“The idea for the magazine Kinfolk,” Nathan Williams writes in his introduction to The Kinfolk Table, “was born in the course of trying to describe those evenings spent with friends when the hours pass effortlessly, conversation flows naturally, cooking is participatory, and the evening ends with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.” We’ve been huge fans of Kinfolk ever since its inception—not just because of its stunning imagery and down-to-earth writing, but because of this laid back, communal philosophy towards entertaining. Throughout the pages of Kinfolk magazine, it is apparent that the lifestyle being espoused is not one of lofty, exclusive soirees, but of calm, familial gatherings, one where easiness and enjoyment are key. The Kinfolk Table, the cookbook that accompanies Williams’ quarterly lifestyle journal, seems the natural extension of this entertaining philosophy. Within its pages, numerous cooks, artisans, and craftspeople share their own recipes for delicious food and beautifully simple gatherings—a warm antidote to overly-fussy and antiquated ideas of entertaining.
I felt very alone way back when I started eating more clean, whole foods, but I knew there were others out there in the same boat. A journey is always better shared with friends, and I had a binder full of recipes, so starting YumUniverse was my way of connecting with like-minded people, creating more win-win situations, and doing something other than designing for clients. I needed to create something my way, without compromise, share it, and see where it would take me.
I decided that I wanted to go to “a city” when I received my degree in graphic design at a university in West Virginia. My senior year, I went to Chicago for a wedding, fell in love with it, and when I returned to school, got to work contacting the most respected design firms in Chicago. Eventually, I landed a 3-day-a-week contract gig for 3 months at a small boutique firm. I sold my truck, packed up my kitties, and used 80% of what was in my bank account to rent a small apartment in Chicago. From that point forward, momentum snowballed and over the course of 16 years, I was able to work for many of the firms I’d long admired.
Pure Green Magazine is a lovely Canadian print magazine dedicated to stylish green living. This quarterly publication (which is printed on 100% post-consumer paper with vegetable inks) just launched their premier print issue, which focuses on one of my favorite topics: entertaining. In addition to stories on homes, travel and fashion, this issue includes some delicious ideas for cooking. I love being able to flip through pages and tear things out when they look good, and this issue is full of tear-worthy ideas. Click here for more info and to order a subscription online. xo, grace
The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox (Clarkson Potter). [TOP IMAGE ABOVE] I was so looking forward to this book, a collection of recipes which are a bit less common than you’d normally find in American baking books– recipes like like Lamington cupcakes, pine nut tart with rosemary cream, nut and cherry nougat. As a whole, the collection of recipes is elegant- definitely a notch above average. You’d make a great statement if you served one of these recipes to your friends. And although I had a bit of difficulty with the Ultimate Chocolate Brownies (The cooking time didn’t work out for me?), my shortcoming has been like a challenge to me, which has made me want to come back and try more recipes in the book, maybe toward Christmas when I usually try to bake up five to ten different baked goods and give little boxes of mixed goodies to friends as gifts (You always want unique things people haven’t tried before in those gift boxes). For people who like to experiment with different flavors and adapt recipes for different types of desserts, you’ll appreciate the notes after each recipe which offer tips on how to do just that! In sharp contrast with Baking Unplugged, there are plenty of pictures in this book of the final recipes up close, so you can compare and see how your efforts measure up! While the recipes are generally quite easy to execute, this is definitely the type of book for the person who believes that a tiny bit more effort can produce great desserts.
Baking Unplugged by Nicole Rees (Wiley). Baking Unplugged is the hands down winner in my spot recipe testing. The recipes are good, easy, and practical. The simple philosophy behind the book is that you can make great desserts without any electrical equipment (except an oven, of course). The preliminary chapters at the beginning review tools, ingredients, methods, and how to read a recipe. The books chapters are then divided into types of baked goods, with no dearth of explanation of technique. The book is clear and concise, easy to understand. I wish I had had this book when I started out baking. This is a book for anyone who wants to get back to basics in the kitchen, someone who has a small kitchen with only a few tools, someone who is lazy and doesn’t feel like plugging in the equipment. It’s a perfect book for beginners– I am a firm believer in the ‘learn in the manual way’ in order to excel in the automated world. I really really like this book. One last important note– there are no photos at all in the book. But please don’t let this discourage you.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is packed with over 100 recipes for everything from the bakery’s legendary Old Fashioned Cupcakes to S’more Pie, Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds and, one of my favorites, Nanna Pudding. To say that these are Southern comfort foods is an understatement; every single recipe has so much soul and history that they’re as close to a hug from your family as you can get. Whenever I eat something from Back in the Day, I feel like I’m sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen and someone is taking care of me. And that’s just what Cheryl and Griff do — every day they treat their customers to delicious made-from-scratch treats that have been passed down through generations of family bakers who cooked with love. Even the queen of Savannah, Paula Deen, took notice. She wrote a glowing and heartfelt introduction for this cookbook, and if my love-fest for Cheryl and Griff doesn’t convince you, hers will. This is quite simply a cookbook everyone should own. So please, check out The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook online right here and here. Pick up a copy and then pick up another copy for someone else in your life. This really is the sort of cooking that needs to be passed on and shared with people you love. A huge thank you to Cheryl and Griff for being such generous and kind friends to all of us here at D*S. We wish them every single ounce of success in the world. They deserve all of that and then some. xoxo, grace
It manifested into a diagnosis of “IBS,” then “Interstitial Cystitis.” Over the years I had countless testing performed and always left with no answers. No one could tell me why this was happening, and when I was told by the last doc, “you’ll have to be on meds for the rest of your life,” I found that unacceptable and decided to solve this problem myself. I walked right out of the office leaving his prescription on the table.
Living in Italy, I feel quite deprived of world cuisine and therefore have noticed that my collection of books dedicated to helping me satisfy those cravings has grown. Joel’s recipe for porcini tapioca cakes also happened to remind me of “world cuisine” coming all the way from Australia. So I thought I’d do a round up of a few ‘well-rounded’ cookbooks that offer a wide range of cuisine type, just in case you get bored easily. If you’re looking for more mushroom recipes, try A Cook’s Book of Mushrooms by Jack Czarnecki (Artisan). If, instead of mushrooms, you want to try out an easy chutney recipe, see the end of this post! Have you got a favorite cookbook with a wide variety of cuisines under one binding?
Skull Garland DIY: We crafted these charming hanging garlands using Paper Source’s Sugar Skull Gift Wrap, Rhombus Black Paper, and Raised Grey Floral Paper . Skulls were cut out according to the pattern and circles were cut from the other papers. The cutouts were then attached, back-to-back, to black and white twine with a glue stick.