We have had so much fun on this project, combing through our archives to find recipes that sounded delicious and interesting and ripe for revisiting, and then testing and updating them as needed. We got to taste foods we hadn’t eaten since childhood, like turkey Tetrazzini and chicken and dumplings, and revisit old recipes that should have never been forgotten, like crisp-chewy waffle iron brownies and cheese woodchuck. I was able to research the stories behind the recipes, writing each one up in expanded head notes at the top of each page.
Then we got to work with a talented team of stylists and photographers led by art director Lori Pedrick to make the beautiful pictures that you see here.
There’s a joke that often goes around professional test kitchens, saved for the moment when everyone gathers to taste a dish and offer feedback. “Did you remember to add the love?” someone will ask if the recipe isn’t quite right and no one can figure out why. Or, if the dish is perfect, someone might exclaim,”You can taste the love!”
This book is full of love, both our love of doing it, and the love that seemed baked into the recipes themselves. The food in these pages is part of a tradition of great American home cooking, the kind of that people have made for family or friends for generations. This is gathering food, heritage food. Yes, our sensibility is a bit sentimental and nostalgic. But I think that’s part of what draws people to the table beyond physical hunger, that longing to feel connected to the people who came before us and to memory. And so we hope you’ll get yourselves a copy and then sit down with the book for a little while. Read the stories behind the recipes and think about your own food heritage. Then send us your own recipes! Who knows? They may even inspire our next book…