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"Big Food, Big Love"

BigFood_CoverOne of Seattle's restaurant gems is a cozy place called The Wandering Goose, known for their gorgeous pastries and hearty biscuit breakfasts. 

I recently indulged in a massive amount of good food there (see photos at the end) and met with chef/owner Heather L. Earnhardt to talk about her first cookbook, Big Food, Big Love.
*Big Food, Big Love was an editors' pick for the Best Cookbooks of the Month


Seira Wilson: What was your favorite thing about writing Big Food, Big Love?

Heather L. Earnhardt: My favorite thing was telling the stories. For me a cookbook should read more like a memoir, where you trace the roots of someone from the beginning to the end and find out how they got to where they are, because I think everyone has an interesting story of how that happens.

SW: Is there one [cookbook] that you modeled your book after?

HLEJohn Gorham's Toro Bravo cookbook was an inspiration to me.  He talks about his mom having him at fifteen and then she got in a car accident, got addicted to prescription pills and then she died—his upbringing of moving around and picking up little bits of everything here and there, to me that's so much a part of what makes him who he is as a chef and I really related to his story.

SW: Besides running a restaurant and writing the book, you've also got several kids at home—are they good recipe testers?

HLE: We have five kids at home, 7,8, and 9 and two teenagers, 15 and 16, so it's pretty crazy!  When I was testing everything for the book there was so much food… and they eat really well regardless—they don't realize it but when the teenagers leave for college they're going to be like, damn…

SW: Is that how your cakes got to be so giant? (I love the giant cakes)

HLE: For my pastry style, I'm self-taught, I was by my granny's side watching her bake in the kitchen and I always gravitated towards things that were really rustic, things that tasted really good but weren't as refined.  So big flavor and just big.  So it makes an impression.

SW: Is that a Southern thing? Big in the South?

HLE: I think it is! I think it's because we grew up eating so much, but the majority of it, especially in the summertime, was vegetables.  So you'd have eight or nine different vegetables and maybe a little ham or fried chicken but the majority of what we ate was vegetables because a lot of things grow there.  Fried okra was my favorite vegetable and still is.  People think it's slimy but it's not, you've just got to fry it right.

SW: What's your favorite biscuit?

HLE: The Easy with Sausage is my favorite, the sausage reminds me of the Neese's sausage we grew up on, we'd buy it in a little square.  When we were testing sausage for The Wandering Goose I tried to get the spice mix as close to what that memory was for me.     My kids and lots of customers love The Sawmill.  Fried chicken, gravy, and a biscuit all at once…

SW: What do you hope people take away from reading and using Big Food, Big Love?

HLE: I think a lot of it is just to cook.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  It can be challenging if you want it to be but the main thing is just to cook for your family, cook for your friends.  Don't make it into a big thing where you have the right equipment or the right plates or matching silverware--it should all just be funky and fun.  And it shouldn't be just on just a weekend, it should be on a Tuesday night.  Just really good tasting food that's not that hard to make, where you eat a lot and you share it with people.  It's country cookin'.  That's what granny did and there was always enough.  It should just be about feeding people and having a good time.

Photos from this visit to The Wandering Goose:


BigFood_cakes BigFood_CakeSliceBook_crop











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