I grew up in Seattle, a lovely city and a great place. But I always wanted to see New England, and I always wanted to know more about farming.
Hoo boy, did I get my wish when I met and married a maple syrup farmer from Vermont. Travis’s grandfather bought the farm he grew up on. They sugared at a small scale until Travis’s parents moved onto the farm and invested in their own evaporator and sugarhouse the year Travis was born. Today they produce hay, organic maple syrup, and organic grass-fed beef. Becoming involved in the farm has been a crash course in family business-ing and in maple syrup production. Living in Vermont only increased the already deep appreciation I had for fresh, local, authentic foods and those involved in producing them.
These days I am a stay-at-home mom living most of the year in Maine. I don’t think of myself as a cook or a chef. My view of food and cooking is bigger picture than that. For me, “cooking” starts in the forests and pastures. I work on the family maple syrup farm. I work at a local dairy and bring home raw milk, vegetables, and pastured meats. I volunteer at the local food co-op for a discount on grains, oils, and eggs. I garden. I forage. I shop every week at the local farmers’ market. I track all of our spending on food and obsess over the economics of eating. Every day my schedule and pace is set by the kitchen and by our home.
I could go on about shopping my values, about eating to support the world I want to live in. Those things are true, but they are also a little pedantic. What I want to say instead is that my life in my kitchen is just plain fun and rewarding. The bliss of tasting something delicious, the confidence gained when I test out new methods or read up on (and understand!) the chemistry of cooking, the pleasure in eating something grown by myself or a friend, the satisfaction of sitting with loved ones around the table – these are daily joys that I would never want to do without.
And so this blog begins. Inspired by the wood-fired maple syrup and the grass-fed beef of Stannard Farm and all other authentic foods. Committed to exploring the fun and wonder of the kitchen. Determined to discuss the links between our food, our home and health, and our politics.
Check out woodandgrass bi-weekly to read more! Up first…when baking with maple syrup, what is the difference between white flour and whole wheat flour? I’ll test both in the simplest little cookie recipe in the world and share the results. In the coming weeks I’ll also discuss the necessity of perfecting your own variation of a bechamel sauce, the versatility of homemade mayonnaise, and the glory of the autumn apple.