Through­out the past year, Mary Glick­man has trav­eled around the coun­try to dis­cuss her first two nov­els, Home in the Morn­ing and One More Riv­erBelow, 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.

Read (and watch) more about Mary Glick­man at Open Road Media.

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.