...And I am Happy

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When I was a girl I used to curl into quiet corners of our house and read until my eyelids grew heavy. Or I would curl into those same corners and dream up stories.

Reading and writing have always been loves of mine. When asked, I would tell people I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

And then I grew up.

And I become a chef, and then a teacher, and then a TV host.

And I was happy.

Nearly years ago, right after Southern at Heart was cancelled, I decided to try writing again. I wanted to create a cookbook that had nothing to do with being on TV and everything to do with celebrating the love I had grown up with and the love I had found since then.

And so I started on Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy.

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Creating the recipes went quickly.

We ate at home every night and invited friends over to sample my tests, but all-in-all the process was half-fun, half-science experiment.

People focus on the vegetarian entrées, but the truth is the side dishes and desserts are also vegetarian-friendly—possibly without seeming to be so.

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The hardest part of the process was the photo shoot.

All the beautiful, scrumptious photographs are created by a team of talented people, sweat, long hours, and...

...an army of napkins and tea towels and an array of vintage kitchen wares...

...also, tiny, small, and medium bowls in all shapes and all sizes—but just one of each.

And more wooden surfaces, cutting boards, or faux wood vinyls than I knew what to do with.

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Tomorrow the cookbook is released in bookstores.

You will find my photograph on the pages, my memories in the words, and my name—Damaris Phillips—on the cover.

I think this makes me the writer I always wanted to be when I grew up.

And I am happy.

See what everyone made ♥