Originally Published: Author
Written By: Hillary Fields
A pitch letter I wrote for a client’s non-fiction project while working for a literary agent.
What do you do when it’s your job to eat rich, decadent food, and out of the blue you’re told it might just kill you?
On Valentine’s Day of 2007, pioneering Food Network producer and longtime Gourmet Magazine editor, Georgia Chan Downard, landed in the hospital – the diagnosis, coronary artery disease. Not overweight and not a smoker, she was told that if she wanted to live, she’d have to change her ways. She’d have to eat carefully: low-cholesterol, heart-healthy foods from now on. Georgia’s heart was quite literally broken.
Raised on great Southern cooking on her mother’s side, and steeped in delicious Asian cuisine on her father’s, food was her life. For years, she had worked with renowned chefs such as Sara Moulton, Ming Tsai, Bobby Flay, Dan Barber, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse, had celebrated the world’s finest cuisines and generally lived the life of a committed foodie. When she began to investigate what culinary resources were out there for those with heart disease, what she found was disheartening – there was no book on the market that satisfied her needs. Every book out there offered bland, uninspired, “fake” food. From Dr. Dean Ornish to The Healthy Heart Cookbook, she found recipes as lifeless as they were limited. In the AHA’s own books, she found canned vegetables, powdered seasonings, and lackluster pre-packaged, fat-free ingredients. One cookbook even offered a recipe for chicken soup composed of reduced-fat chicken broth, lemon juice and canned artichoke hearts! Now, any true gourmet lives to eat as much as she eats to live. There was no way she could abide consuming such unappealing fare. Yet as a professional foodie, Georgia had one key advantage – she realized she didn’t have to deprive herself, she just had to get creative.
COOK TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT: When Living for Food Becomes Food for Living is the result of Georgia Chan Downard’s research, experience, and passion for great food. With help from her cardiologist (who is writing the foreword) and a nutritionist (who will vet all of the recipes in the book to ensure they follow the AHA guidelines), she’s come up with 150 quick, easy-to-prepare recipes that are both delicious and have the added benefit of protecting your heart. There are no daunting lists of foods to avoid, and no “mock” recipes filled with low-fat cheese or Baco-Bits here. Instead, COOK TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT offers the layperson powerful information about delectable foods that nurture a healthy heart, discusses sustainable and organic foods, and shows how these foods promote good health. For the first time, COOK TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT presents a heart-healthy cookbook that will appeal to all those who refuse to sacrifice flavor, texture and pizzazz. Reflecting Georgia’s personal journey of a life spent enjoying great cuisine, this book will resonate with anyone who wants to believe heart-healthy food can be a friend, not the enemy. Her personal anecdotes, preparation tips, and well-researched heart-health information are all presented in an approachable way that will connect immediately with a wide variety of readers. Whether you’re recovering from heart disease or living to prevent it, COOK TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT: When Living for Food Becomes Food for Living will offer sensual, stirring food that’s good for the heart and the soul.
Georgia Chan Downard is both attractive and highly media-savvy. Her years with the Food Network and Gourmet mean that she is extremely well-connected and will allow her to do TV, radio press and online publicity, while her editorial experience shows through in her fantastic writing. She was prominently featured on the recent PBS documentary THE MYSTERIOUS HUMAN HEART on the challenges of heart disease. She’s worked as a freelance food stylist, writer and menu developer for Conde Nast, Reader’s Digest, Food and Wine, Self, Vogue and Health, among others. She’s also the writer of seven cookbooks. In 2003, she was named James Beard Food Editor of the Year.
The author is available for meetings. I look forward to hearing from you about Georgia Downards’s wonderful book.