I’m not a super superstitious person but when Fedex dropped off an advance copy of The Banh Mi Handbook last Thursday, I took pause. It was May 8. I turned in the manuscript on July 8, 2013. The book will be released on July 8, 2014. In numerology, the number 8 is suppose to portend good luck. You should reap what you’ve sown when the number appears. In the case of this book, there’s a lot packed into it, and I hope that readers and cooks will benefit from the contents.
When I outlined the book in 2012, I was hoping to carefully insert a lot of information in a small format book. There are only 132 pages total and the book itself is roughly the size of an iPad. It was challenging as I’ve written longer, larger-sized books. My editor Melissa Moore, designer Betsy Stromberg, and I spent a lot of time playing with the book’s organization and layout. In the end, we fit everything in that we wanted.
I’d been cooking from and looking at a digital version of The Banh Mi Handbook on my iPad since we sent it to press but even so, I wasn’t prepared for how lovely it would be in actual print. The photos have incredible depth, something that I wouldn't have known during the photo shoot. The book is sharp looking, tightly focused, and fun.
I took “Number 1” (what I call the first copy I receive of a book that I’ve written) to lunch last Friday with my friend Cuong Pham of Red Boat fish sauce. As he and his family paged through the book, they peppered me with questions. That got me thinking that you may be similarly curious.
Equipped with sandwich-themed sticky notes (purchased at Staples), I went through the book to flag stuff that may interest you. Then I snapped some shots and organized them below as if you were paging through Number 1 too.