“Today it’s pho real,” my husband said. Bring on the pho puns, folks. The Pho Cookbook is here! For those of you who’ve been with me since I announced the book project in May 2015, you know it takes a lot to make a book.
Book release day always stuns me. It’s a release and relief. I hope you make the most of all the contents of the book. I celebrated with beef pho (above), with homemade meatballs to boot! Folks who pre-ordered should be receiving the books soon, if not already. As people received their pre-ordered books today, they used social media for a virtual book release party! I was incredibly touched.
In the past few days, the book has gotten press from the nation’s top newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. I’d been working on the WSJ piece with the editors for some time but seeing the article in my Saturday paper was awesome. It was huge — the cover plus a full page. A dear friend who happened to be neighbors of WSJ movie reviewer Joe Morgenstern forwarded his email, which included: “Andrea Nguyen writes as well as she cooks.”
On Monday, Florence Fabricant wrote a short and very nice review of the book for the New York Times. She’s has written about food for decades and I respect her insights. Food and Wine asked me to give tips on where to eat pho in Hanoi and Vietnam.
[[Update on Wednesday 2/8/17: The A.V. Club/Onion published my interview with Kevin Pang. Editor and cookbook author Emma Christensen cooked from the book and penned a remarkable review at Simple Recipes, the mega food website.]]
I equally value feedback from bloggers, home cooks, and others. On Sunday, Reading Before Bed published a tender review that included: “I appreciated the variety of recipes that this book contained and bookmarked several that I plan on trying in the very near future . . . . I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Vietnamese cooking, international cuisine, healthy cooking and soup cookbooks.”
Michelle Jenkins took time to cook the cover recipe, which made her five-star review at Daily Waffle extra special. She grew up in Garden Grove, CA, so she’s familiar with pho and the granddaddy of Little Saigons.
Andrea Slade examined the book and easily recognized how it’s organized and the inter-connectedness of the recipes. I’m glad that stood out. Making books is like building a house or piece of furniture: all the parts should come together to function and look good.
Lots of events are in the works. Some are in person (there will be tastings!) and some are virtual so you can attend from anywhere, in pajamas, if you like. Hopefully our paths will cross at one of these occasions:
- 2/8, Feasts Meets West/HRN radio, 8PM EST (tune-in online tomorrow!)
- 2/16, 6:30-7:30pm, Omnivore Books, San Francisco (book talk, broth tasting, signing)
- 2/22, Chowhound.com Table Talk (send in your pho questions by 2/21 and I’ll reply on 2/22)
- 3/3-5, IACP, Louisville, KY (cultural appropriation panel discussion, community cook-in)
- 3/8, Jewish Community Center, SF, 7pm (Pho history, Viet foodways, plus snacks and pho from Chef Tu)
- 4/8, Ba Bar SLU, Seattle (details on this lunchtime event to come)
- 4/10, Chefsteps.com, 12pm PST (tune in via Facebook)
- 4/11, Book Larder, Seattle, 6:30pm (get the 411 on pho, demo, discussion, signing)
- 5/18, Milk Street, Boston (I’ll be cooking with Chris Kimball)
My publisher Ten Speed Press set me up to work with Chef’d on meal kits a while back. The Los Angeles-based company also works with celebrity chefs on the Food Network, the New York Times, and Random House (my publisher’s parent company).
When Chef’d heard about The Pho Cookbook, it asked to collaborate on pho meal kits. They selected the three quick pho recipes — chicken, beef, and vegetarian, because meals kits are meant to help people put satisfying, healthy, homemade food on table fast. It's weeknight cooking!
Chef'd also offers practical cooking tips so you can pick up knowledge like knife skills and such. I've learned a lot from the collaboration, such as how fragile bean sprouts are to ship! Chef'd subbed pea sprouts and it works.
Many people think that pho isn’t doable at home. It’s intimidating and they may order pho takeout (often disappointing, one of the lead Chef’d team members told me). Pho is about hot, fresh noodle soup loaded with goodies. So pho-get takeout. You can dive into making it yourself with a pho meal kit delivered to your door.
There were 3 winners of The Pho Cookbook giveaway – S. Slosson, R. Avery, and C. Sorianno. But wait, Fagor America just launched a giveaway to offer one lucky winner a copy of The Pho Cookbook and a Fagor Duo pressure cooker (what I use at home!). Enter the giveaway at the Fagor FB page by 2/13. Good luck! [[Update on 2/13, the winner of the Fagor and Pho giveaway was Vickie V. Congrats!]]
An on a somewhat random note, today is a great day for Vietnam-centric books. The Pho Cookbook released and so did The Refugees, a short story collection by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen who teaches at USC (where I went to college and worked; we met about 20 years ago).
And, I’ve been typing “pho” lots on my iPhone and today something changed. You may already know this, but there’s a pho emoji! Now that makes things super pho real.
It's been a winning day in wonderful ways. Thank you for contributing to it!