The afternoon of our interview, Greta Podleski had just learned that her new cookbook, Yum and Yummer, had hit number one on the Canadian best-seller list a month after its release.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I haven’t even done my national promotional tour yet.”
Podleski is no stranger to the best-sellers’ list.
She and sister Janet are co-authors of a series of four Looneyspoons cookbooks that were each a best-seller.
Publishing success seems to come easily to her but Podleski says it is hard, hard work, both in the kitchen and the design.
The latest cookbook is her first solo project, making its rise to the top of the Canadian cookbook food chain that much sweeter.
Yum and Yummer and its secondary title, which notes the 300-page volume contains “Ridiculously tasty recipes that’ll blow your mind, but not your diet,” is also self-published (One Spoon Media Inc.).
Major retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart and the Super Store scooped up the first print run of 150,000 copies, Podleski says.
“I was nervous about printing so many but a friend insisted on it based on initial orders,” she said. Already a second printing is scheduled.
That “friend” is Canadian business guru David Chilton who famously wrote The Wealthy Barber and starred for years on TV’s Dragon’s Den.
Chilton began dating Podleski 20 years ago after she and Janet asked him for help getting their first book published.
Chilton has strong ties to Sarnia and spent his summer vacations here as a child. He and Podleski have a house here and recently purchased a second property in Bright’s Grove.
These days, they live in Waterloo and spend weekends in Sarnia.
“We hope to spend a lot more time here,” said Podleski. “We both talk about moving here. I have a lot of really close friends in Sarnia and love it here.”
But back to the book.
The recipes in Yum and Yummer were created by Podleski in her kitchen after fans of the Looneyspoons series asked for inspiration to easily prepare suppers, appetizers and soups. They also asked for gluten-free and vegetarian choices.
“I wanted to create a book that answers the question, ‘What’s for dinner tonight?’ These aren’t frilly recipes,” she explained.
“Every single day, people have to think about what’s for dinner. So here are a whole lot of ideas in every category.”
Recipes range from California Quinoa Salad to Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Pizzas and from Coconut Tandoori Chicken to Asian Grilled Pork Kabobs.
Every recipe requires shopping at just one store and minimum prep time, according to Podleski.
“And I make every recipe in my own kitchen because I want to see what the reader has to go through to produce it and I want to know 100% that every recipe works,” she said.
Yum and Yummer is billed as the first cookbook to provide one-minute, how-to videos for every recipe. Readers can either look videos up online at yumyummer.com or use their smartphone to read the “Yumcode” on each recipe page.
“We’re reaching a new generation this way,” said Podleski. “I want to inspire young people and newbies to get into the kitchen.”
The book is also full of large, colourful photos taken by Podleski.
“Doing the photos myself doubled my time on each recipe but I wanted that challenge,” she said. “I wanted a certain style to make each photo in-your-face, so you feel like you can almost taste the food.”
Yum and Yummer sells for $34.95 and is available in Sarnia at The Book Keeper, Coles, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart and the Great Canadian Superstore.
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