Recipes from Land and Sea

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Cooking -

An­nemarie Ahearn, Roost Books, Hard­cover $35 (240pp) 978-1-61180-332-7

When An­nemarie Ahearn was a teenager, she was dis­mayed by her par­ents’ de­ci­sion to re­lo­cate from Wis­con­sin to build a house on a boggy for­mer sheep farm on the Maine coast. Ahearn’s post-col­lege mind­set mor­phed over time, and even­tu­ally she planned a cooking school and demon­stra­tion farm on her par­ents’ land. Salt Wa­ter Farm, named af­ter an E. B. White es­say, is the happy re­sult, where Ahearn teaches, for­ages, cul­ti­vates, and hosts sold-out monthly sup­pers for twenty.

Each of these feasts fea­tures lo­cally sourced foods and New Eng­land fla­vors, and hon­ors as­pects of Na­tive Amer­i­can sym­bol­ism. Jan­uary’s Full Wolf Moon sup­per re­in­forces grat­i­tude for warm hearths and bel­lies full of com­fort­ing, slow-cooked foods redo­lent of cream, cin­na­mon, and cit­rus, whereas Au­gust’s Full Corn Moon cel­e­brates a ri­otous veg­etable bounty that calls for a sim­pler touch in the kitchen. Clearly ex­plained recipes for ev­ery sup­per course, from cock­tails to desserts, are en­hanced with pho­tos of the fin­ished re­sult, and oc­ca­sional side­bars add in­for­ma­tion on cooking meth­ods and recipe vari­a­tions.

What makes this cook­book so dis­tinc­tive, how­ever, is Ahearn’s thought­ful writ­ing. Her in­tro­duc­tion to each monthly sup­per chap­ter is an ode to the rhythm of the sea­sons on the New Eng­land coast, to the area wildlife, live­stock, and plants, and to sea­sonal chores. It is clear that her menu mojo is keenly at­tuned to these in­ter­con­nec­tions. Her be­gin­ning chap­ter, “How to be a Grace­ful Host,” is also a sen­si­tively writ­ten play­book for re­plac­ing the fraz­zle with or­derly pro­gres­sion of kitchen prep and the sim­ple joy of hav­ing an un­in­ter­rupted day of cooking capped with the re­ward of feed­ing oth­ers well at your ta­ble.

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