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9 Questions with Joy the Baker + WIN A COPY OF HER NEW COOKBOOK! {Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

So.  Have you heard yet?  About the soon to be released Joy the Baker Cookbook?  If you hang out around here at all, then surely the answer is YES!

So not only am I honored to be hosting the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off right here at my place, I was also lucky enough to sit down (all be it at different times...and different time zones...and via computer tag...but...) and have a short Q&A session with Joy the Baker herself, Joy Wilson.

  The writing, photography, passion, and gracious attitude that is her standard m.o. translates seamlessly from screen to print.  Each time I visit her blog, I come away with a shopping list.  And a strange feeling that we're friends.  I'm sure it's because she shares a piece of herself in such an unassuming manner.  Like she's talking to a friend.    So if you, like me, are a fan of her wildly popular blog, Joy the Baker - you will be a fan of her cookbook.

Let's talk to that friend now.

photo credit: Michael Friedman
me: Can you describe how you felt the first time you held a finished copy of YOUR cookbook in your hands?

Joy: It's such a surreal experience.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I know the book by heart.  I spent months and months creating recipes and photographing food.  I spend months writing words and recipes.  I spend more months editing words and recipes… and editing again. I can see each and every page in my mind.  
BUT!  To see the book in living color is a different story.  It strangely feels like old news meets totally bonkers exciting newness.  It feels like hard work.  It feels like a total blessing. 

me: I love that you took all of your own food photographs for the book.  What made you decide to do this?

Joy: I'm not a trained photographer and I've definitely never shot photographs for a cookbook…. but my photographs are important to me.  I feel like my photographs speak of me.  They're totally my personality:  imperfect and mis-matchy.  Having my own photographs in the book just felt like a natural expression of who I am, and the food I want to tell my readers about.

me: If you had to head into the kitchen at this exact moment in time to make something...anything from your book, what would it be and why?

Joy: Right now?  I'd make the Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Warm Walnut Praline Topping.  It's decadent and over the top… but it's all made in a humble cast iron skillet.  It's perfect for halfway rainy days when all you want to do is sit indoors and nibble on something sweet and sip tea.  

me: Is there a certain cookbook(s) that inspired you in your endeavor to bring your own cookbook to life?

Joy: I love cookbooks that feel effortless and intuitive.  Believe it or not, I don't like to make a big production in the kitchen.  I want to step into the kitchen and be able to relax and feel confident in my cooking abilities… not be completely nervous that I'm going to waste the expensive chocolate I splurged on.  My cookbook idols are Dorie Greenspan and Heidi Swanson.  They make cooking feel relaxed and joyful.  

me: Did you go into the whole process of making a cookbook with a plan (as in "I want this section and this section" or "this is how I want it to be laid out"), or did it sort of come together in a more offbeat manner?

Joy: I went about writing this cookbook with a plan.  I'm a girl that loves lists… and I can't even tell you how many lists I had going in the making of this book.  Too many to count.  I wanted the cookbook to feel fun and intuitive, so I organized it the way I organize my kitchen thoughts.  I often cook a memory or a feeling.  I make pie if I'm feeling nostalgic for family holidays.  I make some sort of spice cake if I'm thinking about my favorite aunt.  I make rice pudding as comfort food.  I make crazy popcorn because I'm too lazy to make real dinner.  
I'm hoping that the book feels intuitive to other cooks as well.  

me: Do you have a certain method or mode for developing recipes?

Joy: I spend a lot of time sitting, staring, and thinking of food combinations that might be delicious together.  
Pineapple.  Malt.  Milkshake!  I like all of those words.  I wonder what would happen if I put them all together in the blender!  Perfect!  

me: Did you have a flock of volunteer guinea pigs lined up to taste your recipes for the book and offer their feedback?  (Okay, I think it's actually called a "group" of guinea pigs...)

Joy: I had a flock of good friends and family test recipes for me.  Those Chocolate Chip Cookies were born of numerous testings.  All totally worth it, and delicious.  

me: As a blogger, when you were finished testing a particularly satisfying and delicious recipe, did your fingers itch like crazy (ie...did you want to run to the computer and post it to your blog)?

Joy: It's like I've had 100 delicious secrets for about a year.  I'm totally bad at keeping secrets.  This was hard.  

me: Are there plans for another book down the line?  Or any other exciting plans for the legions of Joy the Baker fans out there?

Joy: I can not wait to write another cookbook!  The process was incredibly exciting and rewarding.  I'm already dreaming up a new concept that I'm super excited about.  Hopefully we make it a reality soon soon soon!
Thanks Joy! 

And for the record.  I felt the same way when I saw the words Pineapple + Malt + Milkshake together on a page the first time I flipped through this beautiful cookbook.  So I promptly made...and immensely

So.  Nine questions.  Seems like it should round out to an even ten, doesn't it?  I think so.  Which leads to me the giveaway. YOUR chance to win a copy of Joy's new cookbook.  What would your tenth question be?

How to enter:
(required)  Leave a comment on this post telling me what one question you would ask Joy if you had the chance to sit down and talk with her.  Make it a good one!

the fine print:
When you leave your comment, please be sure to enter a valid email address so that I have a way of contacting you...or if you have a blog/website, be sure to add the link to it when you're filling out the comment area (under name and email address).  I need a way of notifying you if you are the winner!  Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping address.  If they fail to respond, a new winner will be chosen.

This giveaway is open to anybody, anywhere.  

Winner will be chosen by random draw from all qualifying entries.  

Contest starts Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:00 am (Eastern) and submissions will be accepted until Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm (Eastern).  Submissions received after this time will not qualify.

Hyperion provided me with one extra copy of this cookbook, so I will ship it to you no matter where you are if you are the winner.  If you are located in the US, you should have it in your hands on or before the book release date of February 28, 2012.  If you are outside of the US, it'll probably take longer to arrive.

Good Luck!

*update 2/22/12: This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been chosen. Click here to see results.

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
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