When it came to writing a book about lunch, we knew immediately who to turn to. Olivia Mack McCool has been working with us as a recipe developer and food stylist since we launched Dovetail Press, and needless to say, she never ceases to amaze us with her creativity and sheer knack for deliciousness. (But don't take our word for it—beyond our books, she's also done work for the likes ofBon Appétit, Equinox, Phaidon,Food52andThrillist, among others!)
One of the first things we noticed about Olivia is that she never eats the leftovers lying around on a photo shoot. She always has a lunch plan—chock full of delicious vegetables and always with some sort of genius sauce, seed sprinkle or other twist.
So as we geared up to launch the cookbook, we sat down with Olivia to get her take on why the world is ready for a better way toLunch!
When you began writing the book, what did you want to accomplish?
I always wanted it to be very clear how it all pulls together, even before you've read the recipes. At the beginning of each chapter, you get a snapshot of what's coming—your menu, your grocery list and a quick overview—without ever reading a recipe. And I'm very proud that while the ingredients are all high-quality and on-trend, we made sure you can get them at any American supermarket.
What do you feel like this book captures that others don't?
The grocery shopping and prep sections speak to how smart cooks actually get it done. Even professional chefs don't cook from scratch every night. And if you hate grocery shopping—no problem, I made it as easy as possible for you (and there's always Fresh Direct!). Best of all, you won't waste food. These recipes will not have you buying a whole bunch of scallions and only using one.
What is your definition of healthy?
For me, it's about eating real foods. You can eat high-quality fats, gluten, dairy, meat—but all in moderation. There are meals that give us better energy and more nutrients, and they are typically made from whole, fresh ingredients. So it's really about self-care, and if you do it for other people, it's an act of love and service.
What is the big takeaway you hope readers get from the book?
Even if you only make it through 3 or 4 days each week, that's amazing! I guarantee you will feel better, because home-cooked food is so different from restaurant food or takeout. Plus, you're going to make your coworkers jealous—so be ready for that!