Aysha Schurman – The Everything Salad Cookbook

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The Everything Salad Book. The name says it all, the book offers history, methods, tips and recipes for every salad imaginable. It tells you everything you need to know about selecting and preparing the ingredients, as well as how to store and preserve your creations. From fancy gourmet salads with sugared flower petals to easy kid-friendly salads with only four ingredients, I try to cover every variety.

Tell us something about yourself.

After working in swanky cafes through the US and Western Europe, I came home to Idaho. Fusing my passion for food with my passion for writing, I started playing with recipes. My mother and I often argued about who the better cook was because she puts in much more effort, but I put in much more thought. One day, she dared me to enter a recipe contest. So I did. To my surprise, I won. After winning dozens of recipe contests, I figured I was the idiot savant of the lazy cooking world. So, I decided to start taking my food seriously!

What inspired you to write this book?

A love for fresh fruits and veggies, and thus any kind of salad, was my main inspiration. When I was little, my mother couldn’t keep me from gobbling up all the fresh blueberries from the bushes and sweet peas from the garden. My aim was to bring joy back into something as basic as a salad, and show everyone how easy and delicious the results can be. I wanted everyone to fall in love with fresh produce the same way I did when I was little and would sneak those sweet peas.

How did you choose the title?

The title was chosen by my publisher, ready and waiting for me!

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I literally fell into the book on accident. I replied to an ad about a publisher needing recipes, hoping to sell a few of my favorites. Over the course of a few emails, I ended up being offered a book deal. I know many writers want to lynch me for this, but I basically blindly tripped into my book deal.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I knew I wanted to be some sort of writer the first time I saw the TV show Murphy Brown. I knew I wanted to be a hard-hitting journalist that politicians ran away from. However, life is funny in that way. As I matured, I knew I wanted to write, but wasn’t sure about the world of journalism. Over the years, I became a freelance writer, found my niche in food and spread my wings.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I owe my work to Starbucks Coffee. I hate to admit it, but those Mocha Frappuccinos are my lifeblood! My Zen ritual is simply mocha to the left of my screen, snacks to the right and my fingers typing away in the middle.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I learned two main things. First, editors are angels. No matter how many times you proofread a manuscript, you get so used to it that you overlook major errors. Second, actually sitting down and writing a book is much harder than it sounds, but well worth the effort if you live through it.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would start the whole “publicity and social networking” stuff the moment I finished the book!

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m working on several recipes for another collection, yet to be specified.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

As annoying as it is to hear, just keep working! Keep your eyes and ears open, as opportunity can pop up in the strangest places. Try to broaden your horizons as well, looking into every niche that may suit your writing style.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Any bored cook who wants to learn how to make great salads and any parent who needs new ideas to keep healthy food on the family menu. The how-to style is particularly good for young adults living on their own for the first time. It teaches all the basics they need to know for creating healthy meals, or at least more than just Ramen noodles.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?