I just returned from a trip to Southern California to visit my parents (Dad’s recovering well from having 2 stents put in last Thursday), check in with a few friends, and do ground work for banh mi-related events. In the pile of mail that we sorted through was the July issue of Cooking Light magazine.
Holy moly, in the monthly cookbook picks, the editors published this short-and-sweet shout out to The Banh Mi Handbook: "Lots of tasty riffs on the meaty, pickly, crunchy, saucy, spicy Vietnamese sandwich." The book's placement at the top of the list was the icing on the cake.
Totally awesome. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines because it offers balanced approaches to healthful eating and lifestyles. The publication isn’t about precious food, a perspective that resides comfortably in other publications I read. I’m not a calorie conscious person but do believe that people should and could make time to cook good food for themselves and their family.
The editors and test kitchen at Cooking Light are sharp too and have supported my work in the past. For their 25th anniversary in 2012, they published a list of the top 100 cookbooks. Both Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and Asian Dumplings were selected and got 2 of the 7 slots in the best Asian cookbooks category. I was deeply honored but didn’t know how much they’d like the banh mi book. Guess they like it a lot to include it in their “Fun” issue. I wrote the book as a casual and approachable work to get people into Vietnamese cooking and inspire them to make Viet food part of their regular rotation.
The magazine and Wall Street Journal’s endorsements are major thumbs up, especially since the book isn’t out yet. Asian food blogs the Ravenous Couple and Rasa Malaysia have also come out to support the book in advance of its release. All of that, combined with your enthusiasm, resulted in strong pre-order sales numbers like these:
It's amazing that the book is often the bestselling Vietnamese cookbook on Amazon. Additionally, banh mi is as popular as American hamburgers, Italian paninis and Mexican tortas! The book is also doing well in the Asian and herbs, spices and condiments categories too. Shazam. Go Banh Mi Handbook! (If you haven't taken advantage of the pre-order giveaway, don't forget about it.)
The other piece of nice mail that arrived this week was an email newsletter from Celia Sack, the proprietor of Omnivore Books, a wonderful bookstore in San Francisco and one of the few in the world that focuses on food and drink. I’ve never had a book launch party before but for the banh mi book, Celia said I needed to celebrate with a Banh Mi Handbook Launch Party. She’s invited me to do book talks at her shop since it opened and this time, we're having snacks, cocktails, party favors, and door prizes.
My publisher Ten Speed Press and friends Cuong Pham of Red Boat fish sauce, and buddy Jeff Bareilles of Manresa restaurant are all pitching in. If you’re in the Bay Area on Monday, July 14, come join us for the party. I’m making a little banh mi bar for the shindig, which goes from 6:30 to 9:30pm. It’s free. Of course, I’ll sign your book(s) in between bites and sips. ;-)
Celia just sent out her monthly newsletter and you may have seen the banh mi book party listed. Otherwise, head over to the Omnivore Books events page for more details. Note that if you can’t make the party and would like a personally autographed book, let the shop know. Celia and her staff will make it happen for you.
It's been a good snail mail and email week. Hope yours was good too.