They say “It takes a village to raise a child,” a proverb attributed to many parts of Africa. Well, in my multi-year journey to create and publish Hashcapades: The Art of the Perfect Hash Adventure, I can proclaim that this wise proverb applies to cookbooks as well! What started as a kernel of an idea back in 2007, came to life as part of my personal blog. Interspersed with pictures of holidays, running and travel, my posts about hash were short and simple . Thoroughly obsessed, my hash passion (hashion!) evolved into a dedicated blog in 2010, thanks to the catalyst provided by Julia Moskin’s NYT article, The Humble Plate of Hash Has Nobler Ambitions. Inspired, I swore (not like a sailor) that I would be the first on this rotating orb we call Earth to publish a book dedicated to hash! Writing this post with very modest sales under my belt in August of 2012, 2 weeks after launch, I am profoundly grateful and thankful to my family, friends and gifted professional that made my dream come true. You all read posts, attended hashcapades, sampled hash, created videos, edited copy, designed the book, and helped me plot world hash domination. THANK YOU!
Let’s take a journey back in time and see how this all began…I blame it on Roux, the NE Portland restaurant that served me Smoked Trout Hash in 2007. I had no clue such an amazing hash existed! Over a bowl of Pho, my girlfriend at the time and I were chatting about the publishing industry and I remarked that I could create a book. She challenged me, “On what?” My response was, “Um, hash!” Her quick response was, “Nobody would publish that.” Hmmmm, I love it when someone says I can’t do something – watch me!
Fast forward to June of 2009 and I had a grand total of maybe 4 hashes and decided to pen an intro to my hash masterpiece, which I saved as “Hash Essay 0.5.” Halfway there, Clark, really? I was clueless! By March of 2010 I had 27 pages in my manuscript and 8 recipes. Later that year, I was simultaneously thrilled and panicked by Julia Moskin’s previously mentioned hash article. Was I too late; would somebody beat me to the punch? Clearly, the time had arrived for me to “cowboy up” and take control of my dream – time to crank out recipes, launch hashcapades.blogspot.com and visit Portland restaurants to understand my little village’s concept of hash. My early posts were frankly nothing more than where I went, what the hash was, how it looked in a photo, and a sentence or two on what I thought – yikes!
Now the stakes were higher and I needed a stroke of luck, something to affirm my hash obsession. Luck would come in the form of a reinvented version of Roux’s Smoked Trout Hash. You see, smoked trout is difficult to find in stores, so I substituted smoked salmon for smoked trout, tasted my latest hashcapade and thought, “Clark, you’re onto something tasty.” Well, The Oregonian thought so too as my Smoked Salmon Hash recipe I submitted as a 140-character tweet won 3rd place in their FOODday twitter recipe contest in early 2011! Hashcapades was growing, adapting and thriving and the villagers were starting to take notice.