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What better time to eat a couple dozen oysters than with friends and family over the holidays? We were down in Hilton Head, South Carolina over Thanksgiving where my parents have officially settled in for the long haul (Thanks, Mimi & Pop Pop, for another unforgettable holiday!) and managed to get several dozen Island Creeks into the mix.
We slurped most of them back on the half shell but also threw a handful on the grill where, after they popped open, we doused them in butter and Mexican hot sauce. It’s one of my favorite no-fail recipes from chef Ken Oringer. We also made an herbed oyster stuffing again this year but for that, we used South Carolina oysters. I stopped at two grocery stores before snagging the last two dozen at the Piggly Wiggly. Apparently, South Carolinians go crazy for oysters on Thanksgiving.
I also got some exciting news over the holiday: Shucked is going into its first reprint! That means there will be plenty of copies for you and your loved ones (hint hint). I’ll be out and about signing books over the next few weeks, starting on Monday night at the Hotel Commonwealth (check out the flyer below) so come on out and get a signed copy.
So, it’s official… I am a published author (cue: cheering crowd). As another writer said to me last week: They can never take away your Library of Congress number. So, there’s that!
It’s been a wild few weeks since the book’s release. I’ve had a handful of signings in and around Boston where I try desperately to come up with something witty to write inside people’s books. It’s tough to be clever on the spot but I’ve settled on one or two catch phrases that seem to both make sense and flow quickly (essential when there’s a line of people–yes, a line!–waiting for your signature). What’s more daunting is staring out into a room full of people who are there to buy my book. I have to let that sink in…
Ok, deep breath. Yes, it is a surreal, out-of-body experience to sign my own book. I keep having to remind myself that it is, in fact, my book and not someone else’s that I’m vandalizing with a foreign signature. I also have to get used to talking about myself and this entire experience in a way that isn’t rambling or disjointed or um, nerdy. Because I can get kinda nerdy when I talk about oysters. I know this because people’s faces glaze over the minute I start talking about upwellers and algae blooms. So I try to keep those parts of the conversation to a minimum and just nod my head vigorously when they ask me if I still love oysters or if I found the experience to be hard work. Both of which are very much true and easy to compute. Upwellers=not so much.
But really, what’s great about this whole experience is that I get to share my love for Island Creek Oysters with lots of people every single day. When I was writing the book, my head was down and all I could think about was the finished product. Now that it’s out in the world, I can sit back and reflect on how much fun I had… and all of the amazing people I worked with on the farm. I’ve had a number of people tell me that they were drawn to the book without even knowing about Island Creek… which is just what I was hoping for.
I’ve also–for the first time, really–been on the answer end of a number of in-depth interviews, which is giving me even greater respect for everyone I’ve ever put on the spot in my writing career. I had some fun doing a Q&A with Bon Appetit’s Sam Dean while an interview for the Patriot Ledger was so thorough, it made me want to go back and re-interview for every story I’ve ever written. I also enjoyed writing a piece for the blog section of The Huffington Post and just this past weekend, did an appearance on TV Diner. Consider my 15 minutes of fame officially clocked.
The absolute best part about being on the circuit? Having Dave, Charlie, and a few of my good friends there with me. (Jenn: Your babysitting-slash-photography services are invaluable!) Dave is not only beefing up his shucking skills but has become a star in his own right since people now know him as a character from the book (keep an eye out for his forthcoming blog, “Dave: The guy from Shucked”). As for Charlie, as Dave has pointed out: If you haven’t finished the book, our son is a walking spoiler alert. (Sorry!) I feel lucky to have so much support.