Today we're hanging out with Elizabeth Stark, one half of the wife-and-husband blogging duo behind Brooklyn Supper. The former Brooklynite now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she indulges in seasonal eating, often with produce fresh from her garden. If there's anything that makes me regret my balcony-less urban life, it's reading about a garden like Elizabeth's. Luckily, there's plenty else on Brooklyn Supper to distract me. For example, link roundups! (Loyal P/P readers know how much I love roundups.) Then there are recipes like mixed berry coconut cream parfaits and mango freakin' guacamole. With recipes like that, it's no wonder I come back to Brooklyn Supper again and again.
Read on to get to know Elizabeth!
What is your all-time favorite book?
It’s impossible for me to pick a single favorite, but Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell [P/P pairing], Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, and anything by Ha Jin would all top my list.
What meal do you love to cook?
I love cooking for friends. Setting aside the time to create a thoughtful menu, shop for ingredients, and then cook something interesting or comforting for the people I care about is one of my very favorite ways to spend time. I get super stressed out and frazzled in the kitchen sometimes, but I secretly love all the chaos just before everyone sits down to a big meal.
What is your favorite food scene from a book?
Though it’s not technically a scene, I love the chapter in An Everlasting Meal entitled “How to Boil Water.” In it, Tamar Adler writes beautifully about one of the most fundamental acts of cooking. I so admire her economical writing style, and am really in awe of her ability to paint something as fundamental as a pot of boiling water in such a new and surprising light.
Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee, with a splash of cream.
What is the last book you abandoned?
1491 by Charles C. Mann. It’s a fascinating look at the Americas just before the arrival of Columbus, and I’m really hoping to get back to it.
Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?
Edward Gorey? I’d imagine a huge table and lots of pomp, not to mention wonderfully acerbic wit. I’m pretty sure frog legs, snails, and baked Alaska would be on the menu. I’d also be hoping for a really elaborate layer cake.
Where do you go to find new recipes?
I’m always inspired by publications like Bon Appétit, as well as smaller mags like Cherry Bombe, Remedy Quarterly, and Diner Journal. I also tend to find inspiration in whole ingredients; I’ll run across a new food at the market and then look for ways to prepare it often, a quick Google image search is enough to get me excited.
Where do you go to find new reads?
My husband [and blogging partner] Brian is a voracious reader, so most of my book suggestions are filtered through him. And I always have an eye on new cookbooks and food writing, usually discovered through a handful of favorite blogs and browsing at my local bookstore.
Tell us about your blog — the inspiration for it, why you blog, and your favorite aspects.
Brooklyn Supper focuses on local, seasonal ingredients prepared in simple, tasty ways. Though I really love elaborate meals, the blog focuses on more pared down creations with robust, of-the-moment flavors. Through the blog, I hope to motivate home cooks to learn more about their own local food systems and make connections with the small farmers growing food in their region. Though I never expected it, one of my favorite things about blogging is the community I’ve found. It’s so wonderful to have so many like-minded friends around the world — some I’ve met one or two times, and some I’ve never even spoken with, but we’re all friends nonetheless. It makes the world feel like a smaller, better place.
What are your favorite blogs, and why?
This is such a good time for food, imagery, and food writing that it’s really tough to choose. Laura of The First Mess brings an incredible vitality to her words and photos. I also really love the fresh perspective and southern slant that Elliott and Fred bring to F for Food. Other favorites include The Vanilla Bean Blog [ATTW interview], Lottie + Doof [ATTW interview], Turntable Kitchen, Autumn Makes and Does, Yummy Supper, and My Name is Yeh [ATTW interview].