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Q&A: Eat Your Books Cookbook Promotions Manager

We are delighted that Eat Your Books cookbook promotions manager, Jenny Hartin took the time to take our Q&A where she gives us an insight into what she looks for in a cookbook and why she loves our titles!

Can you tell us how and why you started your site “Eat Your Books”?

Actually I started the website and Facebook Group – The Cookbook Junkies – which now has 42,000 plus members. Through that and writing cookbook reviews for other major sites, I took a position at Eat Your Books (“EYB”) for Cookbook Promotions Manager. I’ve been doing reviews for EYB since May of 2016 and took over as Cookbook Promotions Manager last August. It was a wise decision to pool our efforts to share the cookbook love. Eat Your Books was started by Jane Kelly who wanted a way to search her cookbooks – she and her sister, Fiona Nugent, launched the company in 2009.

What’s your favourite post that you’ve featured on the site?

You know I am a huge fan of Figure1 books those are some of my favorites (obviously) – but I would have to say books about Middle Eastern cuisine, The Aleppo Cookbook, my post on Eat OffBeat’s kickstarter cookbook featuring recipes from refugees who are now chefs in New York City. I feel if more people read about other cultures and food traditions it would bring the world closer together and we’d find we are so much more alike than different.

I write about books that I truly love and while there is nothing wrong with a book focusing on cake mix recipes – I don’t have a passion for those types of titles because I don’t use boxed mixes. It’s hard to sell an audience on a product that you don’t find joy in. Writing about food and cookbooks makes the craziness that is my life better. Having a child with special needs, the pace of life in 2017 and all the sadness in the world – cookbooks and cooking transports me to faraway lands and delicious food – we all need those kind of trips and I’m fortunate to take them daily.

What’s the number one thing you look for in a cookbook?

I love cookbooks that take me away and bring this vast world into my home. There are so many cuisines and cultures that I want to learn about and cookbooks has been my gateway to traveling the world. I love collections of recipes that are unique not your everyday same-old, same old. That is why I love Figure 1 books – they are so well done – beautiful photography, moderate to complex recipes – and give me a look into Canadian chefs and their food.

What are you reading at the moment?

For a long while, all I had been reading were cookbooks and recently have gotten back into reading crime fiction – which worries my husband and he tells people – if something happens to me you know where to look. However, I put fiction on hold and started Amy Thielen’s Give a Girl a Knife recently. This is Amy’s memoir that is coming out in mid-May. It’s spectacular. I’m a huge fan of Amy’s cookbook, The Midwestern Table which I have thoroughly cooked the hell out of it. Her recipes and writing are brilliant.

What’s your favourite go-to ingredient?

I love citrus and fresh herbs – anything that adds a punch to a dish and chefs like Mario Batali have taught me to add heat and acidity to my dishes – so a lot more red pepper flakes, chilies and different vinegars are now in my arsenal. For fast meals – pasta – there are a million ways to present pasta – so I love experimenting with that ingredient.

What food is your guilty pleasure?

I could eat Asian food every single day, every meal. I don’t crave chocolate, ice cream or sweets –  good savory food. My must have every day – a hollowed out everything bagel, toasted twice with a tiny amount of cream cheese and sometimes a touch of strawberry jam or a piece of sausage.  My husband stands behind me at the bagel shop here in Colorado (I miss New York and their perfect bagels) and makes faces and says the staff all run when I walk in. New York ruined me for bagels though. I lived there 15 plus years prior to moving out west and I would go back in a heart beat.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

The cookbook world, my friend Marc who shares my love of great books (I turned him on to your titles) and others in The Cookbook Junkies – we post every week what we are cooking up and try to inspire each other.

Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to eat?

Offal. I just can’t get pass the thought of organ meat.

March 13, 2017
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