The Crip Up the Kitchen Cover Reveals a Year that Was • Jules Sherred - Author
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The Crip Up the Kitchen Cover Reveals a Year that Was

The Crip Up the Kitchen Cover Reveals a Year that Was

One year ago, on this date, I had “the call.” Today, CRIP UP THE KITCHEN: TOOLS, TIPS AND RECIPES FOR THE DISABLED COOK is off to the printer. And now I get to reveal to everyone the cover that tells the story of how I managed to make it through the longest yet shortest year of my life: by managing my spoons.

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This cover is deceptively simple. It was one of the most difficult parts of this publishing process. And with that difficulty, it is also one of the most rewarding. Behind it, a team that not only championed this book but were also fiercely protective of it and my voice.

And to get to the story of today, we need to start this story one year ago when I had the call with the acting publisher, Tori Elliott.

Going into that call, I had so much trepidation. I spent the day before creating a list of well-over 30 questions. And I only had that one day. I got the email requesting the call on 24 November 2021. The call happened on the 25th. The contract was signed on the 26th.

I had trepidation because as much as I wanted this book to be published, I had some redlines. Choosing TouchWood Editions as the home for CRIP UP THE KITCHEN, not only hinged on how Tori answered specific questions, but it also depended on how I answered her questions.

I knew I had a home with TouchWood when I asked questions about “why this book” and Tori told me that they had dreams of getting funding for a braille edition. I knew I had a home with Touchwood when Tori made sure that I wasn’t appropriating and whitewashing other cultures with my recipe choices. There were also tiny details that told me I wouldn’t be fighting against ableism during this process. At least, I was hopeful that would be the case.

CRIP UP THE KITCHEN COVER (front)

keep reading to see the full cover wrap

A black cover with white text across that top that reads "Jules Sherred." Down the left in big yellow text, one word per line, "CRIP UP THE KTICHEN". Across the buttom in white reads, "TOOLS, TIPS AND RECIPES FOR THE DISABLED COOK." On the right side of the image is a spoon with a drip of honey.

And of course, there was the chemistry. The call was long and fun and easy and casual and personal. Yes, we were entering into a business relationship. But with such an intimate relationship, and one filled with stressful situations, I required a level of rapport and a signal that I can be blunt when the situation requires it.

Nine out of the last 12 months have been spent focusing almost exclusively on getting to this day; the day that CRIP UP THE KITCHEN would go to the printer. I had December 2021 to plan the entirety of 2022 and how I’d effectively manage my spoons. I booked two-week breaks at the end of every quarter. I told my coordinating editor Kate Kennedy about those dates and that I need them to be protected if I was going to survive the year.

And did Kate ever protect my time and my boundaries. She created an editorial calendar around those dates.

Trust me when I tell you that nine months to write, do photography, edit, proofread, another round of photography, another round of proofreading plus creating the index with yet another round of photography, then the mad dash of little but important things needing to be tied up in the final 10 days, such as a third round of proofreading, before files go the printer is a lot. It is a rushed publishing schedule. I absolutely would not have been able to do it if it weren’t for Kate being fiercely protective of my time and my schedule. And beyond mindful of my spoons.

During this time there were also meetings with my in-house PR lad, Curtis Samuel. Curtis and I are just about to embark on our journey together. But we’ve already had one longer meeting where we discussed ways to keep me safe during the marketing and PR process.

Being disabled and trans puts me at multiple forms of risk as visibility for the book increases. It is one less thing to worry about knowing I won’t have to do anything that I am uncomfortable with, and I can say “no” if needed. In an industry where authors are expected to do increasingly more, including putting themselves in harm’s way to market their books, I am fortunate to not have that stress.

I promise I’m getting to the CRIP UP THE KITCHEN cover. Please indulge me just a little bit longer as I talk about my copyeditor Meg Yamamoto who amazes me. Funny (not funny) errors creep into my writing because of aphasia. Some of which are difficult to decipher. But she did. While also handling my voice with care and respect.

Also let me tell you a bit about interior designer Sydney Barnes. She took the time to research neurodivergent-friendly design and implemented what she learned. My proofreader Senica Maltese also helped to make sure my voice was handled with care. And the cover was designed by Jazmin Welch who came in at the 11th hour because, for months, we just couldn’t get jazzed about what we had before the original cover designer went on mat leave.

Let me be clear, what the original designer created was amazing. If it had been any other cookbook, the dozens of amazing covers they designed would have been phenomenal. But CRIP UP THE KITCHEN is more like Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat and less like a collection of recipes with short headnotes.

There were so many meetings about my cover. I lost track of how many. Everyone, both in-house and outside salespeople, became so invested in making sure the cover spoke to the fulsomeness of the contents, and would stand out in a sea of cookbooks. Because people absolutely do judge a book by its cover.

In one of the final meetings I had with Tori, she presented me with three new options for the cover direction. One of those options was text-based. That was my preference which made her happy because it was the in-house preference as well. Think Joy of Cooking but a bolder, chunkier, modern typeface. As I was falling asleep that night, it hit me. The cover should have a spoon on it, because the book is heavily influenced by the Spoon Theory, and I’m a “spoonie.”

The next morning, I emailed Tori with my idea. And that is why there was a third photoshoot at the 11th hour and a mad dash to create the cover you see today. A cover that will stand out in a crowded room. A cover that speaks to the contents of the book. A cover that I love.

A cover that would not have happened if it weren’t for that call one year ago today and the amazing fortune of having a team of people assembled who, just like me, believe in this book.

The full CRIP UP THE KITCHEN cover wrap. From left to right.Left: Back cover inside flap reads "Based in Duncan, BC, Jules Sherred works as a commercial food photographer and stylist, writer, journalist, and outspoken advocate for disability and trans rights. His website Disabled Kitchen and Garden and his cookbook Crip Up the Kitchen were born out of the need to include disabled people in the conversation around food. Visit Jules online at disabledkitchenandgarden.ca, polariscreative.ca, and julessherred.com." Under it is an image of the backside of a Thai basil leave, showing its "lungs". Left-mid: Back cover reads "“There was a time I would easily spend five hours cooking for myself or guests. Cooking brought me so much joy. Then, disability and chronic illness took over, and I couldn’t cook. I hated it. Over time, I began to discover products and developed strategies that allowed me to reclaim the kitchen. I created recipes that would not only feed my body but also my soul. I felt that joy, once again. There is a saying, ‘Nothing about us without us.’ Join me in reclaiming the heart of the home—and the word crip—to celebrate the things that make us disabled at any age and every stage.” —JULES “So much more than a cookbook! It’s an empathetic and expert guidebook full of tips, tricks and recipes that helped this disabled senior safely equip and organize my kitchen, then plan, prep, cook, store, and enjoy tasty meals. Embracing the diversity of food and the diverse energy levels of aging with a disability, it’s a must-have to help seniors stay in their homes longer.” —DOROTHY ELLEN PALMER, AUTHOR OF FALLING FOR MYSELF" Under the text is an antique scale filled with various vegetables. "TOUCHWOODEDITIONS.COM COVER DESIGN BY JAZMIN WELCH COVER PHOTOGRAPHS BY JULES SHERRED CRIP UP THE KITCHEN JULES SHERRED $30 US / $35 CDN Middle: The spine reads "CRIP UP THE KITCHEN. Jules Sherred." Right-mid: Front cover reads "JULES SHERRED. CRIP UP THE KITCHEN: TOOLS, TIPS AND RECIPES FOR THE DISABLED COOK". There is an image of a spoon running vertical. Right: Front cover flap reads "cripping / crip up: A term used by disabled disability rights advocates and academia to signal taking back power, to lessen stigma, and to disrupt ableism as to ensure disabled voices are included in all aspects of life. The kitchen is the most ableist room in the house, but with three key tools—the electric pressure cooker, air fryer, and bread machine—Jules Sherred strives to make it an accessible and enjoyable space for the disabled and neurodivergent cook. Crip Up the Kitchen includes 50 recipes, guidelines for pantry prep, meal planning, shopping, kitchen organization, and tips for cooking safely, all taking into account varying physical abilities and energy levels. Organized from least to greatest effort (or from 1 to “all your spoons,” for spoonies), beginning with spice blends and bases, Jules presents thorough, tested, inclusive recipes for making favourites like butter chicken, Jules’s Effin’ Good Chili, Thai winter squash soup, roast dinners, matzo balls, pho, samosas, borshch, shortbread, lemon pound cake, and many more. Jules provides a step-by-step guide to safe canning, a template for prepping your freezer and pantry for post-surgery, rich accompanying photography and food histories, complete nutritional information, and rigorously tested methods. If you’ve craved the economy and satisfaction of cooking at home but been turned off by the ableist approach of most cookbooks—this one’s for you!"

The full CRIP UP THE KITCHEN cover wrap

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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