Food tells stories, about both the person who prepares a recipe and the community that enjoys it. So I’m excited to be taking on this weekly food column and share stories and recipes that will have you eating well all year.
If you saw last week’s apple pie feature, you already know that I trace my love of making good food to my childhood. I carried that appreciation with me when I ventured into the wider world. As I circled the globe, I kept my ears open and fork ready for dishes and techniques from local kitchens. Whether it was cinnamon-infused couscous in Morocco, gløgg in Norway, pickled wild mushrooms in Russia or handline-caught tuna aboard a sailboat in the South Pacific, I was ready to learn how the locals were preparing their favorite foods – and to savor every bite.
My career as a writer and editor has been just as varied: music, news, technology, science and most recently, food. When I moved to the Flathead Valley 18 years ago, working from home freed my previous commuting hours to play with food. I immediately sought a CSA, began turning dirt for my own garden and started preserving local produce. It wasn’t long before I was growing hundreds of pounds of fruit and vegetables every summer and canning, baking and cooking with the bounty in the tiny kitchen of my 500-square-foot house.
Five years ago, I combined my loves of food and writing and began the food blog Twice as Tasty. When readers asked for hands-on help making everything from grilled sourdough pizza to masalas to risotto, I started teaching in-person workshops. Next I teamed up with local musicians for evenings of toe-tapping tunes and scrumptious food at house concerts. Each project emphasizes locally sourced ingredients and is driven by the question, “How can I make that from scratch?”
Last year, my hobby blog and supplemental side projects grew new shoots when I was invited to write my first cookbook. “The Complete Guide to Pickling” hit shelves in October 2020. I’m grateful to local bookstores and kitchen shops that immediately stocked it and supported the project, as well as for the attention it has received worldwide. Since its publication, I’ve been writing about food for national online outlets including The Spruce Eats, Clean Plates, Fifth Season and Greatist.
In this column, I plan to share wide-ranging recipes that feature local ingredients and fit our valley’s seasons. Techniques for and stories about getting the most from your homegrown, home-preserved and home-prepared foods will also find their way here. Get ready for a delicious journey.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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