The Skilled Forager (a book review)
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
I have fond memories of warm summer days spent outside, as a young girl. Our neighborhood had an abundance of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and meadows full of honeysuckle and wild berries. I remember knowing who didn’t mind us nibbling from their yards for a midday treat, and who would yell at us.
Rhubarb was always a favorite. At home, my mother would let us dip it into sugar, but while roaming the neighborhood, we encouraged each other to enjoy this sour snack. My friends and I also pulled carrots out of the ground, brushed the dirt off and ate them while hiding in corn stalks. I know the mothers must have been watching us, hopefully with a smile.
A New Way to Food
Like a favorite book, read several times, this book tends to move throughout my home. Just last week I was talking to a friend, pulled this cookbook from my shelves, and started flipping the pages while recommending it as a gift. This is the cookbook that has taught me more than any other resource in my kitchen.
This morning, Sunday, I got up, walked Phoebe, made myself a latte and opened Instagram. The first photo I saw was Amy Chaplin announcing she is pregnant. Such joy!
What Katie Ate
If you come for an overnight stay in our home, you will find a collection of books on the bedside table. From travel to photography to short fiction. I plan to buy a second copy of the cookbook I’m sharing today, it’s a perfect addition for guest reading. I love imaging family and friends flipping through the pages of this book with a cup of tea, reading recipes and stories from the author’s health journey.
“To love yourself is to feed yourself the very best food you can at every meal. “
Maggie Battista has built a full life for herself as an entrepreneur. She’s a writer, owns a shop, and is a Creative Business Coach - so inspiring.
The perfect dessert for a winter dinner
I, like many… (I’m making an assumption here), have been influenced by all things “in the kitchen” over the last decade thanks to social media. Remember when Martha Stewart and Food & Wine were our everything? I used to read through magazines, ripping out pages. I have a binder with splatter marked pages - recipes collected over the years.
I’m excited to share this cookbook with you. It’s one of my favorites. The author has won - WON - a James Beard award in food photography, and has been nominated for one in general cooking.
The dessert everyone asks for when visiting Pioneers Lane
Last fall I told our son that while old fashion, I wanted a Bundt Pan. I had been listening to an interview about Nordicware, the company, and thought it might be a nice addition for last minute dinner parties. I'm thrilled to tell you that he gave me one for Christmas.
Growing up in Minnesota, I'm familiar with the company but have had no need for a Bundt Pan, just one of the many products they make. What I didn't know was that the Bundt pan was invented by David Dalquist in 1950, the co-founder of Nordicware. While not important to juggling professional commitments with midweek entertaining... it's a fun fact worth sharing.
In the baking community, Bundt's are having a moment. It's likely a second, or third round of popularity and I'm happy to join the fun! Over ten days in January we hosted three dinner parties, creating the perfect opportunity to try making a Bundt.
Finding inspiration in a digital world
Do you remember life before Pinterest? When you had to be invited to join? It was like entering a secret society. I was SO excited when my invitation arrived. Today it's my go-to place for recipes, design ideas, and travel inspiration.
About a year after moving to Pioneers Lane I became friends with someone who inspired me to try baking from scratch. She suggested starting with a crumble, 'they are easy enough.' It was the push I needed to leap into making vs. buying from the local baker.
After the party, a recipe
I'm surprised to tell you that most of my magazine and book reading happens on my iPad or iPhone. Long gone are the days when I was excited to find a copy of a favorite magazine in my mailbox. I have fond memories of devouring every page of a new magazine while curled up on the sofa, or in my reading chair.
These days, I follow favorites publications on social media and receive updates in my inbox - this lets me slowly roll into the day, or taking a few minutes at the end of any day... saving a recipe or finding myself inspired by a travel story. I'm always adding to my Pinterest board.
I want to share one of my favorite go-to recipes with you today. Simple yet full of flavor, a Creamy Christmas Stew.
Why a hot stew in summer?
Well... I have a pantry FULL of produce. A farewell dinner for thirty in our home resulted in a few pounds of potatoes and other vegetables waiting to be eaten. A day later, we cleaned up, and I drove to DC for a professional commitment. A busy week.
Fowl Cay, Exumas
July is starting with a bang. It's hot!
Since moving from Minnesota, I have become a winter gal, but years ago I preferred summer to the arctic freeze.
I have fond memories of my childhood summers. Playing in shadows for hours, meadow picnics by Nine Mile Creek, climbing trees, and enjoying homemade ice cream on a blanket in the evening. Days at Bush Lake, night games, and my dad with his telescope positioned just right, waiting for darkness to fall.
Planning a picnic... for fifty?!
While in Africa we mingled with a group of people traveling through Tanzania, celebrating 'Tom'. A mix of professional and personal friends/family on a African safari for his 70th birthday. This is how we got the idea for Bill's 50th birthday boondoggle.
You may be asking yourself, 'how do they choose just twelve people'.... it started with a list of men playing a significant role in Bill's daily life. Brothers, friendships spanning 25+ years, the men we rely on to help us, guide us, challenge us. And their wives.
Where to host such an event?
After considering several US locations we shifted our search to a vacation destination. Reserving Fowl Cay A YEAR in advance.
Every party needs a theme right? This was fairly easy decision after shifting from heavy appetizers to a rib competition, it's summer... let's have a picnic, simplified. Red and white! We have paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, gingham linens, white and recycled color paper products/utensils. Mix in some music, wine... it will be a fun night.
I read Handmade Gatherings a few months ago and am using this book to guide our dinner party. Reading Ashley English's approach to party planning has me relaxed, open to accepting help, and enjoying every moment. confession: I have a mad crush on her chicken coop, and property.