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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! The Talbott & Arding Cookbook (by Mona Talbott with Casey Elsass)

I'm ecstatic to share that Mona Talbott's forthcoming Talbott & Arding Cookbook is officially my 50th book sold. It will be published by Judy Pray and her fantastic team at Workman, an imprint of Hachette.

I met Mona and her wife and business partner Kate Arding when I was an editor at Oxford University Press and they were contributing to The Oxford Companion to Cheese. I've watched their co-owned artisan food market Talbott & Arding triple in size during the pandemic and become Hudson Valley's culinary epicenter since opening in 2014. Bon Appétit, the NYT, and Vogue have praised its rotating selection of seasonally-inspired freshly prepared foods and house-made pastries, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, seasonal produce, and fine provisions, and credit the store with uplifting regional farms and food artisans. The store's groupies include Malcolm Gladwell, Ruth Reichl, Jody Williams, April Bloomfield, Julianna Margulies, and Parker Posey—each of whom (and others) provided heartfelt endorsements for the book proposal.

Talbott & Arding in Hudson, NY after it's big expansion in 2021.

The Talbott & Arding Cookbook reflects Mona's training in sustainable gastronomy and exposure to classic traditions. She has cooked for lumberjacks in the Canadian wilderness, privately cheffed in Bordeaux, learned from prepared foods master Eli Zabar in Manhattan, worked with Alice Waters in Chez Panisse’s legendary California kitchen, and led the Sustainable Food Project in Rome as its Executive Chef.

We envision The Talbott & Arding Cookbook as The Silver Palate Cookbook for the farm-to-table generation. The main chapters are organized by season, broken into Mornings, Afternoons, Evenings, meal Companions, and Sweets. The Spring section, for instance, includes Kedgeree with Kippered Salmon & Poached Eggs in the morning, Ricotta Gnocchi with Ramps, Lettuce & English Peas in the afternoon, and Welcome Home Fish Pie in the evening; a companion dish of Duck Rilette; and a sweet treat of Rhubarb Ginger Galette with Clotted Cream. Each chapter also includes a Cheese Plate featuring the best farmstead cheeses at their peak ripeness. And, because this is a book about sharing meals as much as it is about making them, Gatherings guide readers towards assembling a menu for loved ones from the recipes in each season. This is not a 30-minute one-pot meal book, but rather a cookbook for people deeply in love with food.

With an estimated 130 photos, The Talbott & Arding Cookbook will also be visually stunning, capturing the essence of Hudson Valley agriculture and gastronomy. Included amongst the vibrant food photos will be lifestyle snapshots from upstate New York, like lambing season at Kinderhook Farm, foraging for ramps and fiddlehead ferns in the Catskill forests, sour cherry picking at Fix Brothers Farm, singing to the cows at Churchtown Dairy, ice yachting on the Hudson River, and sledding parties in Mona’s own backyard.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, On the Banks of the Marne, Paris (1938). "When I look at Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of the French couples having a picnic lunch one Sunday on the banks of the Seine, I think of Mona," says photographer Annie Leibovitz.

I'm particularly excited that Casey Elsass will be project managing The Talbott & Arding Cookbook, after the phenomenal job he did working with Jeremy Salamon on Second Generation (out this September from Harvest/HarperCollins).

As Malcolm Gladwell says, "In my family we have a ritual: Every Saturday we all head into Hudson and halfway there my toddler turns to me and says, with great urgency, 'Talbott?' The deliciousness of Talbott & Arding is obvious to anyone, even a three-year-old." I'm thrilled that Mona will soon be able to share this deliciousness with readers far from the Hudson Valley.

Congratulations to Mona and Casey, and their wonderful editor, Judy!

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