Next March, Ripe will hit the shelves. And I'm quite excited. I'm cartwheeling, on the inside. The manuscript's in, Paulette has finished the photos, and our editor will soon pass the book to the designer. At some point I'll see page proofs, and then I'll faint.
It's intense to write about a topic you love in book format -- to delve deep into your subject, to have dreams about it, to jot recipe ideas on a giant posterboard so they don't get lost. I loved that. But it is, in some respects, a one-way street. The author and photographer do their work, and then readers receive it on their own terms, later.
Whereas here, now, we can actually live a conversation. On a blog, we can be a community, and no one has to wait for anything. Recently, Shauna James Ahern, an accomplished writer and generous soul, gave me a great idea: to start a series here called What's RIPE Right Now? where we -- you and I, but mostly you -- talk about what we're all doing with the same fresh, ripe produce item. So once every few weeks, I'm going to toss up a picture (not from the book, but just one of mine) and get out of the way.
Then you all share your great ideas for how you use that item. You can check back throughout the week or the month and see the ideas build up. The hope is that this collection will spark everyone's creativity.
1. Tell us all some of your favorite ways to use the featured fruit or vegetable. I do this often on my Facebook page, and it's always fun to see how different people work with the same ingredient.
2. If you like, link to other websites or blogs with recipes you love that showcase that item. Why do those recipes speak to you?
3. Brag, inform, or just share stories. You're a wonderful community of readers, and writers, and I'd love to hear from more of you. What are your favorite techniques, finds, or discoveries for working with this ingredient?
4. Take pictures. This is exciting: I've started a What's Ripe Right Now Flickr group where anyone can upload photos that relate to this topic. So for the next week or two, take pictures with your phone or your regular camera, upload to Flickr, and share with us what you've done with cherries. Maybe you just put them in a bowl, or made a smoothie, or baked a crisp. Snap, upload, share. Or scroll through others' photos to get your own ideas. I've put up a few myself to get us started.
So, let's begin.