Food Gift Love

by Maggie Battista on January 13, 2014

in Boutique Businesses, Cookbooks, Featured, New York

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Okay, let’s get a little personal.

Sometimes I say the right things and sometimes I say the wrong things. Don’t we all? And then, there are times when the right words tumble out of my mouth at the worst possible time. Worst. It was almost a year ago and it felt like way too much honesty. And since I really want to share some of the best news of my food life with you, I’m going tell you what happened.

Let me set the (food) scene:

I was in my favorite city in the entire world – the real city of lights, New York – during was turned out to be the winter storm we would call Nemo.

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I was on a small platform with three of my food world colleagues talking about Eat Boutique to a hotel conference room full of cookbook authors and cookbook publishers and general industry folks.

I was so aware that this panel discussion was being broadcasted in real-time on the Internet because my obnoxious sweet husband was tweeting and texting and generally trying to get me to just relax.

Despite his smart-aleck tweets, my husband is my unwavering partner and he has a way of getting to the heart of what worries me. I was so nervous, not quite sure of what to expect from my fellow panelists nor what the reception would be to this food blogger turned food business lady.

His advice resonates with me still, “Just tell your story, be honest, be yourself.”

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I think you all know me by now, but let me remind you: telling the truth is sort of my business. I made a pact to myself when the idea of this food gift blog and business was just a gibberish-like whisper in my ear. The pact went something like this: If someone asks my opinion, I have to tell the truth. It’s okay to offer an absolute “yes” or “no” if that’s what I feel. It’s even better to say, “I don’t know” if it’s the truth.

I think we all suppress the truth fairly regularly. When someone asks, “How are things going?” many of us say “great” – even when it’s not so true, even when we’d rather just run home and hide under the covers for a few weeks. It’s easier and loads more comfortable to fake it then it is to explain all the reasons why things may suck.

Over the last seven years – Eat Boutique is indeed turning seven this year and, YES, there will be cake – I’ve tasted thousands of food products from both up-and-coming and established makers. Some of these products have been stellar, the reason to wake up early to enjoy the last slice with coffee before everyone else shows up, and, in some cases, the reason to get on a plane to some far off land.

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I sample everything before I sell it in the shop, everything. I taste it before I hand-pack it into food gifts that ship all over the world and before I hand-write personal messages to people like, you know, your Mom. So I’m quite used to saying “this doesn’t work for me,” saying “this is amazing,” or saying, “I don’t know, let’s keep in touch” (with kindness) when tasting all that goodness. I really want the recipient of all of these food gifts to fall in love too.

But sitting in my New York City moment, I was about to make what I thought was the biggest mistake ever. I was about to keep my pact to myself.

A woman in the very back of the room asked, “Would you ever want to write a cookbook?”

I remember thinking to myself, the right answer is yes, the right answer is yes, come on, just say yes.

But here’s what I said instead, “You know, I don’t know.”

I don’t know? I don’t know? Who says, “I don’t know” in front of 100+ cookbook authors and publishers?

Yep, that was me, crazy me.

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Many people found me later to ask me why I didn’t want to write a cookbook. I gently reminded them that “I don’t know” is different from “no” and I just needed time, time to really research and time to decide how I could do it right. I also needed time to consider whether I had a story to share in cookbook format.

Well, I spent half of 2013 writing a bit of my experience to paper, exploring precisely why I love hand-packing your gifts, and, most importantly, assuring myself that food, in all its forms and delivery paths, is truly a gift. I also spent a lot of time talking to my Mom, the woman who wanted me to write a book when I was a mere tween, skipping out on gym (so boring) to work on the student newspaper (so fun). Moms are just wonderful that way, right?

Almost one year later from that panel session, I’m finally able to share that, oh my goodness, I decided to just leap!

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish my first-ever cookbook titled Food Gift Love in the fall of 2015.

!!!

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And it gets better. I get to share part of this journey with the most amazing photographer, Heidi Murphy. She asked me to lunch via Twitter three years ago and has become my favorite person with whom to move old wood furniture, find the best light, taste test sparkling cocktails, drool over pretty surfaces and take rich photos full of warmth and depth. She’s also become one of my closest friends.

But I haven’t told you the very best part. Wait for it…

Remember that woman in the back of the room who asked that question? She’s going to be my editor.

!!!

“I don’t know” didn’t scare her. And it shouldn’t scare you either. Not knowing was the perfect path to my next big Eat Boutique adventure.

So, we’re writing a cookbook, people. You’ve permitted me to take up this little space on the Internets, to build this tiny business and to freak out as it evolved over the last seven years. You’ve read and shared this blog, ordered from the shop and showed up to our in-person events and, since I’m just putting it all out there, I only have pure appreciation for you.

Thank you, as well, to every contributor who shares their food filled stories on this blog. You all keep me going and inspired every single day. I thank my lucky stars for you. This cookbook is for you, truly.

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I plan to fill Food Gift Love with brand new food gift recipes to make, wrap and share with the folks you love. And I plan to include bits and bites from my favorite food makers, folks who have blessed me with their food gifts, their excellence and their energizing stories.

Since you’ve been on this ride with me for so long, I’d really love to make this Food Gift Love cookbook together. I’d love to share the joys, the new ideas, the photos from behind the scenes and the tears that will no doubt emerge when I’m either overwhelmed or over-the-moon excited. I don’t know if I can do this but I’m going to do it anyway and I really do hope you stay on this carousel ride a wee bit longer because food is a gift, best shared.

Photos by Maggie Battista.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.

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Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's writing her first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2015.

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  • foodinjars

    Oh Maggie! I am so, so thrilled for you and am so delighted that it came together! I am certain you will produce the most beautiful cookbook ever!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      MARISA… thank you! You are such a inspiration and amazing friend and I can’t wait tell you more when we see each other next. xox

  • Jen

    Congratulations!!! I’ll be ordering my copy as soon as it is available! XO #foodgiftlove

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Jen, thank you. Get ready, you’ll be hearing all about it! xox

  • {Gail} A Stack of Dishes

    Congratulations! It’s sure to be a stunner (like you). Pam and I are thrilled beyond words for you.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Gail! You were THERE! I sort of feel like our meeting was meant to be :) Happy new year to you and Pam! xox

  • Christine Tobin

    Dearest Maggie,

    Looking back at when we first met I am so incredibly PROUD and thrilled with EVERYTHING you have accomplished. You have done everything you have set your mind and passion to and I am constantly inspired by you. We laughed together, shared our growing friendship, cooked together and ATE with our shared passion and love for food and our commitment to giving it our all. I am so looking forward to supporting you AND HEIDI through this journey. THE BOOK IS GOING TO BE EPIC and BEAUTIFUL. You and Heidi have such great chemistry that truly shows in her photographs.

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!!

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
    c

  • Family Foodie

    I wish I was sitting right next to you again at this moment to give you the biggest hug ever!!!!
    I am so proud of you!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thank you so much, Isabel. I’m so proud of us that we made it through that panel! And came out on the other end as good friends. I can’t wait to see you soon. Let’s talk July! xox

  • micadams

    Maggie, this is so exciting!! Congrats on writing a cookbook. Can’t wait to read it! — From your big fans at Green Mountain Mustard :)

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      You guys are the sweetest! Can’t wait to share it! xox

  • Carina Okula

    That is fantastic news Maggie. You and Heidi do amazing things together and this will be one incredible book! Bravo! Congrats! Felicitations! xx

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      MERCI a vous, Carina. I cannot wait to share it with the world – yahooo! I hope we talk soon. xox

  • Lindsay Landis

    So exciting, Maggie! Can’t wait to see the final product!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Merci, Lindsay, so very sweet of you! (Oh and I LOVE YOUR COOKBOOK!) XOX

  • KF

    Happy!!!!!!!! you two are a dream team !

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thank you thank you Kim! xox

  • LostInCheeseland

    This is AMAZING!!! I’m so happy for you and i can’t wait to get my hands on your book! Live it up, drink lots of bubbly to celebrate! (And come to Paris on your book tour!)

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Lindsey, you can be assured that a return trip to Paris is necessary! So it lots of bubbly. Thank you for being so generous with your support. From our coffee date at Merci to now, we just keep working it. So delighted to know you! xox

  • Winnie

    Such fabulous news, Maggie! I am so happy for you and cannot wait for this book. It will be so fabulous…just like you ;)

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      WINNIE! If it’s half as fabulous as your new book, I’ll be a lucky lucky lady. Happy new year! xox

  • Jim S

    Fabulous! Looking forward to buying/reading/digesting it. Congratulations!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thank you so much Jim! I really appreciate it. :)

  • http://www.sunchowdersemporia.com Sunchowder

    Congrats Maggie! Wonderful news :)

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Merci! xox

  • http://rachaelwhite.me/ Rachael White

    WONDERFUL news!!! I’m so happy for you and will DEFINITELY be saving a spot on my shelf for what I’m sure will be a lovely book. Congratulations!

  • Shelby

    Congrats, Maggie and Heidi!! This is such wonderful (and exciting!) news.

  • heidi | white loft studio

    SO well said my friend….beautiful words to introduce an amazing project. so happy to be taking this journey with you, XO!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thank YOU Heidi. What a wonderful trip this continues to be! xox

  • Amy McCoy

    This is so exciting, Maggie!!! Congratulations! I can’t wait to see all of your hard work and fabulous ideas in book form, and all with Heidi’s lovely photos! Wonderful!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I am so very lucky, Amy. MERCI! xox

  • chezus

    Yeah! Love this so much, your honesty and wonderfully accepted, and I am thrilled that you are writing this book!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Denise, thank you thank you thank you. I cannot wait — I hope we have many late not Skype sessions where I totally freak out over packaging design with you. :) Oh and MOVE to Boston already! xox

  • Cheryl

    This is totally thrilling. I’m reading between the lines and thinking/hoping you and I may have the same editor. Kismet and loveliness! Big congratulations on stepping into the beautiful void.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      You’re the best, Cheryl. I cannot wait to get going. It’s scary but thrilling. See you soon, I hope! xox

  • dawn

    This is what you were meant to do. Congrats!!!!

  • Cris Rogers Haskell

    I think you should come to Maine to work…..

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      I think you’re right, Cris! xox Make room for Maggie…

  • annelies

    Maggie- Thrilling to hear that being honest with yourself and a room full of authors and publishers can lead to such an exciting end. Congrats! I do think too often there’s a trepidation of what might happen in saying no or I don’t know. But, I’m glad to hear you stuck to your gut on this and look forward to seeing your book come together.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Merci, annelies! I’m so behind in sending gratitude for this nice note. Merci! xox

  • LDGourmet

    Maggie Maggie Maggie! Congratulations. Perfect. Can’t wait. (but is the moral of the story that we don’t always have to be honest?) ;-)

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      NO! The moral of the story is to be HONEST! :) thanks so much, lady! xox

  • Art & Lemons

    Yay, Maggie! Can’t wait to see all your goodness along with Heidi’s stunning images wrapped up in a book. Congrats, cheering you on all the way.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      So so very lucky to work with Heidi – thank you so much! xox

  • merry jennifer

    Oh, I am just so happy for you, Maggie. I love that you said “I don’t know” to that crowd, and that you later did some real soul searching about it and found the answer to be YES. I can hardly wait to see your book when it’s all complete. xo

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      MJ, thank you. I don’t know how all this happened but I’m kinda thrilled. And exhausted. I can’t wait to share! xox

  • sweetjoyliving

    Congratulations!!! This is so inspiring. I love Eat Boutique and your story. I hope to meet you one day.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Oh me too, sweetjoyliving! Let’s plan on coffee, someday! xox

  • http://www.greenwithrenvy.blogspot.com/ Alison Abbott

    Such a great story Maggie, I heard the buzz, but had to read the details for myself. You should be so proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Bringing small batch makers together for all of us to enjoy was just the start for you. The cookbook will be eagerly anticipated, you and Heidi are an awesome team!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      You’re the sweetest, Alison. Thank you for being such a support all the way. xox

  • Autumn Makes & Does

    I know I’m a bit late, but what fantastic news! This makes me so happy. I seriously think you’re one of the hardest working people in food. So well deserved.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Oh Autumn, I am so glad we got to meet last summer (so long ago!) and omg thank you for this note. I don’t know about hardest working but I am def exhausted. :) xox I hope to see you soon.

  • Sheila Thomas

    Congratulations Maggie! I am so excited for you. You know that I always believed that you had a story to tell. I remember that day – I was in the room and you could not tell you were nervous and as always were entertaining, educational, and inspirational. You are amazing – I am looking forward to traveling with you as your Eat Boutique adventures continue. Hope to see you in March at IACP. Oh, I’m still waiting on Eat Boutique South! xoxoxo

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Oh Sheila, I don’t know what to say. You were there. You had this enthusiasm and smile that made me feel 200% comfortable following you around all day. Thanks for being there and YES TO EAT BOUTIQUE SOUTH! xox

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