Seems like the banh mi bubble was about to burst leading up to today. For those of you who pre-ordered the book online, Amazon, et al were likely pinging you with email notices that the book was on its way. Some folks received their physical copies today while others will have to wait a teeny tiny bit. Robin said on Facebook that her e-Book order got “filled” with a Kindle download. Bay Area friends are looking forward to the launch party next Monday at Omnivore Books.
(Oddly and awesomely – yesterday food writer and activist Mark Bittman gave Asian Tofu a shout out in the New York Times story entitled “Giving Tofu the New Look It Deserves.” Public comments reflect how far little tofu has gone in the recent past. I did a double take, “Wait, which book is coming out tomorrow?”)
Every book I write is a little different and the years between each one means that the publishing world has changed by leaps and bounds. It used to be that there were a few months of lead time for setting things in motion. With The Banh Mi Handbook, lots more happened closer to today, the official book release date (“pub/publishing day”).
There are media activities in play, requests made today, and a strong amount of interest. Red Boat fish sauce is sponsoring a couple more events that we’ll be rolling out so stay tuned. I’ve got stuff for Seattle in the works for mid-September and hopefully Los Angeles in early October.
I don’t know what other authors do on their pub days but I typically take stock of my work. Usually I read through the book. This time, I looked through my kitchen. I had some bread from yesterday’s very filling banh mi crawl with San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Jon Kauffman. I needed to use some up for lunch.
Scavenging the fridge, I located 4 jars of pickles:
In the freezer were elderly portions of headcheese terrine and garlicky pork tenderloin. Being over a year old means that they’re likely spent.
We had some Maggi steaks leftover from Sunday night so it was decided that Pub Day banh mi would be beefy. I set up the fixings and made banh mi the way I like it, with a good smearing of mayo, Maggi Seasoning Sauce and a moderate amount of meat. The rest is vegetable.
Rory and I ate standing at the kitchen counter, like how we’d eat banh mi if we were in Vietnam. I poured proseco (in the top photo) for a different take on P&B. That champagne behind the pickles in the fridge is for tonight.
After lunch, an email from Frank Ball arrived with this attached photo:
Posman is an independent bookstore in New York City. Knowing that The Banh Mi Handbook is for sale at Grand Central Station terminal, one of the most historic places in America, is a giant feather in my little cap. Yes, it’s part of the American food scene, like ice cream and soda.
Also from New York, Brett Sandusky tweeted that he’d bought the book for his mom. I offered to send her a personal note, and Brett emailed:
Much like yourself, I have been cooking since I was a child. My mother and I would spend our time together in the kitchen, and she taught me everything I know.
Today, we are constantly sharing recipes, techniques, stories, articles, and news items about food. We cook together every time we see each other. And, we're both huge fans of a large variety of cuisines from around the world; Vietnamese definitely being one of our favorites.
Recently, my mom has started making homemade banh mi, and so when I saw that you had a new book out about banh mi, I knew it would make a perfect gift. And the timing could not be better as she just retired at the beginning of this month. Hopefully, she'll find some newly freed time to experiment in the kitchen and share some recipes and wisdom from you with me.
So sweet and touching. Yup, Randy is right. There’s nothing quite like Pub Day. Let the Banh Mi Revolution begin!
I’m looking forward to seeing what you make and create. Thanks so much!
P.S. All the pickles and Maggi steaks I used today were made from recipes in The Banh Mi Handbook. I worked hard on those recipes so I follow my own instructions. Seriously.