developing an aesthetic

Rhubarb is coming into the markets, summer is just around the corner and I’m five months from my deadline date. Back in October, I started working on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W.W. Norton, 2014.) Whatever I might have thought about writing a book, it’s much harder than I imagined, and much more rewarding. I’m going through old notebooks of recipe scribbles, testing favorite recipes again and again, and writing all the time. I love this process and I can’t wait to share the book with all of you. But testing and writing recipes are just a small a part of making a book. Nothing  happens without a brilliant team. My editor, Maria Guarnaschelli, is bringing her eagle eye to the project – sharpening the focus, […]

Tropical Tart with Homemade Cajeta

It’s been busy around here. Recipe testing takes place twice a week and right after the last dish is washed, I’m up in my office writing writing writing. The book is taking shape and feeling real. The last few days have been incredibly productive and satisfying. I now have two assistants to wash dishes help a few hours a week. This definitely makes me happy and productive. This week, Ally and Maria ventured to the basement shelves and organized everything. They took inventory and grouped similar products together, even alphabetizing! Now, the OCD part of me will rest easy. As the book deadline nears (October.. not that far away,) the produce season ramps up (no pun intended!) and plans for photography get finalized, it’s going […]

canning season starts with a ball jar giveaway

Canning season is starting up. If you’re like me, and a passionate (um, other adjectives have been used…) canner, you’re canning all year ’round, sure, but those first local strawberries, the slim young asparagus, ramps, garlic chives, candy onions – they’re just around the corner and that feels like the first day of school for me. Check Your Gear Pressure canner gauges should be calibrated once a year. Many hardware stores will do this for you. Give the gasket (the rubber ring around the inside rim) a good going over – has it dried out, is it cracking? If so, order a new one, easily found at the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon. This is a good time to check carefully and then scour the […]

cherry blossoms

We visited the cherry blossoms today. As we do most years, we got up before the sun and jumped in the car and ooh’ed and aah’ed our way around our city.     It’s breathtakingly beautiful at the Tidal Basin. It was packed with people who clearly love pink. And, right on time, with all the other trees blooming across this city, the one we planted 13 years ago stands tall and petal-full. Get outside and smell Spring. Feel the sun on your face. Fill a vase with flowers. xoMrsW

Can In: How Home Food Preservers Might Help Fight Hunger

For the last month, I’ve been tinkering in my new community garden plot. I have spent time there toting water, planting garlic and onions, pressing pea seeds into the soil, making drills for lettuce and radishes and spading in raspberry bushes along the back. In England this would be called an allotment, in France a potager. The idea of each, and mine, is to grow enough food to add freshness to the table every single day. I am not a farmer, just a gardener, growing food for my household in a 10’ x 20’ space. For these few weeks, it’s been deeply satisfying to think of this little plot of land and imagine how it might feed us. I’ve been testing recipes for strawberry jam […]

springtime rituals

While it still feels cold and blustery, and we’ve had odd days of significant snowfall, the light is changing to the light of Spring, all lemon yellow and bright, surprisingly strong on the back of the neck when clearing debris from a garden bed. It’s Passover, soon to be Easter. There are daffodils blooming in the back garden, on the pathway where I planted them fourteen years ago. The orange Kaufmanniana ‘Early Harvest’ tulips in the upper garden bloom reliably early and that flash of color dazzles. The front garden beds are filled with pink, yellow and purple hyacinths so a stop at the front stoop is intoxicating. It’s all going to happen now, one area of the yard at a time bursting into bloom. […]