Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

Here's the cover art for the book. Kudos to designer Lisa Hamm at Columbia University Press, who designed this retro tribute to an all-American comfort food.

Peanuts, peanut butter, even peanut flour -- All-American foods. (American Peanut Council photo)

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The Creamy and Crunchy Blog

Welcome Two New Pages to the Website!

August 6, 2012

Tags: media page, events page, peanut butter, creamy and crunchy

With November 27, publication date, not really that far off, I'm working on making the website pub-date ready. This week, that's meant adding a media page, which provides information to denizens of the media who might like to write or broadcast about my peanut butter magnum opus, and an events page, which lets members of the public know where and when I'll be hawking the book in public.

Although a few appearances will probably be added, you'll notice that (more…)

In Which the Author Goes Back East

July 23, 2012

Tags: Columbia University Press, Kramerbooks, Peter Barrett, Carol Eisner, the whole gang at CUP

On a recently concluded trip to New York and Washington D.C., I did some book-related business.

In New York, I visited Columbia University Press. Nothing says "published author" quite like having a publisher to visit. The office is in a great location, between Central Park and Lincoln Center.

Senior manuscript editor Irene Pavitt was my gracious hostess, introducing me to Managing Editor Anne McCoy; Designer Lisa Hamm (who did the great cover); Art Director Julia Kushnirsky; Techie Par Excellence Greg Lara; Lowell Frye, the (co-) master of the Tweets; my editor, Jennifer Crewe; and her assistant, Kathryn Schell -- see, it's all positive, Kathryn :)

I also got to spend some time with (more…)

I've Hired a Publicist

July 7, 2012

Tags: Carol Eisner, publicity, marketing, promotion, selling gazillions of copies, Columbia University Press, Peter Barrett

In order to give "Creamy and Crunchy" its place in the sun, I've hired publicist Carol Eisner (following hard-fought negotiations over arugula at Trattoria Farfalla) to help promote it. Carol is a talented and experienced publicist who has worked at KCET (which was the public television station in Los Angeles) and Paramount; she's now independent.

Among the books she's promoted are (more…)

More "Creamy and Crunchy" News Briefs

June 13, 2012

Tags: peanut butter, creamy and crunchy, index, Aaron Bobrow-Strain, galley proofs

The Peanut Butter Express is heading for the publication station. Although Thanksgiving will come and go before the book is out, there are several developments to report:

* We've gotten another blurb, from Aaron Bobrow-Strain, author of "White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf." He said (and I quote): (more…)

News Briefs from the World of "Creamy and Crunchy"

May 25, 2012

Tags: galley proofs, indexer, cover art, publication date

Publication is still six months off, but things are percolating on a variety of fronts:

* The manuscript has just gone to the indexer, Ruth Elwell, who has worked for Farrar, Straus, Giroux. That's as good as commercial American publishing gets.

* I've just received the galley proofs (the next-to-last stage of the book before actual bookdom). My mission is to look for typos and do any last-minute fiddling with the manuscript that I can get away with.

* The publisher has tweaked the cover art. I didn't react well to it initially, but (more…)

Copy Editing (Almost) in the Rearview Mirror

April 20, 2012

Tags: copy editing, Columbia University Press, peanut butter

Copy editing is a necessary if not always enjoyable part of writing a book.

The copy editor puts the book in house style (which at Columbia University Press is the University of Chicago Manual of Style), tightens the manuscript up, and looks at the manuscript as a civilian rather than an adept, and can thus get the author to explain things he might have unjustifiably assumed readers already knew.

Sometimes, though, (more…)

We Have Cover Art!

March 22, 2012

Tags: peanut butter, cover art, creamy, crunchy, book jacket design

I just got the cover art from my editor Jennifer Crewe in the e-mail today, and I think it perfectly captures the spirit of the book. I particularly like the few globs of peanut butter falling away from the bite area: this is a realistic half-peanut butter sandwich, not an idealized one. It's another milestone on the road to publication.

The First Robin of Publicity

February 18, 2012

Tags: peanut butter, publicity, Occidental College

I was interviewed last week by Dick Anderson, editor of the Occidental College alumni magazine, about the book (I've got an A.B. in English Lit., class of '74). It was the first interview I've done for "Creamy and Crunchy," which will be in bookstores in October. The article will appear in December, and with luck, will help sales (plus give me a chance to show off in front of my classmates).

All sorts of famous and important people have attended Occidental (including (more…)

Mark Your Calendars: We Have a Pub. Date!

January 27, 2012

Tags: pub. date, October 2012, peanut butter, Columbia University Press

Columbia University Press tells me "Creamy and Crunchy" will be published in October. The journey I began in early 2006 will culminate in your neighborhood bookstore just in time for Halloween (let's hope it turns out to be a treat and not a trick).

In publishing, there are two seasons: fall and spring, and "Creamy and Crunchy" is going to be a fall book. In effect, it will also be a Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa book. As such, I'm counting on each of you to buy a few bazillion copies (okay, just one, but tell your friends).

It's a great relief to have the finish line in sight. Despite what I said in my last blog post, we haven't begun the copy editing yet because of... (more…)

Next Up: Copy Editing

January 6, 2012

Tags: Columbia University Press, copy editing

By the end of January, Columbia University Press will assign a copy editor to go over the manuscript of "Creamy and Crunchy" and give it a final polish before it goes out to meet an unsuspecting public (which won't be until the fall, but why wait until the last minute?).

Let's hope I get a good copy editor. On my first book, I drew the unemployed novelist husband of my editor, and things got rough. Columbia doesn't seem to be big on nepotism, so I'm looking forward to a positive experience. Just to be on the safe side, though, wish me luck.

Selected Works