The February 2012 cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine says it all. I ♥ this issue. It just hit the newsstands and I’m in it. Seriously. Here’s the photo of executive food editor Lucinda Scala Quinn and me shopping at New May Wah market on Clement Street in San Francisco:
Look for the story on page 76 of the print edition, or in the table of contents in the digital version, which is what I decided to get for posterity. Lucinda and I were on the tofu trail.
Don’t know Lucinda? Along with her high level position at the magazine, she has a monthly column in Martha Stewart Living magazine and hosts the Hallmark Channel's Mad Hungry. She also wrote the show’s namesake cookbook and is working on a new book with her son. Lucinda focuses on the joys and challenges of cooking the daily family meal. She’s an ultra busy woman who champions taking time out to prepare food for people you love. It’s a major quality of life issue for her.
We met years ago when Lucinda interviewed me for the Martha Stewart Living radio show. I was struck by how thoughtful and smart she was. Lucinda had thoroughly read Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and asked me engaging questions. No softball questions. She’s a straight talker and I have a penchant for folks like her. She’s also funny, self-deprecating, and curious.
Last year, Lucinda received the galleys for Asian Tofu; galleys are a nearly perfect version of a book that's about to go to print. She reviewed it and tweeted, “Biggest hole in my library is Tofu. Reading/LOVING your galley. Can't wait for the book.”
I was tickled by her enthusiasm and thrilled when she suggested that we spend a day shopping and cooking. She wanted to demystify tofu for her readers and asked me to lend a hand. Shortly after, she arranged her travel schedule to California so that we could meet up in San Francisco.
Lucinda picked three recipes from the book. They included sublime Japanese hiya yakko (chilled tofu) and lusty Sichuan mapo tofu and pressed tofu tossed with chile bean sauce. We made the dishes with some of the Bay Area’s best tofu. It was lots of fun, especially the part when we got to eat up all the food we’d made. Photojournalist Barbara Ries captured our day in gorgeous images.
The entire article spans a good 5 pages, a very generous amount of space. The opening sentence of Lucinda’s story is: “Tofu used to scare me.” Her closing sentence is: “Tofu, I realized, really is for everyone—the tofu fearless or fearful alike.”
This is a high point of my career in several ways. I am not only jazzed about being featured in such a beautiful and prestigious publication, but also by the magazine’s interest in tofu. Martha Stewart Living magazine reaches over 2 million people each month; that’s a huge circulation to a very broad audience. Lucinda's story and the magazine's feature endorses the book as well as the subject.
The February issue is the Love issue. It’s fabulous that tofu got some of that love. Many people already enjoy it and hopefully now, more people will too.
For the full story and recipes, look for the voluptuous heart cover at your local stores. Or, get a digital version of the issue on an iPad so you’ll have it forever. The recipes should be posted online when the issue is off the newsstand. You can opt to go the full monty on how to make, buy, and cook tofu by pre-ordering the book, which releases on February 28 in print and digital editions.