Happy Bookiversary!

How to Feed Your Parents Birthday

It’s bananas, right?

HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS debuted one year ago, today!

In lieu of a more traditional cake, my children baked several loaves of banana bread in honor of the event. Actually, I’ll be honest here: We had a bunch of bananas that were past brown and on their way to mush, so the kids dug out a cookbook, doubled the recipe, and tripled the chocolate chips. It had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with not wasting food.

And serving as an excuse to eat more chocolate chips than strictly necessary.

That said, when it dawned on everyone that today was my first bookiversary—and that I was looking for a photo to take to include with a blog post to mark the occasion—my firstborn arranged this tableau. My wife held up a quilt in the background so you can’t see the messy kitchen. Family!

What’s that you say? What does one get someone on the occasion of their first-ever bookiversary? Well, since you asked: Just about every author I know is a sucker for

• leaving an honest review on Amazon

• leaving an honest review on Goodreads

• generally spreading the word about the book

• pie

If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to grab a copy of your own, now is a great time. It also makes an ideal first-day-of-school gift, which is totally a thing. And if your local library could use a copy, maybe suggest the title? If your branch already has it on the shelf, give it the ol’ check-out treatment.

To everyone who has supported me, and Hatem Aly, and our book over this past year, thank you, thank you, thank you. My lifelong dream has long (since I was 4) been to be a published author. Over the past 12 months, I’ve been humbled by how Matilda Macaroni’s story has been received—and how it has inspired so may children (and families) to try new foods.

Here’s to another year of quality family time, reading, growing, and quiche.

Eat with adventure!



A Year Between Thoughts

A commission by Jake Morrison.

We’re rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of the publication of my first book, HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS. In related news, today marks the one-year anniversary of the last time I posted here at Standing in the Shallows. Wow!

Join me, won’t you, in a week of looking back, pushing forward, and trying to figure what to do now. To kick things off, please enjoy this artwork I commissioned from the fantastic Jake Morrison, imagining what my main character, Matilda Macaroni, would look like as a fantastical … chef … explorer? With her giant cat? It’s like she wandered into a Miyazaki movie by way of the Land of Ooo.

If you like Jake’s art, check out his Kickstarter for DANI AND RAMEN: A NOMAD’S TALE VOL. 1, about a red panda and a frog on the trail of the trees that used to surround their home. Perhaps, in their quest to discover the root of such wanton environmental destruction, they will also end up saving the world? Maaaaaybe?

There are no amphibians or Ailuridae in my book, but—like DANI AND RAMEN—it does feature a character who is passionate about food.

HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon and a bunch of brick-and-mortar places. You know, in case you’re wondering.

Cracking a Smile


I have plenty of reasons to smile these days—and I’ll be sharing a few of them soon—but something that never fails to make me happy is gathering eggs from my chickens. The range in hues on the shells is amazing, and the flavor and color of the yolks inside puts store-bought eggs to shame. It’s like seeing the sun on a clear day vs. through layers of clouds.

Despite writing a book about a kid who cooks, I’ve never thought of myself as much of a wizard in the kitchen. I’ve aspired to be someone who follows—and even improves on—recipes to create memorable meals, but my actual culinary skills are … not so much lacking as underdeveloped. But one day I decided to learn to scramble eggs really, really well, and then I moved on to frying. Maybe poaching is next, since it’s something my oldest daughter has already pretty much mastered. Hopefully she can teach me.

My kids would probably tell you that my signature dish is hamburgers. While I do have a go-to house recipe for those, I’ve always found that the most fun is in topping them, and my favorite thing to stack on a patty is, yes, a fried egg. It’s all the more delicious knowing that the key ingredient came from just a few steps away.

construction.JPGDespite having a fancy place to lay (that photo above is me building our coop with help from my parents), my hens have started hiding their eggs around the yard. I suppose it’s my fault for giving them free reign of the yard during the day. They most often now lay them under a jasmine bush, and if I don’t get to them fast enough or I miss a few, there’s a creature in my yard (I’m thinking possum) that snatches one or two away for a late-night snack. I guess I’m not the only one who likes fresh eggs!

finished coop.JPG

Whether you’re a human or a hen or an egg-thieving marsupial, I hope you take some time today to appreciate something that makes you smile. Or whatever the equivalent expression is for animals with beaks. And if you’re so inclined, let me know what it is!

hens in coop.JPG

Don’t Let Pi Day Pass You By!

Matilda and quiche.png

What makes a pie a pie?

Is it the crust? The circular shape? The way it’s cooked?

Most of the definitions I’ve read recently seem to agree that a pie must be baked and that it has to have a fruit or meat-and-vegetable filling of some sort, but several dictionary and encyclopedia entries sort of waffled a bit on whether a layer of pastry on the bottom, top, or both is necessary. There’s a whole cookbook’s worth of wiggle room in the words “typically” and “generally” and “usually.”

My wife whipped up a crustless quiche this morning to celebrate Pi Day, which seemed to satisfy my kids’ desire for a food properly befitting this most mathematical of days.

breakfast quiche.jpg

Our dinner plans involve taking and baking a pizza from a nearby shop, because pizza is totally a pie, right? I’ve always thought it could sort of slide into that definition, but I just learned of an argument that pizza is actually an open-faced sandwich! I’ve only recently started wrapping my head around the idea that some people consider a hot dog to be a sandwich, because it’s meat between two halves of bread. But pizza? Someone’s oven didn’t fully preheat on that idea.


If what you’re eating today is not obviously a pie, could you make an argument to justify it as one? Now that I think about it, there may be a case for French onion soup …

(Illustrations ®2018 Hatem Aly, from HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS)