and human health; they share with others the combinations of foods that best fit a people’s lifestyle, palate, and set of dietary restrictions. Working to publish food-related titles also means working to publish socially related titles, culturally related titles, geographically related titles—people related titles. I have observed the many facets of publishing work through my experience at Lake Isle Press and currently work with owner and publisher Hiroko Kiiffner and editor and associate publisher Pimpila Thanaporn. Located at Broadway and 73rd in the compelling and bustling city of New York City, this independent publishing press works to present cookbooks to the world that inform, interest, and inspire individuals.
During my time at Lake Isle, I have had the opportunity to witness the publishing process and to use my writing and communication skills to promote our brand. I manage the social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter, and also write blog posts for our website on interesting cooking related topics. As of now, only one of my posts has been published to the site; you may enjoy reading it? Check out The New It Ingredient That’s Been Around for Thousands of Years here: http://lakeislepress.com/blog/detail/the-new-it-ingredient-thats-been-around-for-thousands-of-years/ (The rest of my blog posts will be uploaded intermittently, so make sure to check back for updates!) This post, in particular, is all about a classic ingredient, chickpea flour, currently showing new face in the context of our heavily labeled “gluten-free” world.
In addition to this work, I’ve dedicated my time to editing final manuscripts for books including World’s Easiest Paleo Baking, coming next January 2016, and a reprint of Rachael Ray’s classic Veggie Meals (check out the original). I really enjoy the editing process because it is allows one to deeply engage with the text and the book materials; editing a cookbook means re-creating the recipes in your head, ensuring that all the measurements and instructions are proper and consistent. This can be tedious, and it sure makes you hungry after only a short while (the dessert sections are the worst—but also the best!!!). I also really like to write, so it is very helpful to examine the writing that is being published today.
Although these are my main responsibilities at Lake Isle Press, I’ve also improved publicity and marketing efforts by shipping books to national TV stations, magazines, radio stations, etc., and completed book award applications. Also, just yesterday, my co-workers and I attended a national conference on pulses. For those of you not familiar with the term “pulses”, these are the edible seeds of legumes (plants with a pod)—chickpeas included! Held at 7 World Trade Center, the gathering promoted a multisectoral discussion surrounding the upcoming “International Year of the Pulses”, deemed by the United Nations. Having a new title out about chickpea flour, this information was very relevant to our book and promotional efforts. Learn more about the International Year of Pulses and see how pulses may be used to provide more protein and nutrients to people around the world: http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/.
I’ve learned a tremendous amount, not only at Lake Isle, but in the city as well—parks, neighborhoods, restaurants, trains, bars, museums, galleries—this place has it all… and enough people to fill it all, as well. Questions that I always ask myself as a student of life and, especially, as a student at Antioch College are, “How is my existence here—helping the community around me, the world around me, myself, my learning, my career (wait, do I even have a career yet?)?”
These are big questions to ask oneself (for anyone), and most of the time, they’re really not answerable… at least in one confident, impressive, and coherent sentence coming from this mouth. But, with each new co-op and life experience, I’d say I’m on my way to being able to answer these questions—or at least to ask them in a more directed and specific manner. My work at Lake Isle Press has definitely enhanced my love for writing and editing and has increased my interest in the publishing world. Words like art, food, community building, culture, justice, writing, collaborate, move, create, interact, and communicate enter my head on a daily basis when thinking about my personal values and hopeful career projections. This may not sound like much, but little by little, these words become actions and these actions become solidified into my life as elements of study and work; they open pathways for new exploration and inquiry, both important in the classroom and on co-op.