Were you looking forward to making a fried bologna sandwich loaded with crisp vinegar-brined potato chips?
Or whipping up deviled egg tostadas with salsa macha?
You may have to dive to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
That is where copies of the cookbook “Turkey and the Wolf” — named for the popular New Orleans restaurant and containing such recipes — could be sitting. The publisher isn’t entirely sure.
The books, which were supposed to be available next month, were on their way from Singapore to New York aboard the Madrid Bridge, a container ship.
On Jan. 7, the ship experienced a container collapse that caused dozens of units to tumble into the sea, according to Ocean Network Express, the transportation and shipping company that operates the vessel.
“I have some wild and unfortunate cookbook news,” Mason Hereford, author of “Turkey and the Wolf” and owner of the restaurant, said on Instagram earlier this week, announcing the accident.
Also on the ship were about 50,000 copies of “Dinner in One,” a cookbook written by Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer and columnist, who said she learned of the collapse from her editor last week.
She said that the strange incident felt in keeping with the string of tumultuous events that had defined this era.
“Of all the things that we’ve been through in the past few years, I wasn’t surprised,” Clark said Friday. “Of course this happened. Of course this happened to my book.”
About 60 containers went overboard, and 80 were damaged during the collapse, Ocean Network Express said in a statement.
“There were no injuries or fatalities reported and there was no loss of containers with dangerous cargo,” Nick Roe, a spokesperson for the owners of the ship, said in a statement.
A “significant swell” occurred at the time of the accident but the company said the “root cause” of what happened remained under investigation.
Hundreds of millions of containers are transported by sea every year. While units rarely fall into the ocean, such accidents can occur during severe weather and in rough seas, according to the World Shipping Council, which together with other organizations in the industry published a report on the phenomenon.
In 2014, a Danish ship lost more than 500 containers when the vessel ran into hurricane-force winds at sea.
On average, 1,382 containers are lost at sea every year, according to a 2020 report by the council.
Hereford said that he learned that his books had been on the ship when a representative from the publishing company Ten Speed Press called him late last week to tell him about the collapse. He recalled that the representative began with the news that nobody was killed.
“When you lead with ‘No one was hurt’ you’re like, ‘What are you about to say?’” Hereford said Friday.
The representative explained that it was not clear whether the books had fallen into the ocean, were in one of the damaged containers or were safe in one of the unaffected containers.
Whatever their fate, it was unclear when the ship would be able to unload any of the remaining merchandise, Hereford said. The ship is currently docked in Charleston, South Carolina, where it is being inspected, according to Ocean Network Express.
“I wasn’t computing that the book was going to be delayed until I finally asked, ‘Does the book come out in time?’” Hereford said.
She replied: Absolutely not.
Hereford said the release date of his book has been pushed to June.
Clark’s book is now expected to come out in September, a delay that she said she is taking in stride.
“I think it’s important to stress that humans weren’t hurt, just merchandise,” she said.
Clark said that she worried about the reactions from people who had already ordered copies of her book. But when she announced the delay on Instagram, people responded with sympathy and jokes.
“Lucky fish,” wrote one person. “Poor the rest of us.”
Hereford made light of the mishap, posting several memes on Instagram. One of them, a play on the movie “Titanic,” showed actress Kate Winslet floating on a door in the icy-cold water. But instead of Leonardo DiCaprio clinging desperately to the door, as he does in the film, it was a copy of Hereford’s book.
Hereford said he spent his entire Saturday night coming up with memes.
“I was up until 2 in the morning and having the time of my life,” Hereford said. It was easy to find humor in a situation that before the pandemic would have felt calamitous, he said.
“The world is just one crisis after another,” Hereford said. “If one of the crises is ‘Hey let’s reschedule the book,’ it seems pretty far down on the list of major problems the world is going through.”