The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook
Lorna Yee is getting a lot of press lately--and for good reason. Her new cookbook The Newlywed Kitchen is making an enormous splash. (Amazon.com was sold out before it was even released last month.)
A while back, I asked Lorna if she needed a photographer for her cookbook and offered my professional services. She declined my offer politely because a) she was already using Kathryn Barnard (who did a fine job, by the way) and b) she didn't know me (or my work) from Eve! But I just had to ask because I'd been following her blog, The Cookbook Chronicles, for a while and loved the mission of the book. I've always wanted to shoot for a cookbook, and Lorna's book seemed exactly like my kind of book, involving both food and couples. (For those who don't know, I also shoot weddings.)
Over the months, we've gotten to know each other better, and I've come to admire her dedication (she put the book together in essentially three-and-a-half months!), her strength (she is humble and yet driven), and her character (she is just plain nice). She also has one of the most contagious laughs EVER, and is fall-down-punch-drunk in love with her dog, Kimchee.
There's so much to read about Lorna's culinary adventures on her blog and elsewhere, but first, you should start here. I think it helps to know the person behind the art, and this tiny slice into her life is a painfully beautiful one.
She came here from British Columbia because of love, and now calls Seattle home. She's been a big contributor to this city, writing a plethora of articles for Seattle Magazine. Just look at this exhaustive list. Though she might be a transplant, Seattle most definitely now claims her as our own.
I went through her cookbook, page by page, as soon as it arrived in my mailbox. When all was said and done, I'd dog-eared 22 recipes. I've tasted four of them so far (two made by other people, and two made by me) and each one was great. Most seem to have a lovely twist to a more traditional recipe. The book also has depth--which is somewhat unique for a cookbook--as it has an agenda: inspiring couples to spend quality time together in the kitchen and showcasing stories of marriages that have food as a central theme.
I'm not married, but it has still inspired me to do more in the kitchen with Rick (and even his son, James). I think love and sustenance are a harmonious and winning combination, and I, personally, cannot imagine one without the other. Since Lorna met her husband, Henry, in a food forum, I don't think they could imagine a life without the kitchen, either. In other words, she practices what she preaches.
Lorna's recipes run the gamut between simple (The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich) to spicy (Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup) to hearty (Fall Apart Pot Roast) to comforting (Chicken Pot Pies with Cheddar-Thyme Crust) to decadent (Rack of Lamb with Sour Cherries, Cauliflower and Capers). The book even has Lorna's award-winning Four-Cheese Mac-and-Cheese recipe, not to mention a sweets section that blew my mind, with titles such as Dad's Favorite Carrot Cake with Whiskey Praline Cream Filling and Salted Caramel Pecan Tart. How does Lorna stay so fit?!
The bottom line: Lorna's book has quickly become a new personal favorite. I'm so sure that everyone will love this book (besides just newlyweds) that I've procured a signed copy of the book to give away to a very lucky recipient. The contest will end at midnight this coming Sunday, June 13th. It is available to readers worldwide. Whoever is closest to guessing the number of wine corks in this big jar (below) is the winner. I'll announce the winner on Monday, June 14th. Just leave me a comment here on this blog with your guess and you're automatically entered to win. Good luck!
How many wine corks are in this very large mason jar?
And now for some event photos...
Last weekend, Lorna did a book signing at the Jessie Oleson's new Cakespy shop on Capitol Hill (the perfect place to sign a cookbook and give out Red and Blue Velvet cupcakes). It was inspired by Twitter posts that both Jessie and I made, that Kingfish Red Velvet Cake is probably the best in town. Lorna swore that her cake recipe was better. I told her to prove it, thus a cake smackdown commenced. Her cake did indeed have a winning combination of moistness and cream-cheesy tanginess in the frosting. Excellent! While eating cake, Lorna also signed and sold cookbooks, and even ran out. (Henry had to go out for more!)
Here are the highlights from the afternoon.
Cakespy shop and art
Lorna frosts her Red Velvet layer cake
Making sure the layers are even
I love that she doesn't frost the sides of the cake.
It's almost like a big triple-layer frosting sandwich!
Lorna Yee and Cakespy owner, Jessie Oleson
Danny and Jessie Oleson
Lorna greets enthusiasts and signs her books
Talking with food writer Matthew Amster-Burton
Lorna taking a quick break
to give hugs to her dog, Kimchee!
A young fan, Iris
Lorna dishes up cake for customers
Lorna with her biggest fan, her husband, Henry
Me, Lorna, and Jessie
It was a lovely time and I'm happy to have participated!