You might have noticed that the book-cover image on the upper right has been changed to reflect the new paperback edition of The United States of Arugula. The paperback comes out on July 17–a smaller, cheaper, more portable version that makes an ideal beach read, mountaineering companion, hostess gift, airplane time-passer, or languorous cocktail-hour page-turner. (In no way am I trying to drum up sales or anything.)
You’ll also notice that my publisher smartly appropriated the excellent artwork by Ed Lam that ran with A.O. Scott’s review of the book in the New York Times Book Review, and that the book has a new subtitle: “The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution.” This subtitle is more in keeping with the one I originally had in mind for the book, because it conveys the sense of fun and discovery in the story I’m trying to relate, and positions the book as what I always wanted it to be, first and foremost: an entertainment, not a “food issues” tract. The hardcover carried the subtitle “How We Became a Gourmet Nation,” and while I understand my publisher’s need for a catchy, concise, explanatory tag, I never really make the argument in the book that we have become, all of us in these United States, a gourmet nation. (What’s more, the old subtitle opened me up to critiques from officious wankers who wanted to whinge about obesity and impugn the character of Vanity Fair, for which I do most of my magazine work.)
There will be events and readings related to the paperback launch that I’ll mention in future posts.