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Anna Watson Carl on Her Cookbook Writing Dreams and Why She Loves Her Bathtub

Anna Watson Carl

Here, fun and sometimes hilarious behind-the-scenes tales from authors working on forthcoming cookbooks.

Anna Watson Carl always dreamed of writing a cookbook, patiently waiting for the day a publisher would tell her it was time. After a decade of writing and cooking professionally, the publisher had not yet come, so this past summer, she decided to write the book anyway. Her project has inspired incredible collaboration—her friend, Eric Anderson, shot a video promo; sommelier and wine shop owner Jean Luc Le Dû offered to write the wine pairings and volunteers from around the world have signed on to cross-test her recipes. On her blog, The Yellow Table, Carl is chronicling every day of the process, with the goal of finishing a manuscript by her 34th birthday in March. “When people look at a cookbook, the pretty photos are just a tiny part of the story. I want to show how much goes into it,” she says. Here, a look even further behind the scenes.

“The mere fact that I’m creating and shooting this in my 650-square-foot apartment is a bit ridiculous. I live in a sixth floor walk-up—there are 96 stairs to get to my apartment and oftentimes, I’m carrying bags of groceries and props.

On days that we shoot, we move the table and cat litter box and anything else near the windows out of the way and set up the photos near the light. I’m borrowing props from ABC Home, which is amazing but a lot of the things are so delicate and breakable. The first time I used one of their props, one of the trays was chipped when I got home. I thought to myself, ‘If one $60 thing breaks each time I shoot, this is going to be very expensive.’ At the end of each shoot day, I now very carefully wash all of the props, and I line the bathtub with towels. Then I bubble wrapped the props really well and stored them in the towel-lined bathtub overnight where the cat can’t get to them.

In a tiny apartment, the bathtub has been a lifesaver more than this once. During dinner parties, I often stash dirty pots and pans in there and close the curtain so no one even notices.”

Read Anna Watson Carl’s Cookbook Diaries for more behind-the-scenes moments.

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