Cathy Barrow, a.k.a. Mrs Wheelbarrow, is on a roll.
The 55-year-old Washington cooking instructor and food blogger set her sights on becoming a food writer (for pay!) in 2012, after having co-created Charcutepalooza, the preceding Year of Meat in which Barrow devised monthly challenges in preserving and curing that ended with the winner, Peter Barrett of A Cook Blog, spending a fabulous, food-filled week in France.
Before long, Barrow’s byline was appearing in the Food section and in the New York Times’ Dining & Wine — both nice places to kick off a freelance career, with magazine opportunities on the horizon (see Garden and Gun’s Oct/Nov issue). Two of her recipes appear in “The Food52 Cookbook.” The Source executive chef Scott Drewno recently beat a path to her door for a private pickling and preserving tutorial.
Today, she shared the news with All We Can Eat that sometime in late 2014, W.W. Norton will publish “Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry,” her very first cookbook.
Her editor’s big time: Maria Guarnaschelli.
“I am thrilled to be under the wing of an experienced, legendary editor like Maria,” Barrow, already providing Official Author-like quotes to All We Can Eat via e-mail. “She only takes on two or three projects a year. I feel certain she will make this the best book it can be.”
Norton was eager to bring Barrow onboard. Perhaps the editors came to understand the power of her built-in audience through Charcutepalooza, which used the Norton-published 2005 book “Charcuterie,” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, as a guide.
“Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry” will cover water-bath and pressure canning, smoking, brining, curing, confit, fresh cheese-making, fermenting, freezing and dehydrating (okay, I’m tired from just typing all that) and recipes using all those preserved foods, she says. About three-quarters of the canning recipes already have been written and tested two or three times — which wouldn’t surprise those familiar with her three-ring binders and her basement shelves lined with jars and her tireless work ethic.
“I have my work cut out for me,” she says.
Barrow admits to being something of a serial careerist, having been a department store buyer, the owner of a fish market, a trade association consultant, and, most recently, a landscape designer. Here’s hoping she gives the food world a good, long run.