Long-time Henderson resident, William ‘Bill’ Byrne, has presented the literary world his gift of delicious and nutritious recipes in his self-published book Nutritious, Delicious & Fast: Recipes for Your Healthy 21st Century Lifestyle.
Fifteen years ago, a desperately unhealthy Byrne took the most frightening trip imaginable as he drove himself to the emergency room while suffering a heart attack. He was immediately sent by ambulance to Tyler, where a life-saving stent was placed in his artery.
Six years later, that stent blocked completely and he was told the only option was drug therapy. His cardiologist recommended he make some much-needed changes, especially in his diet and advised he buy a book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman called Eat to Live.
Fear of death or a lifetime filled with pharmaceutical drugs spurred Byrne into real action and he set down the path to mastering the creation of delicious meals that his heart could love as much as his palate.
After her passing, Byrne’s mother, Joyce, left behind an index box full of much-loved family recipes. These beloved cards became a cookbook written posthumously by his mother and were the basis for much of his healthy fair.
Most were adapted to reduce the amount of dairy and oils used, and salt is almost completely absent from every recipe in the book. Byrne, along with his grandchildren and other family members, spent five years developing and adapting every recipe he could find into a more nutritious version of the original.
With these adaptations and an old family recipe, Byrne’s Super Good Seasoning was created. This salt replacement blend is “15% salt and 100% taste,” said Byrne of his flavorful concoction.
When asked if he cooked every meal included in the book he verified that he has, in fact, prepared or tasted every recipe. Over a six week period, during the creation of the cookbook, Byrne and, significant other, Diana would pair up and cook multiple recipes. During these marathon cooking sessions local amateur food photographer, Kelli West Potts, would plate and photograph the delicacies.
Byrne, with the help of his then-assistant Gayle Hearn, created the digital version of the cookbook and chose the avenue of self-publication. Any other publication option would have left no opportunity for profit margin, according to Byrne.
The day before New Year’s Eve and a pre-planned vacation, the first 1,000 copies of the book were delivered directly to Byrne’s doorstep. After a book signing at the Lil Red Store, in Henderson, he is planning to work with a national distributor out of Nashville; hoping to have copies of the book available in major book retailers and online vendors.
In response to an inquiry about plans for a potential follow up, Byrne asked, “Do I have plans to give birth again?” The answer was not no.
He recounted a conversation with a close friend in Chicago, an author himself and owner of two eateries. Byrne provided his compatriot a copy of the manuscript and he quickly responded that he had to cut it down. He informed him that there was enough content for two books. Byrne did some editing and drastically reduced the scale of the book.
Proving his friend right, he’s been left with enough content for a second release. The initial process for publishing this first book has been daunting enough that Byrne isn’t quite ready to dive back into that particular foray but he does not completely discount the notion either.
With yet another skill to ingest, Byrne is now diving into the marketing aspect of the process. He sees no opportunity to rest in the near future but with his healthy meals and active lifestyle, Byrne has the fuel needed to go the distance.