No matter how hard you try, every book always manages to come up short in one way or another: a photo not quite right, a typo on page 7, someone's name spelt wrongly.
But, once a decade, everything works. With us here at Estragon Press, it worked out right eleven years ago, when we published our first ever cookery book, Pizza Defined, by Bernadette O'Shea.
Ms O'Shea was at the height of her powers. Her restaurant, Truffles, in Sligo, was packed every night, her cooking was the stuff of legend – it is still possible to talk about her food with complete strangers you might meet and who ate there, even though she closed a decade ago.
The photographer, Mike O'Toole, was beginning to make his name as the most exciting talent in food photography, assisted by his wife, Anne Marie Tobin.
And Nick Cann, the designer, came up with a design template for the book that was cutting edge then, and remains cutting edge today.
Together with this team of talents, we managed to make a book that quickly became regarded as the definitive book on pizza cookery. Pizza Defined had all the hallmarks of a timeless book, as good as books by Richard Olney, or Denis Cotter, or Paula Wolfert. It was concentrated, studious, idiosyncratic and ahead of its time, and happily the book was warmly received.
But when its print run was sold, we discovered that the plates used to make the book had gone awol. So, this little beauty simply went to sleep.
Fast forward, then, to the digital age, when you can magically re-originate books from the original text, and we are delighted to say that Pizza Defined is back on the shelves, in a beautiful new edition.
Age has not withered it. Ms O'Shea's meticulous devotion to her cooking has meant that no pizza book published since PD has matched her inventiveness. Working on the book up in Sligo, Bernadette seemed to simply pull new ideas out of the ether, adding them to the recipes that made Truffles such a classic destination, and I think the book still feels spontaneous, inspired, concocted on the spot – it was tested and photographed in just 2 days, believe it or not.
So, Pizza Defined is back for the new century, and we hope you enjoy it. Available in all good book shops @€20, as they say, and you can also buy it via www.bridgestoneguides.com.