From the Introduction
I’m sure that, for some of you who have gotten to know me through my previous books, it might be hard to imagine me outside of the bakery. Even those who know me personally are probably quicker to associate me with cake and pie than meatloaf and soup. I am, after all, the “Butter Lady.” But bakers, like all humans, can’t live on sweets alone. And my passion for baking really stems from my passion for all food, and for using food as a way to connect with others. I find that offering someone a meal, a snack, or simply a cookie is like starting an edible conversation when the chaos of everyday life prevents me from finding the words. Popcorn and grilled cheese sandwiches were a way for me to make small talk with the older boys when I was young, just as a big piece of lasagna and a glass of wine ask Paul to tell me about his difficult day now. Remembering to prepare India’s favorite dinner every year for her birthday is just one of the million ways I tell her I love her, and so much tastier than words alone. Cooking for others has always been my way of communicating and demonstrating how I feel, and in a world chock-full of different skill sets, it’s quite literally what I can bring to the table.
My hope is that you’ll find the recipes in this book as delicious and satisfying as they are straightforward and achievable. I truly believe that even the most novice cook can find success with my recipes—for if cooking is a language, I try to avoid the big words. Given how busy everyday life can be, I don’t believe that a comforting home-cooked meal should complicate it further. So I’ve got my fingers crossed that somewhere on these pages, you’ll discover a favorite new dish (or two, or three . . . ), and that you will be inspired to set the table, call for those you love to join you, and start a conversation of your own.