Throughout the past year, Mary Glickman has traveled around the country to discuss her first two novels, Home in the Morning and One More River. Below, she writes about her experiences as a foodie on a book tour. Mary will be touring the country once again for the Jewish Book Network’s 2012 – 2013 season on her second novel, One More River. For more information about the Jewish Book Network, please visit here.People ask me, now that I’ve completed a year’s worth of traipsing about doing book tours, what I’ve gained from the experience. First there are the obvious perks of having one’s work validated at last: being taken seriously, the great gift of feedback from readers which will inform my future work, and hopefully, a growing audience. I’ve made a friend or two who I hope will be around the rest of my life. But on the most personal level, I have to say the most striking effects are: 1) the stress of post 9/11 air travel has thinned my hair, and 2) my generous hosts have made sure I piled on the pounds. So you might say the two most significant effects of touring have been going bald and getting fat.
And it’s been worth every pound.
Jewish women like to feed you and Jews like to eat, so there’s a natural process going on here. And my hostesses did our people proud. There was the New Orleans Booklover’s Luncheon that was tastier than a wedding supper. The menu: spring salad with white basalmic vinegarette, seared drum fillet with sugar cane beurre blanc sauce, wild mushroom orzo with red pepper confetti, and crisp haricots verts. When I told my hostess I’d never had such an elegant repast at such an event, she said: “Well, of course! This is New Orleans, darlin’!”
I enjoyed lunches at south Florida country clubs where the menus provided healthy, low-fat options but where the homemade seeded flatbreads took a look at any resolve I’d built up to “go easy” and laughed in my hungry face. Loudly. I visited Hartford, Connecticut, during Passover. We had a catered dinner that was truly one of the best I had all tour: succulent salmon and roast vegetables in a gingery sauce that I can still taste. They even sent me back to my hotel with a pesadik coffee cake and fruit to enjoy for breakfast before my flight home. It didn’t last through Jay Leno.
In Boston, my old hometown, I was taken by happy accident to a favorite restaurant I had missed since my move to the South. I ordered dinner but instead of taking half home as I used to do, I ate it all. (There was no fridge in my room, after all. What good Jew wastes food?) In Baltimore, I enjoyed a fabulous salmon and risotto dinner paired with rosé, personally prepared for me by a Jewish fox-hunting aficionado in an equestrian estate so palatial it shall ever be known to my intimates as “little Downton Abbey.” But damn her crystal dishes of chocolate-covered coffee beans in the elegant lounge where I presented my work.
So here I am, ten pounds later, hitting the gym, snarling at Brie, and getting ready for this year’s Jewish Book Network auditions. This year I’m a 2011 National Jewish Book Award Finalist for One More River, so I’m hoping for a new tour; let me say Baruch ha-Shem on that one. And if it is His will, I intend to be in fighting trim next fall. When all those kitchens and hostesses urge me to “eat, eat!”, I’ll just smile and say, “bring it on!”
As for the hair, I’m thinking extensions.
Raised in a strict Irish-Polish Catholic family, from an early age Mary Glickman felt an affinity toward Judaism and converted to the faith when she married. After living in Boston for twenty years, she and her husband traveled to South Carolina and discovered a love for all things Southern. Glickman now lives in Seabrook Island, South Carolina.